Dr. Ralph Gonsalves

Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Ralph Gonsalves while speaking on radio earlier this week, in response to a question by a caller, addressed the matter of U.S. customs officers earlier intercepting a Venezuela-bound private jet in south Florida loaded with illegally possessed firearms and ammunition, having SVG listed as its destination.

“So there is this plane, which the security authorities in the United States got onto, which had some guns and ammunition on them and some money, but in order to play a decoy—they were going to Venezuela but because of the ban them going to Venezuela, they wanted to avoid detection so they did a decoy, they say “oh well we ain really going Venezuela, we going St. Vincent.”

The caller then proceeded to ask the Prime Minister why the persons in questions had decided to use St. Vincent as a decoy.

“Well, they could have put any place else, you would have to ask criminals why they do this sort of thing. In fact, the IMPAX, the CARICOM implementation agency for crime and security, which is the security and intelligence arm in CARICOM, they informed the commissioner of police emphatically that the plane was not, and I emphasize not, destined for St. Vincent and the Grenadines. It was used by one of the pilots to try to avoid detection to say they coming here but they were going to Venezuela.”

It was not clear why the weapons were purchased. But the arrest comes as tensions between the U.S. and Venezuela have escalated in recent months.

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