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Frank DaSilva: I gave NDP recordings of two meetings

Frank DaSilva: I gave NDP recordings of two meetings


At least one person here is asking questions about an affidavit filed in the High Court, by Senator Vynnette Frederick, in which she said it was only after persons attending a political meeting made defamatory comments about her, that Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said the word “tomboy”.{{more}}

Frederick’s affidavit of June 16, 2011 states, “…the context of words must be seen against the backdrop of chants from other persons who attended the political meeting saying lesbian and it was only after those chants that the words tomboy was said.”

Controversial radio talk show host Frank DaSilva says he is perplexed, as, based on tapes he has in his possession, the political meeting at which Gonsalves referred to Frederick as a tomboy, is completely different to the one at which members of the audience defamed her character.

DaSilva said that he provided the New Democratic Party (NDP) with audio tapes of comments made by Gonsalves, about Frederick, at two different meetings in the run up to the General Elections of December 13, 2010.

DaSilva said although he did not think there was anything to the “tomboy” comments made by the Prime Minister, after being asked repeatedly, by several persons in the NDP, including Sir James Mitchell, to provide the party with the tapes, he complied.

He said he provided one tape of comments made at a meeting at Park Hill on August 29, 2010, and another relating to a meeting at Belmont on November 23, 2010.

“I gave it to them at about 9 o’clock on the 10th [of January, 2011],” DaSilva said.

The next day, January 11, 2011, Frederick brought private criminal complaints against Gonsalves, in relation to comments made at Park Hill on August 29, 2010.

DaSilva provided SEARCHLIGHT with copies of the tapes, which he asserts are identical to those he provided to the NDP earlier this year.

On the first tape, from the meeting at Park Hill, Gonsalves is heard to say: “They say she is a tomboy.”

[Pause for about 7 seconds]

“You know, I don’t know, I don’t know ‘bout that. I mean, Bayliss would be a very unfortunate fellow if he send a daughter to study law and come back, and get a son, a tomboy.”

On the other tape, which DaSilva said was made during a political meeting at Belmont, three months later, Gonsalves said: “You know I don’t want to say anything against Vynnette.

But I have said elsewhere, in the constituency, there are three types of mangoes: ripe mango, green mango and fluxy mango, you take your choice.”

[music plays for a few seconds].

“You know, we have, I have nothing against an ambitious young lady,”

[someone in the crowd shouts defamatory comments of which Frederick complains],

“But the young lady [someone in the crowd repeats defamatory comments; there is laughter], the young lady, really should spend a little time more in her profession, get a little maturity before she comes and exposes herself to the electorate. She not ready yet!”

On January 12, 2011 Chief Magistrate Sonya Young issued a certificate of refusal in relation to two complaints filed by Frederick the day before. She ruled that the statement complained of was not a statement of fact, and the statement did not relate to the personal character or conduct of Frederick.

After a series of applications and counter applications, on June 16, Frederick swore in an affidavit, among other things that, “The context in which the phrase tomboy was used is overwhelming it points towards my sexual orientation, my sexuality and the fact that I went away to study law as a girl and returned as a boy… a pregnant pause during the broadcast and then the word tomboy was said.

“What is more troubling is that during this period of a pregnant pause, members of the electorate who attended the political meeting where the words were said, stated and shouted out ‘lesbian’.”

The affidavit also states, “Further and/or additionally, the context of words must be seen against the backdrop of chants from other persons who attended the political meeting saying lesbian and it was only after those chants that the words tomboy was said.”

On November 15, 2011, Justice Gertel Thom granted leave for Frederick to appeal the decision of the Chief Magistrate not to issue summonses in relation to Frederick’s January 11 complaints.

In her judgement, at paragraph 119, Justice Thom refers to Frederick’s affidavit of June 16 and said that “it is not disputed that there was a pause between son and tomboy. During the pause, persons who attended the meeting were shouting ‘lesbian’. When the two statements are read together, the meaning submitted by the Applicant [Frederick] is a meaning which the ordinary and reasonable person in the constituency listening to the address of Dr. Gonsalves would ascribe to the statement that Ms Frederick was a lesbian. ‘Tomboy’ was used in a specific sense to mean a boy.”

DaSilva told SEARCHLIGHT when he read the judgement, he was confused, as he is the person who provided the tape from the Park Hill meeting.

He asserted that the tapes provided to Frederick and her team were labelled with the dates and venues of the two different meetings.

SEARCHLIGHT attempted to contact Frederick; we were not successful, but our calls were returned by her lawyer Kay Bacchus-Browne who declined to comment on the matter.