The St Vincent and the Grenadines government says it will not now comment on media reports in the United States that one of its diplomats had punched his wife, who is also a diplomat in the face at their Brooklyn home on Friday.
A government spokesperson said that members of the Ralph Gonsalves administration were aware of the media report about the alleged incident.
But the spokesman said that the government would investigate the matter before commenting.
The New York Post reported Friday that Sehon Marshall, 43, a counsellor at the Permanent Mission of St Vincent and the Grenadines to the United Nations allegedly punched his 36-year-old wife, Xandra Marshall, in the face.
Mrs Marshall took up a post as Deputy Consul General at the St Vincent and the Grenadines Consulate in New York, a post her husband previously held.
Police officers who responded could not arrest Marshall because he has diplomatic immunity.
Marshall is no stranger to controversy and apologised in 2014 for an undiplomatic statement he made about St Vincent and the Grenadines nationals in New York, even as he was in discussions with Kingstown about representing the ULP administration in New York.
Speaking on Cross Country Radio in late August 2014, Marshall said that before the ULP came to office in March 2001, civil servants used to quit their jobs and migrate to the United States and become nannies and dog walkers.
The statement outraged Vincentians in New York, who, through remittances contribute significantly to the Vincentian economy.
Marshall apologised two weeks later, saying, “at no time […] did I intend to hurt, shame, diminish people’s effort, ridicule people’s effort in my statement, but I think very often I get passionate, and in that particular instance, my passion went too far and I used some words that were unnecessary, were a bit strong, the language was a bit robust…”
Mrs Marshall’s appointment as the her country’s Deputy Consul General in New York became public last week Sunday when Consul General Howie Prince introduced her to nationals at a town hall meeting in New York that was addressed by Tourism Minister Cecil McKie and head of the Tourism Authority, Glen Beache.
Prince said he was pleased that Kingstown had seen it fit to augment the staff at the consulate.
“Tonight, I am pleased that the government listened to our call for help and have provided us help,” Prince said and introduced Bernadette Ambrose Black as the investment and trade officer, and Mrs Marshall, as deputy consul general.
Mrs Marshall told the gathering that she felt a “deep sense of humility” at being chosen to represent the government of St Vincent and the Grenadines in New York.
Marshall is the second diplomat since 2014 to put St Vincent and the Grenadines in the spotlight for the wrong reasons.
When he was appointed as Deputy Consul General to New York in 2014, Marshall replaced Edson Augustus, whom the government recalled earlier that year after learning that the diplomat had taken monies from persons in the United States and promised to help them to obtain U.S. permanent resident cards. (CMC)
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