STATEMENT ON SCANDAL INVOLVING FINANCE MINISTER, HON. CAMILLO GONSALVES
On the 5 January 2018, a matter involving a 22-year-old model, Miss Yugge Farrell and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Camillo Gonsalves, came to the public’s attention. Allegations of very perverse sexual conduct involving the Minister of Finance and the young woman have been reported in the local media and broadcast on social media. The matter came to public attention following the appearance in Magistrate’s Court of Ms. Farrell on a charge of “causing a breach of the peace and using abusive language” resulting from statements she allegedly made in relation to the Minister’s wife.
It is a matter of public interest, and concern and we have been following the matter as it has unfolded in the media and other public forums. Over a week has passed and there has been no clear statement on the matter by the Minister. As a member of Parliament and Minister of Government, Mr. Camillo Gonsalves has a responsibility to explain to the Vincentian people what, if anything, he knows about the allegations. It is insufficient for him to respond merely through his relatives and other ULP party surrogates.
Notwithstanding, the fact that the matter has been ventilated in public, the situation remains unclear. However, the publicly available information suggests that Miss Farrell’s rights were violated by the way she was dealt with in Court. Media reports indicate that after being allowed to plead to a charge in the Magistrate’s Court, Ms. Farrell was sent on the request of the prosecutor to the mental institution for assessment. The reports indicate that the procedure was abnormal as no evidence or information was laid before the Magistrate to support such a decision.
In our society, the laws are there to protect everyone and they must be applied equally irrespective of who is involved. It is a serious matter when there is concern that the state machinery may have been used in a manner that infringed the rights of a fellow citizen, as appears to have been done in Ms. Farrell’s case. Vincentians should therefore be rightly alarmed by this case, as this sets a precedent which places the liberty of all Vincentians at risk.
The NDP also condemns the release of private emails into the public domain which has done nothing but obfuscate the issue more. The timing of release of these emails and correspondence attributed to Miss Farrell is suspicious and we question the credibility of the leaked documents. If these documents are evidence in the investigation they should be handed over to the police, not circulated over public media.
Also of concern, are the media reports that Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves (Camillo Gonsalves’ father) and his Deputy Louis Straker have advised Minister Camillo Gonsalves to remain silent on the matter. This is an affront as Camillo was elected by the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and owes the people of this nation an explanation as to his involvement or not. This highhanded approach demonstrates the level of contempt and disrespect that Ralph Gonsalves and the ULP holds for the people of this nation.
The principles of decency and good governance in a modern democracy requires that any government minister embroiled in such a salacious scandal must clarify the situation to the satisfaction of the people or resign his position. Such a scandal reflects negatively on the high office of the Minister of Finance and brings it into disrepute. Having failed to clarify the matter, Camillo Gonsalves, who professes to love this country and to respect its people, has but one choice. We therefore call on him to do the right and honourable thing and resign.
NDP PRESS RELEASE