SUMMARY OF STATEMENT BY DR GODWIN FRIDAY OPPOSITION LEADER
What I wish to highlight and reiterate is this: it has been almost two weeks since this scandal broke, yet, Camillo Gonsalves has not seen it fit to make a public statement about it to try to clear the air!
As a Member of Parliament and Minister of Government, he has a responsibility to explain to the Vincentian people what, if anything, he knows about the claims made by Ms. Farrell.
It has been reported that Prime Minister Gonsalves has advised his son, Camillo Gonsalves, not to say anything publicly about the matter. Deputy Prime Minister Straker has apparently given him similar advice.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Gonsalves and other members of his family have taken to the airwaves to defend Camillo by trying to dismiss the claims made by Ms. Farrell against him.
We know that family will defend family. So, it is not surprising that Camillo’s father and brother came to his aid.
However, it is not good and proper for a Minister of Government, especially a senior Minister who is tipped to be the next leader of his political party – the ULP, to hide behind his family! The Vincentian people deserves better from someone who holds the high offices of Member of Parliament and Minister of Government.
Camillo’s father, whether Prime Minster or otherwise, cannot speak for him in this matter.
The Vincentian people cannot be told in effect to “Come back to Papa” for answers. Papa cannot give the answers the public needs. Camillo must speak for himself! Why is he not speaking? What does he have to hide? Silence in this instance is not golden; rather it fosters an aura of guilt. So, it is in his interest and in the public’s interest that Camillo speak for himself.
The principles of decency and good governance in a modern democracy demand that any government Minister embroiled in such a messy scandal must clarify the situation to the satisfaction of the people or resign his position. Such a scandal reflects very negatively on the office of the Minister. In this case, it brings the office of Minister of Finance into disrepute.
The situation is more troubling and urgent in light of the fact that as Minister of Finance, Camillo Gonsalves is poised to deliver his first Budget Address to the nation, beginning in a couple of weeks.
This scandal, especially the Minister’s refusal to speak up publicly to clear his name, casts a dark shadow over the entire upcoming Budget proceedings. It is simply not right and proper that the nation should be so distracted by a sordid scandal, when there is so much at stake.
The people of this country are suffering economic hardship. The Minister and his government’s attention should be focussed on creating jobs and helping people— farmers, fishermen, young people– to improve their lives. The country has gone through far too many scandals, sexual and otherwise, under this ULP government. The time is up!
Having refused to address the public and having failed to clarify this very serious matter for the people, Camillo Gonsalves, has but one choice. I call on him to do the right and honourable thing and resign. For the good of the nation, he must go!