The Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, admonished an attorney and former speaker who claimed the Caribbean nation’s recently appointed Foreign Affairs minister bleaches her skin.
According to Jamaica Observer, Jomo Thomas passed the bleaching comments about Keisal Peters during a radio talk show last week. But Gonsalves said Thomas had engaged in “gutter politics” with his comments.
Peters’ appointment makes her the Caribbean nation’s first female Foreign Affairs minister. And though Thomas acknowledged that during the talk show, he went ahead to accuse the minister of bleaching her skin. He also questioned how Peters was going to take on issues such as reparations when she appears before the United Nations or other international organizations.
“How is she going to do that…,” the former speaker said, adding: “If you have a certain level of self-hatred.” One of the show’s hosts, however, cut in and said his comments were below the belt. But Thomas said it wasn’t.
“The point I am making is how is she going to make an argument for reparations? How? It is not a personal attack. It is a question of consciousness. I am not here making a personal attack. I have nothing against her. You’ve got to emancipate yourself from mental slavery,” Thomas said.
But Gonsalves came to the defense of his appointee and told Thomas to “shut up.”
“She comes on the bowels of the working class. She’s a child of the education revolution. She is a strong, bright, beautiful black woman who emphatically does not bleach her skin. I want to repeat: she is a strong, bright, beautiful, committed, patriotic black woman who emphatically does not bleach her skin,” Gonsalves said, adding that Thomas knows nothing about Peters’ skin.
“He doesn’t know anything about her skin, so he must just shut up and not degenerate in this kind of a nasty puerile manner, simply because she belongs to the Unity Labour Party, which he left because he couldn’t sustain himself in a party with the aims and objectives of our party The obligations of a party member and his ambition run ahead of him, his ego ran ahead of him, his personal ambition ran ahead of him,” Gonsalves said.
Gonsalves also said he decided to use strong language because people are aware it’s “easier for you to make a criticism of Ralph and get away with it than to make one of … any of the young ones who are under my care and responsibility, politically.”
“In relation to them, I am political leader, political protector, patriarch and I am not going to allow anybody unfairly to malign or go to the gutter with any of these brilliant young people, committed young people, next generation of leaders of our country,” he added.