Policewoman offered US$185,000 to drop rape charge against St Vincent PM, says leaked US cable

Gonsalves

KINGSTOWN, St Vincent — If US diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks are to be believed, the policewoman, who in 2008 accused St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves of rape, was offered US$185,000 in cash, a low-income house, and an opportunity to study abroad to drop the charge.

However, a source close to the alleged victim said, “She is vehement that she never got paid off.”

“Further, I know of a regional attorney who works with the officer who says that she swears not to have received money,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“I know that this officer is still harassed by police high command. Recently she won a scholarship to go to a university to study and was turned down. These actions do not indicate a person with whom the state has made peace,” the source said.

However, four cables from the US Embassy in Bridgetown to Washington detail the alleged covert manoeuvres as lawyers sought justice for the cop, who claimed Gonsalves sexually assaulted her on January 3, 2008 while she was on duty at his official residence in Kingstown.

According to the documents, attorneys Kay Bacchus-Browne and Nicole Sylvester asked US officials to intervene and Sylvester claimed to have smuggled the woman’s police uniform to Trinidad for DNA testing.

However, according to the cables, Bacchus-Browne and Sylvester’s effort were brought to naught when “an insurance company executive with ties to the Gonsalves government” likely struck a deal that reportedly led to the woman settling the case out of court.

The negotiator is said to have been “on the ULP’s short list to contest one of the constituencies held by the opposition” and chaired a statutory corporation. Further, an individual close to the cop, “no longer able to handle the stress and weakened by the entire ordeal, played a large role in convincing [her] to sell out,” the leaked documents allege.

“The cash portion of the payoff was deposited into [a] bank account in Canada,” the cables said.

The cables purport to document the developments that led to the policewoman on September 12 retaining as her new lawyer Jaundy Martin of the firm Marks, Martin and Associates, the same firm of which former ULP senator Ronald Marks is a member.

The cop changed lawyers without consulting or informing Bacchus-Browne or Sylvester and while Sylvester was overseas. The new lawyer filed on September 15 the relevant court documents discontinuing all of the claims against Gonsalves.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said that he is innocent and the charge was politically motivated.

On February 1, 2008, Gonsalves called a press conference declaring himself innocent of the sexual assault charge filed as a private criminal complaint against him on behalf of the female cop.

The charges stemmed from an alleged sexual encounter between Gonsalves and the female member of his security detail at his official residence at Kingstown on January 3, 2008.

Director of Public Prosecutor (DPP) Colin Williams in February took over and discontinued the case and High Court judge Gertel Thom later denied an application for judicial review of the DPP’s decision.

In her March 12, 2008 ruling, the judge said that the DPP acted properly and within the parameters of the law and that she found “no arguable grounds for a review” of the DPP’s actions.

Williams — “also an important Embassy contact” — in “a private phone conversation” with US officials “elaborated that in addition to the contradictions in the accuser’s oral statements, she did not actually allege rape until twenty days after the alleged incident,” the cables said.

“In addition, Williams noted that the accuser is known to have made allegations against supervisors in two previous jobs (with Immigration both in St Vincent and on Union island), which were both deemed to lack substance,” the documents said.

Sylvester reportedly told Embassy officials that a high-ranking female judicial officer close to the case had intimated to her that she too was the subject of intimidation and “pressure”.

“I may lose my job,” the judicial officer reportedly told Sylvester, who further claimed that the DPP refused to grant her access to the witness statements, and only asked for a written statement from the accuser after the charges had already been filed.

“While Ms Sylvester stated she enjoys a good working relationship with the DPP, she speculated that he was under enormous pressure from high-level officials to take over and dismiss the case,” the cables said.

Gonsalves, at his press conference, named his accuser, said the charge was politically motivated, as he claimed that Sylvester and Bacchus-Browne were NDP supporters. Further, his Unity Labour Party (ULP) staged an event – dubbed by opponents as a “rape rally” – during which the ULP rank and file came out in support of their leader.

“It is clear that what should have been a legal matter to be decided by the courts has become a political football, with opinions on the prime minister’s guilt or innocence depending on one’s party affiliation,” the cables said.

Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace is said to have expressed concern in private meetings with US officials that the prime minister kept the National Security portfolio, where he directly oversees the work of the Commissioner of Police and the DPP.

US officials described this as “a rather glaring conflict of interest”.

“While many Vincentians appear likewise outraged by this, many citizens believe Gonsalves’ claim that this is a political accusation manufactured by the NDP,” the officials commented.

They further quoted Kirby Jackson, then senior reporter “for the pro-government Searchlight newspaper” as saying that the NDP’s attempt to “use the accusation for political mileage has backfired”.

The cables said that many — politically appointed/promoted — senior police officers backed Gonsalves, while the rank-and-file were reportedly “deeply divided, with many beat cops supporting the accuser and expressing dismay at the damage to their reputation as a force and at the treatment of a fellow officer”.

According to the cables, Bacchus-Browne and Sylvester, both “key Embassy contacts” asked the Embassy for help with the case. They reportedly said they were threatened and intimidated and that the police force had refused to investigate the matter.

US officials in Bridgetown asked Washington to say how they should respond to Sylvester’s request for any possible assistance in case.

Bacchus-Browne, according to the cable, lamented that the policewoman was put on the street beat at night, “a position that puts her in further danger of reprisal violence, since her picture has been published in local newspapers and the PM named his accuser publicly”.

Bacchus-Browne reportedly also repeated requests for help in having evidence DNA-tested.

“We have no doubt what would happen if we trusted the (local) system,” the high profile lawyer reportedly told embassy officials, who said she also reiterated her claim that police had already destroyed what they believed to be evidence from the crime scene.

