Monday, April 02, 2012


Camillo Gonsalves arrested

There is a diplomatic brouhaha brewing following the arrest and brief detainment of Camillo Gonsalves St Vincent and the Grenadines' representative to the UN. Ambassador Gonsalves, who is also the son of PM Ralph Gonsalves was arrested and handcuffed by an  NYPD police officer for alleged disorderly conduct after walking through a barricade to get to his office building.

See details  here from Huffington Post

The Prime Minister,  responding to the incident on the Agency for Public Information has indicated that a legal team will be assembled to investigate the matter. As is to be expected the opinions have been fast and furious since last Wednesday's incident.

The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations ensures that, at a minimum, any diplomatic agent enjoys “immunity from jurisdiction and inviolability in respect of official acts performed in the exercise of his functions.”

Article 29 of the Convention, which deals with the issue of “inviolability,” states: “The person of a diplomatic agent shall be inviolable. He shall not be liable to any form of arrest or detention. The receiving State shall treat him with due respect and shall take all appropriate steps to prevent any attack on his person, freedom or dignity.”

Article 22 states that the receiving state “is under a special duty” to “prevent any disturbance of the peace of the diplomatic mission or impairment of its dignity.”

Included in the Agreement between the United Nations and the United States of America regarding the Headquarters of the United Nations, which was approved by the UN General Assembly on 31 October 1947, the United States is bound, to extend these privileges and immunities to Permanent Representatives of the United Nations, even in instances where the United States itself does not maintain diplomatic relations with the countries accredited to the United Nations.

Given all of this does the Ambassador have a case for wrongful arrest or should he have given a better response to the less than courteous cop? I am always skeptical of police officers and their approach to civilians and more-so to people of color in the United States. So I'm not at all surprised that the Ambassador  is on record as having heard the officer say to his counterparts "I couldn't let him just walk into the building. Look at him he could be a terrorist." How many ways can we spell racial profiling? 

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