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Senator claims that her arrest is just ‘distraction politics’

Senator claims that her arrest is just ‘distraction politics’


Opposition Senator Vynnette Frederick, a lawyer, has described as “distraction politics” her arrest last Wednesday.{{more}}

Frederick, of the New Democratic Party (NDP), has a November 16 date with the court, after she was slapped with three perjury charges.

She was granted $10,000 bail with one surety.

The charges stem from evidence she gave to the court in relation to a complaint she brought against Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, following the 2010 general elections.

She said on an NDP radio programme on Thursday evening that the charges could not distract from Ottawa’s decision to require visas for holders of Vincentian passports who want to visit Canada.

Ottawa said “unreliable travel documents” was “a key reason” why it imposed visas for holders of St Vincent and St Lucia passports. It explained that “criminals from these countries can legally change their names and acquire new passports”.

This claim has been strenuously denied by local authorities, as in St Vincent and the Grenadines, if a person legally changes their name, they are not issued a new passport with the new name, but rather, the new name is endorsed in the old passport.

The North American capital further said there has also been “an unacceptably high number of asylum claims from St Lucia and St Vincent”.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves announced the decision Tuesday afternoon, hours after it was in effect.

Frederick said “save and except that my eyes close forever”, nothing will stop her from being “an advocate for the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

“There is nothing that is going to stop me from continuing to speak about what is happening in St Vincent and the Grenadines to compromise our nation. There is nothing that is going to stop me from articulating the ills that I see being perpetrated in St Vincent and the Grenadines at the hands of this ULP (Unity Labour Party), led by the Prime Minister, Ralph Gonsalves,” she further said.

“… I will continue to speak for those who cannot speak, who are afraid to speak, to lift my voice in the defence of the downtrodden, the poor, the disadvantaged in St Vincent and the Grenadines … who continue to suffer at the hands of this incompetent government.

“… All that has been on the news, apart from the distraction politics of my arrest, the issue of Canada, it can’t go away, it must not go away. Because, in the last five years, I didn’t know that the NDP was in power in the last five years. In the last five years, when we really hit the radar of Canada for the upswing in asylum applications, I believe that it is the ULP who was in power.

“So, they can’t get away from why it is that Vincentians will say and do anything to get out of here,” Frederick said on the programme.

Frederick, who hosted the programme, had earlier said that while callers might want to discuss the development, they should also “respect the fact that the matter is before the court and not get into it”.

The legal proceedings against Gonsalves related to comments he made about Frederick being a tomboy during the 2010 election campaign.

The courts, including the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal, rejected Frederick’s lawyers’ argument that Gonsalves was referring to their client’s sexual orientation and that this affected the vote in West St George, where she lost to Cecil “Ces” McKie of the ULP. (