Wed 3rd May 2006
Who's who: SVG Green Party Leader Ivan O'Neal (forefront from left), Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister Badawi, His Excellency Ambassador Ramli Naam High Commissioner of Malaysia to SVG, Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace and Commissioner of Police Keith Miller at the House of Assembly last Tuesday 2nd May.
Malaysian Prime Minister Dato Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has succeeded in bringing about some level of unity among opposing political parties here.
Leader of the Opposition SVG Green Party, Ivan O'Neal will be part of this country's official delegation when Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves makes a reciprocal visit to Malaysia in June. O'Neal's invitation came from Badawi himself on Tuesday 2nd May.
The invitation came this week after Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace informed Parliament that O'Neal, a war veteran, had fought to defend Malaysian sovereignty against Indonesia between 1963 and 1965.
Eustace was delivering an address at a special sitting of Parliament to mark the official visit of Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi last week.
Following that parliamentary session, O'Neal wearing his medals, was presented to Badawi by Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves.
"I shook his hand and spoke to the Malaysian PM in Bahasa Melayu (native language), welcoming him to St Vincent and the Grenadines and asked how he was feeling," O'Neal told reporters.
The visiting prime minister then told Dr Gonsalves, "I am giving you an invitation to Mr O'Neal (to come) back to Malaysia as part of the official delegation."
O'Neal said however he was not invited to attend any of the local functions in honour of the visiting Prime Minister.
"It is very small island politics. SVG Green Party had been denied its protocol, we do not get anything in terms of invitation to be at the airport. I attended the Parliament meeting as a private citizen," O'Neal added.
He said he only received official recognition when the Opposition Leader questioned him about the significance of the medals he was wearing.
O'Neal has accepted the invitation and described the Malaysian people as very friendly, helpful and courteous. Source: