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St Vincent's United Nations ambassador briefly arrested

Published:Friday | March 30, 2012 | 12:00 AM


The New York Police Department (NYPD) disclosed yesterday that St Vincent and the Grenadines' Ambassador to the United Nations, Camillo Gonsalves, was arrested on Wednesday after he refused to identify himself.

"The officer asked the ambassador to stop, he refused, he continued and entered into the location, and the officers followed him into the location," the NYPD said in a terse statement.

But Gonsalves, the eldest son of Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, told reporters that he was returning to his office on Wednesday after lunch and stepped out of his official car, through a barricade in front of the building that houses the Mission to the United Nations, as he has done for the past five years.

He said a police officer then confronted him, shouting: "What do you think the barricades are there for?"

Gonsalves said as he continued to walk towards the building's elevator, the officer followed him, grabbing him by his neck and shoulders.

He said the unidentified officer then spun him around and said: "Didn't you see me talking to you?"

Gonsalves, who has diplomatic immunity, said he replied: "You couldn't have been talking to me."

He said the officer then demanded identification, according to the Associated Press.

"I said, 'Why? Am I under arrest?'" Gonsalves said.

"Well you are now," the officer replied.

At that point, the envoy said the officer handcuffed him, with assistance from other officers he had called for backup.