Some Vincentians, especially women, are expressing concern over social-media statements that followed comments made by Prime Minister Gaston Browne.
In a Facebook post this past weekend, Browne said he and Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, have a running joke between them.
He says that, even before the volcano crisis, he told Gonsalves that “all the young pretty ladies” from St. Vincent should be sent here in order to expand the country’s population.
Those comments caused a flood of responses, with several men making other insensitive comments, to which the Prime Minister also responded.
Antigua and Barbuda has undertaken to accommodate 250 nationals of St. Vincent. But a Vincentian woman who took to Facebook to respond to Browne’s post, says she is praying that those women who take refuge here do not go missing.
She says she has noted a number of posts from Antiguan citizens “poking fun about our Vincy women and what they will do with them, and how many they will take for various purposes.”
The woman says the comments are “sickening” at a time when Vincentians are in turmoil. And she is appalled that, at such a time, the only thing some persons can think about is how to degrade and abuse women.
She “would rather stay and stifle from the ash than risk going to Antigua,” the woman says.
In response, yet another Vincentian woman, declares, “Well, they get it from their prime minister.” She, too, is shocked that such utterances could have come from the mouth of the head of government.
“Apparently he wants the pretty ones to come to breed,” the woman writes about Browne’s remarks.
Meanwhile, scores of people have condemned Browne’s comments, including Political Leader of the United Progressive Party Harold Lovell and the Party’s Womens’ Forum.
In his usual fashion, Browne responded nastily to the Party’s condemnation, calling the members “morons” and telling them to “get a life.”
“These opportunists and propagandistic morons in the UPP are trying to accentuate a moment of social levity into a political issue,” the Prime Minister wrote in a social-media post.
However, a member of the Women’s Forum laughs at his post, saying, “Tell the PM he used the wrong verb. I’m sure he meant ‘escalate’ and not ‘accentuate.’ That angry man gets everything wrong.”
Meanwhile, an article in the Associated Press quotes Browne as saying, “At the end of the day, we’ll be accommodating hundreds of Vincentians, young, old, male, female. But these UPP people are uncontrollably embittered, and they evidently need to get a life.”
Other local women are further appalled that such sexist conversation is reportedly taking place between heads of government. “It goes to show you who they are and how these men think about us,” they say.