St Vincent PM berates attorney for accusing new Foreign Minister of ‘bleaching’

KINGSTOWN, St Vincent (CMC) – Prime Minister of St Vincent, Dr Ralph Gonsalves, has told former speaker Jomo Thomas to “shut up” as he defended his newly minted Minister of Foreign Affairs, Keisal Peters, amidst allegations that she bleaches her skin.

Gonsalves said that Thomas, a former government legislator, had descended into “gutter politics” when he made the claim last week.

Last Thursday, Thomas, in his “Plain Talk” radio commentary, commended Peter’s appointment, noting that she will become the country’s first female Foreign Affairs minister but then went on to allege that Peters is bleaching her skin and question how she would approach issues such as reparation at the United Nations or other international fora.

“How is she going to do that…,” Thomas said, defending his comments with the thought, “if you have a certain level of self-hatred." He did not complete the thought, however, after one of the hosts interjected and accused him of delivering a low blow, an allegation he denied.

“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,” said Thomas, who is also an attorney.

Gonsalves announced last week that Peters is to be promoted to a full minister, replacing him in the position of Foreign Affairs minister.

“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, insisting Thomas does not know anything about Peters' dermatology.

“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.

On Sunday, Gonsalves said that Thomas, in his comments about Peters, had gone “to the gutter.”

“I’m using very strong language because as everybody knows, 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,” said Gonsalves.

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