During a podcast interview on 4th May, 2018, journalist Freddy Gray for Britain’s Spectator magazine, and Sven Hughes, a former employee of the SCL Group/Cambridge Analytica, discussed SCL’s work in manipulating election outcomes in the Caribbean including efforts to amplify allegations of sexual assault against St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) prime minister, Dr Ralph Gonsalves.
In SVG, SCL worked on a major referendum campaign to defeat an attempt to establish a new constitution, the measure failed to get the two-thirds majority it needed.
Gonsalves claimed that the campaign to defeat the referendum had hired SCL to run a smear campaign against him.
Later in 2011, in presentation materials seen by the Times of London, SCL admitted it worked against Gonsalves with a “targeted digital attack,” meaning that “within three weeks every single reference to him on the first two pages of Google … referred to the candidate’s horrific track record of corruption, coercion, rape allegations and victimisation,” the presentation read.
Hughes confirmed this in his interview, specifically the amplification of the sexual assault allegations against Gonsalves.
“Alexander Nix, Chris Kalin, or a combination of both, set about ensuring that Margaret Parson, who is the person who alleged the sexual misconduct was filing some allegation, which was fully ventilated on the radio and the television, in the run-up to the referendum campaign,” he recalled.
Hughes reiterated that he was personally not comfortable with that type of campaign, however, in this instance, Nix was apparently tasking someone in his team directly and they were doing it without Hughes’ knowledge.
“I was presented with the fait accompli, which is we have this video which has been created, an interview with the person making the allegations, which was filmed in America and then that was broadcast on television in St Vincent,” he said.
Following the successful campaign against constitutional reform, SCL then worked with the opposition in SVG in its 2010 election campaign.
In emails seen by the Spectator, Kalin described to leader of the opposition Eustace what “we could do with you once you are in government.”
Kalin listed various investments that Eustace could count on if he won the election, such as a large residential and hotel development, a new chain of retail banks from “an important international banking group”, a construction group to invest in major infrastructure projects, as well as input from “a global player in private aircraft services” and from “several of the world’s most experienced international tax specialists.”
Henley & Partners says it “does not get involved in political campaigns” but in this case Kalin is reported as briefing Eustace what to say on the stump.
In the event, the opposition lost the election by one seat and Hughes now wonders if some of the, in his view unnecessary things that were being imposed on the campaign by Nix and Kalin could have had a negative effect and could have swung that seat.
Earlier denials by Henley & Partners that it ever had any formal working relationship with SCL/Cambridge Analytica in the Caribbean or elsewhere and that neither Henley nor Kalin has ever provided funding for any election campaign now seem to be flatly contradicted by Hughes.