Domestic abuse allegations earn St Vincent and the Grenadines diplomat a recall

KINGSTOWN, St Vincent – Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines Ralph Gonsalveshas recalled diplomat Sehon Marshall from the United Nations, to explain domestic violence allegations.

Marshall, a counsellor of the island’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations, allegedly punched his wife, Xandra, in the mouth. Xandra is also a diplomat.

According to reports, police officers responded to an incident at the family’s home last Friday, when Xandra was allegedly slapped in the face by her husband, in front of her mother.

Marshall was not arrested because he has diplomatic immunity.

The Prime Minister said his administration is treating the matter “with utmost seriousness and is considering all the alive legal options in this matter”, adding that his government takes a very strong position against domestic violence.

“The government unreservedly condemns domestic violence,” Gonsalves said on local radio.

The incident has sparked a strong reaction from the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) which said it was deeply concerned about allegations of domestic abuse and violence against women.

“We in the NDP categorically condemn any and all forms of violence against women,” said the party which had called for Marshall to be recalled.

In addition to recalling Marshall, Gonsalves ordered Xandra, the deputy Counsellor General in New York, not to report for work until further notice.

“I really regret that this matter has happened to a young, promising family…including the three children which they have: ages 13, nine and three, and this must be a difficult and challenging time for everybody concerned,” Gonsalves, who is the leader of the ruling United Labour Party.