(CMC) – Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines 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 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.
However, Thomas, a former chair of the Reparation Committee, alleged that the new minister is bleaching her skin and asked how she would address the issue of reparation at the United Nations or other international fora.
“How is she going to do that….,”Thomas said defending his comments, saying, “If you have a certain level of self-hatred”, but did not complete the thought 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.
Peters, a lawyer, was a virtually unknown political figure until Gonsalves appointed her a senator and minister of state in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in November 2020.
Gonsalves announced last week that she is to be promoted to a full minister, replacing him in the position.
Speaking on a radio programme Sunday, Prime Minister Gonsalves said Peters will formally take up the post later this week, reminding the population that her father was a port worker and her mother had migrated to the United States and works with the elderly in the health sector.
“She comes from the bowel 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 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.