Posted on

Are you suffering from amnesia Mr Williams?

Are you suffering from amnesia Mr Williams?


Former New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate Burton Williams told the court yesterday he was not amnesic, but couldn’t recall most of what he said at an NDP protest last year.{{more}}

Williams’ comments came as his cross-examination continued in the trial resulting from his alleged action at an NDP protest event on January 28, 2011 in Kingstown.

The former health minister said he couldn’t recall most of what he said — according to a transcript of a recording of him — at the NDP protest rally.

“I could not recall,” was Williams’ frequent response, as Crown Counsel Colin John grilled him at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court about words he reportedly used at January 2011 protest.

Williams is charged with attempted damage to property and that within the precincts of the House of Assembly he behaved in a manner in which a breach of peace was likely to be occasioned on January 28, 2011.

He is also accused of attempting to damage property.

“Did you tell the crowd I have just been told the Honourable Prime Minister has asked for the first reading of the bill in the house?” asked John.

“I can’t recall. I can’t recall the specifics,” Williams replied.

On January 28, 2011, the NDP was staging a march and rally in protest of the Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Code 2011 Bill, which was being read in Parliament.

Williams further said he could not recall if the Prime Minister had asked for the second reading of the bill.

“Are you saying categorically you didn’t say so?”

Williams replied, “Yes!”

However, when asked again, Williams said he could not recall making such statement.

“I can’t remember everything I said that day. I was talking for about three hours…” Williams stated.

“Are you suffering from amnesia, Mr Williams?” asked John.

Williams replied, “No!’

When asked if he wanted to prevent the bills from being passed, Williams said: “No, your honour! I could not prevent it from being passed. I was not angry when I heard the second and third reading of the bill. I was not happy and did not regard it to be in the best interest of the democracy…”

Asked if he was “hype” when he addressed the crowd at the protest, Williams said: “I was not hype. I was speaking loud enough for my voice to carry. I knew that after the third reading of the bill, the crowd could not do anything to stop it.”

“Can you recall saying, ‘Now, we must take action’?” questioned John as he continued reading from the transcript.

Williams replied: “No, I can’t recall.”

“Did you say they are trying to frustrate you?”

Williams, again, said he could not recall.

Williams further said, when asked, that he could not recall saying “the House of Parliament is the people’s house and not Ralph’s” nor that he told the crowd “stand up for your rights”.

John said the transcript cites Williams as making the statements, in addition to saying, “Let’s take Parliament, which is your house.”

“Did you say, we cannot allow him we must take parliament?” questioned John.

Williams again said he could not recall.

“We cannot allow them to make the bill pass. Let us take the parliament now. Do you recall saying that, Mr Williams?”

Williams said he saw it on the transcript, but “can’t recall saying so.”

John told Williams that that was the point when he (Williams) threw down the microphone and rushed the main gate leading to Parliament.

Williams rebutted John’s accusations and stated that he did not go directly to the gate after speaking on the microphone.

Detective Corporal Wilma Black-Williams and Ornal Jacobs testified earlier in the trial that they saw Williams and others using a barricade to ram the gate.

Continuing his testimony, Williams said he did not knock over or trample the barricades that were place just outside the main gate on the day in question.

“… At some point I saw the barricades on the ground. I did not take them up or did I ask for help. I was not in control of the crowd,” Williams said, adding that he did not pick up the barricades because he was not concerned with that.

“Your concern was to stop the bills in Parliament?” John asked.

“No! My concern was not to stop the bill, but manage the demonstration and make sure the protest continued,” Williams said in reply.

“How did you intend to manage the crowd?”

“I intended to manage them by speaking to them,” Williams said.

John asked, “You intended to do so by telling them it is not Ralph’s house?”

“There’s no element of management in that,” Williams said.

Before the matter was adjourned, John indicated to the court that he would be tackling the issue of the photograph which allegedly shows Williams holding onto the barricade which was allegedly used to ram the gate.

Williams, in earlier testimony, told the court that he held onto to the bar to persuade protestors not to ram the gate.

After John’s cross-examination, the defence, led by counsel Andreas Coombs, will call two witnesses.

Senior Magistrate Donald Browne is presiding.