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Vincentian diplomat recalled after fracas

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As St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Prime Minister Dr. Ralph E. Gonsalves on Monday recalled diplomat Sehon Marshall “for consultation” after he allegedly punched his newly-appointed diplomat wife in her face early Friday morning, the couple’s Brooklyn neighbors have choice words for Marshall, according to reports.

Police sources told the New York Post that Sehon Marshall, 43, who serves as a counselor for the Permanent Mission of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to the United Nations, “allegedly decked his wife, Sandra [Xandra] Marshall, 36, after a verbal fight broke out at their Canarsie [Brooklyn] house at 1:15 a.m.” on Friday.

Mrs. Marshall was recently appointed Deputy New York Consul General, a post that her husband previously held, according to New York Consul General Howie Prince

Cops launched an investigation and found that Marshall struck his wife “with a closed fist, leaving her with a bloody lip,” the Post referred to sources as saying.

“But officers couldn’t bust the thug-in-a-suit — because he’s protected by a law forbidding prosecution of foreign diplomats in the US,” the paper said, according to sources.

Sehon Marshall wasn’t getting diplomatic immunity from his Brooklyn neighbors, who called him a “son of a b----h,” who “never says good morning or hello,” the Post reported on Sunday.

“Why didn’t she punch his a-- back?” one neighbor angrily told the paper.

Neighbors said the family has been living on the top floor of the two-story building at East 92nd Street and Avenue N in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn for less than a year, according to the Post.

Marshall allegedly left his wife with an injured hand and bloody lip, sources told the Post.

It said one neighbor described Marshall as a “nasty man,” who, the Post said “thinks nothing of blocking the driveway with his car.”

“This is crazy. He thinks he is untouchable!” another neighbor said.

Gonsalves on Monday instructed the diplomats not to report for work until further notice, stating that his administration is treating the issue “with utmost seriousness, and is considering all the alive legal options in this matter.”

“From what I have said, you can deduce certain possible conclusions, certain outcomes, really; but, as always, we have to act sensibly, deliberately, firmly as all circumstances, and the law and the guiding principles admit,” the Vincentian leader said Monday on Star FM, the incumbent Unity Labor Party (ULP)-owned radio station.

The main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) over the weekend has called for Sehon Marshall’s recall, stating that the “reported allegations are extremely serious allegations of violence and domestic abuse, and they cannot be treated lightly.”

Marshall wasn’t available for comment, and his wife, who refused medical attention, declined to comment.

Marshall first served as Deputy New York Consul General before transferred to the UN Mission. Sources claim he and then New York Consul General Selmon Walters were constantly at loggerheads.

On Nov. 23, 2014, despite initial outcry over his would-be appointment, Gonsalves presented the embattled Marshall, then newly-appointed Deputy New York Consul General to his compatriots at a town hall meeting in Brooklyn.

Marshall, who officially assumed office the week before, was dogged by controversial remarks he made on local radio in August 2014 regarding jobs that he said some Vincentians in the Diaspora, particularly in the United States, hold, such as “baby-sitters” and “dog-walkers.”

As the controversy brewed, Marshall apologized for his comments, and then Foreign Affairs Minister Camillo Gonsalves, the prime minister’s eldest son and now minister of government in the Gonsalves administration, urged nationals, at a town hall meeting, at the Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center in Brooklyn, in September 2014, to give the potential diplomat “a chance.”

The prime minister noted at the standing-room-only town hall meeting, at the same venue, that Marshall’s appointment was “clouded in controversy,” adding, however, that “Vincentians in New York, people of the Caribbean and the Diaspora should go past it (the controvers­y).”

The Vincentian leader said that Marshall, “has come from the barrels of the poor in Chateaubel­air,” a town along the northwestern coast of mainland St. Vincent.

In his brief maiden address to nationals at that same town hall meeting, Marshall said it was “with profound honor and deep humility that I address you today – honored to have been chosen by the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to be a consular representative here in New York; humility in the acknowledgment of the tremendous responsibility this opportunity offers to be of service to this community of Vincentians.

“I take his opportunity to thank the prime minister for imposing such confidence in me, and I assure him that this faith will not be disappointed as I pledge to perform my duties with the greatest ideals of service,” Marshall said.

Unlike the September 2014 town hall meeting, featuring Camillo Gonsalves, which ended in uproar over Marshall’s potential appointment, no one in the audience, that time around, publicly objected to Marshall’s assumption of office.

Marshall had replaced Edson Augustus, a former Seventh-day Adventist pastor, who was recalled earlier in 2014 over reports of alleged mishandling of visa and passport matters at the New York Consulate General.

Some Vincentians in New York, while being nonplussed over the latest allegations against Marshall, said Prime Minister Gonsalves did the right thing in recalling him.

“It’s an embarrassment to the nation, it’s an embarrassment to Vincentians,” a prominent Vincentian community leader in Brooklyn told Caribbean Life, who asked that his name not be used for fear of reprisals. “How can you have somebody like that in that position?

“You’re not right when you hit anyone,” he added. “He has to be recalled. And if he’s going to be recalled, she [Mrs. Marshall] has to be recalled, too.”

Updated 4:57 pm, December 4, 2017
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