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PM dismisses call for Crick’s resignation

PM dismisses call for Crick’s resignation

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A call by the New Democratic Party (NDP) for the resignation of a senior official within the Prime Minister’s Office will not be heeded.

The call was prompted when Communications Director Elson Crick, while speaking on Star FM’s drive-time radio programme last Wednesday, divulged personal details of a woman, {{more}}who claimed that she had been sexually and physically abused in her younger years by family members and others.

Referring to the NDP’s resignation call as “petty politics”, prime minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said: “What he [Crick] said, was it false? Was it derogatory in relation to the citizen in question? Crick was dealing with the question of her… deception. That is what I understand it to be.”

While speaking on the radio programme, Crick revealed the former and legal names, immigration history and passport number of Keturah Cupid (now known as Kate Kelly) – a woman who spoke about having suffered years of sexual and physical abuse at the recent NDP’s women’s conference.

In a release issued to SEARCHLIGHT, Crick said that he “took no joy” in releasing Cupid’s private information on air, but pointed out that some of those details had already been in the public domain since 2011.

“I don’t support domestic violence and violence against women. But when you allow yourself to be used by a political party like the NDP, to project the subject of rape on the national agenda, all aimed at Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves and the ULP, then you have to have some credibility,” he asserted.

The Prime Minister explained that Cupid’s credibility comes into question because she changed her name legally, after being denied refuge status by Canadian authorities, in an attempt to deceive them by “entering on another passport”.

In a press release dated March 27, 2015, the SVG Human Rights Association said that it finds Crick’s action to be “an abhorrent and indirect contravention of the Privacy Act Cap 162 No. 18 of 2003”.

It further stated: “This flagrant breach of the Privacy Act of St. Vincent and the Grenadines requires a thorough, transparent and independent investigation of all persons involved in such a despicable act.”

Gonsalves said that although he believes that the Act to which the SVGHRA and the NDP refer has not yet been proclaimed, if Cupid’s privacy was indeed breached then she should make an application “in relation to the matter” in the Court.

“I believe that persons are entitled to privacy of information unless some large public policy issue trumps it,” he noted.

“If somebody parades himself or herself in a public forum in relation to a matter and there is information… which was not disclosed, and it is in the overriding public interest that that information be disclosed, then there is some public policy consideration in front of that.”

Defending his actions, Crick said: “As far as I am concerned, I did my research and my facts are good. I am not trying to silence anybody. Even now, people are giving me more information about this situation, which I will not use. Didn’t the NDP at their consultation allow a woman to state that her daughter was raped? So now the daughter can be identified. Is this a good thing?”

In addition, the Prime Minister pointed out that in the past, NDP president and Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace and NDP Senator Vynnette Frederick have acted in contravention of certain Acts, yet there were no calls for their resignations.

“Was the Human Rights Association so gung-ho about a member of the legal profession swearing to a false affidavit? Did the Human Rights Association denounce Mr Eustace for a breach of his public duty… [to] report a matter concerning a murder?”

Crick also drew reference to the NDP revealing the financial details of Gonsalves’ elderly mother.

“We seem to forget that the NDP called a media conference to reveal personal and private information about the mother of Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, in relation to the Building and Loan issue. We forget also that the NDP released personal and private financial transactions about the Gonsalves family, a few years ago. All this was done to give the ULP administration and Dr. Gonsalves a black eye — all in the name of politics,” he said.

“Did anyone resign from the NDP? The people I report to have not called for my resignation. Fortunately, I don’t report to Arnhim Eustace or Vynnette Frederick.”

The Prime Minister was mindful to point out that he is not accusing the SVGHRA of getting involved in “partisan politics” but warned that independent organisations must be “very cautious and measured in their language.”

The Opposition Leader called for Crick’s resignation on March 26, insisting that his actions were “tantamount to torture and persecution” and “completely unacceptable”. (JSV)

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