I do not shy away from the rape conversation – PM Gonsalves
Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said on Monday that despite being accused of rape, he does not shy away from talking about incidents of rape and sexual assault.
And, persons who have accused him of avoiding the rape conversation are partisan political and are not being truthful.
The Prime Minister made these comments yesterday while a guest on BOOM FM’s OMG in the Morning radio program with Dwight ‘Bing’ Joseph.
Joseph had asked Gonsalves if his alleged silence on these matters has anything to do with him having been accused of rape in 2008.
“I am glad you raised this issue,” Gonsalves told Joseph.
He said that a rape allegation was made against him in a private criminal complaint, following which the matter was referred to then Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Colin Williams.
“The DPP asked for the evidence, the information, the statement and everything, and on a review on what was given to the DPP, he made a determination that there is nothing there to prosecute Ralph on,” Gonsalves said.
He said the lawyers of the woman who was accusing him took the matter to the High Court and a female judge ruled that the DPP was correct. Gonsalves added that the matter moved from the High Court to the Court of Appeal and a three-member panel of judges also said that DPP was correct.
“They tried to carry the case before the president of the Family Court, amounting really to a form of private prosecutorial harassment, and the president of the Family Court says that this application ‘I’m not entertaining because it’s frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of the process of the court.
“The person in question, the complainant, fired her lawyers and said she didn’t give them instructions to proceed to the Family Court,” said Gonsalves who added that the lawyers had a public falling out.
“People don’t talk about these things…”
He said a civil case was brought against him in the High Court, for which he filed a defence, but that case was also dropped by the complainant.
He added that when he hears people talk about his rape allegation, they don’t talk about it as an allegation but as a fact.
He said he has spoken out on violence again women both in public and in Parliament … “on the issues of sexual assaults, indecent assault, rape, the whole gamut of things, but it is not every instance of it that I speak about it in the same way in relation to others,” Gonsalves said.
He noted that recently at the launch of the Police Records Management Information System (PRMIS), he delivered an important piece on the police and citizen security.
In relation to persons saying that there is an upsurge in sexual crimes, and that is because, “the head is rotten”, Gonsalves said that he does not agree with that way of thinking.
“I don’t accept that the head is rotten and there is no evidence that that is the case.”
He said in partisan political circles, he has been accused of many forms of misbehaviour including accepting bribes and murder.
“They accuse me of murder, the same partisan political circles,” said Gonsalves who added that the accusations were made since he has been in office, but he was still re-elected, and this shows what people think.
“There are people who would want to use everything to see if they chop Ralph down,” said Gonsalves who stressed that the government has implemented many measures to fight sex crimes including the setting up of the Sexual Offences Unit (SOU).
“Then to protect women, we spent $2.5 million for a shooting range and a lot of women in this country get firearms,” Gonsalves said on air.
He added also that there has been a stream of reforms dealing with offences including sexual offences, while he noted that he was told by Commissioner of Police (COP) Colin John that more incidents of rape are being reported since the SOU has been set up.
The Prime Minister added also that there may seem to be a rise in sex crimes as there are more media houses these days and the cases are being made public.