According to the cables, Sylvester told embassy officials that she had smuggled the policewoman’s uniform — the key evidence — out of the country St Vincent, while on a “secret” trip to Trinidad.

The documents further quoted Sylvester as saying that she had identified a US company that did due diligence work and was willing to test the evidence outside of law enforcement channels.

The cable quoted Sylvester as saying in her January 31, 2008 telephone conversation with Embassy staff that the police had demanded her client turn in the uniform she was wearing at the time of the alleged incident, but that she had intentionally handed over the wrong uniform to police.

She reportedly said on February 5, 2008, that she still had the uniform, which presumably contained forensic evidence that would support her client’s claim of rape.

“Sylvester reiterated that both she and her client do not believe that the evidence can be trusted with SVG authorities, and asked for [US government] in transporting the evidence out of the country and in having it tested,” the cable said, adding Sylvester’s actions would “break the ‘chain of custody’ and it is unlikely that any independent laboratory would be willing to test the samples”.

“Sylvester further noted that while in Trinidad, a reporter from the Trinidad Express who had interviewed Gonsalves claimed that he told the reporter off-record that ‘the whole thing was concocted by the CIA’,” the cables said.

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40 Comments

  1. Justice and Truth
    September 13, 2011

    Wikileaks is turning the world upside down with his comments. Wikileaks cannot be in the same place at the same time. He has his undercover agents providing him with information. As to his story of this PM and bribery, I would not believe it unless I hear it from the horse’s mouth.
    Wikileaks is too scandalous. His day is coming when he will have to pay for what he has divulged, some of which may not be true at all, if none of it. Unless we can prove it and Wikileaks can show proof we should not believe him. His reporting is a form of propaganda and money-making. The man is dangerous and a crook. He deserves to be imprisoned. He should have been kept in prison in the U.K.

  2. Malatete
    September 13, 2011

    You see fellers what happen when you think with the wrong head!

  3. hmmm
    September 13, 2011

    Wikileaks.. keep working, we want to know
    \

  4. ??????????????
    September 13, 2011

    ???????? Is Wikileaks an agent of the powers of darkness who has come to steal, kill and destroy?

    there seem to be an urge to lie, slander, create chaos, create hatred and spreading filthy stories all in the name of democracy. There is the tendency for Adults person not to be role models to the youth, encourage hatred and disrespect for authority.

    Father Lord as we repent on behalf of the mislead masses, we ask for your forgiveness and ask that you pour a blessing on our land. Dismantle the powers of darkness in our land and in the world by extension so that peace may reign in the land Dominica. Father we also want to thank you for all the blessings we have in this land – Life, Water, protection from Storms and Hurricanes, Greenry, food, Fishes(so much available), Our children at school and the list can go on and on. We come on our knees and we ask that you give a heart of flesh to those who thrive on evil and creating chaos and anything that is not in you will. Teach them to love so they will love you first and see others as you are seeing us.

    Thank you Lord for answering prayers to commit to yourself all the Wikileaks and the likes in our society and they will turn from their sins, abandon their present agenda and do something to glorify you Lord only you Lord, Praise the Lord, Halleyuah. To God be the Glory, great things you have done and will continue to do.

    • anonymous
      September 13, 2011

      No..acutally wikileaks is an international organisation that has nothing in particular to do with insignificant (on the global level) caribbean countries. You’re trying to tell me that they would spend so much time fabricating so many (highly accurate) stories about countries that they have no interest in. come on, it’s obvious that this is what it looks like. The U.S. is known for it’s covert policing of the world this is no secret.

      • monica
        January 7, 2016

        Well said. Well said..I believe what wiki is saying. So they tryinh to discredit this organisation now. What about when the American guy who was leaking military information to another country .It was wiki who busted him, for espionage.

    • September 13, 2011

      YOU SOUND LIKE SOMEBODY THAT SUPPORTS SKERRIT,
      SO WHY ARE YOU PRAYING AGAINST HIM…

  5. ?????????????
    September 12, 2011

    There will a time when lies will be accepted as truth and Truth as lies. Are we there?

    Also people it would seem that people thrive nowadays in bringing fellow men and it also seems that there is a lotof nagativity in our society and people just waitng to hear the “ugly”

    Lord have mercy upon us as a people and show your mercy and Grace in our Land.

  6. Judge Tom again?
    September 12, 2011

    WOW Judge Gertel Tom again…
    Is it just me or does she have a leaning to…

  7. Free Thinker
    September 12, 2011

    Corruption in high places!! One thing I know is that what is in the dark must come to light.

    Judge Gertel Thom eh? Interesting, very interesting – St Vincent PM, now Dominica’s PM.

  8. 767
    September 12, 2011

    wikileaks have info on everybody wi… mind allu doe start reading about me too just now…. lol :mrgreen:

  9. Neg Gwanbay
    September 12, 2011

    Wikileaks or not i smell a dead rat.How u a female police officer could be on duty at the house of a single male government leader?Where was the rest of ur detail and if u didn’t have any why not?U were trained as a police officer doing security and u couldn’t even secure urself from mister.Maybe u should have been suing the police force.Or maybe u were having an affair with the man and something backfired,like he needed fresh meat and u thought u were in love.Something doh smell right.Who with me on dat one?

  10. Prophet2
    September 12, 2011

    Why is Labour so corrupt in the Caribbean, like in St Vincent, Saint Lucia, and you know the rest…why? Is it because of the red colour?

  11. September 12, 2011

    JUDGE GERTEL THOM AGAIN ? i AM STARTING TO THINK ! THIS JUDGE IS UP TO N0 GOOD.

  12. eee
    September 12, 2011

    I believe everything which has been brought to light by Wikileaks.

    • rastafari
      September 13, 2011

      Me too I believe the Americans have a good idea where Gonzalves get the US$ from to pay off the woman. Read Wickham again on Gonzalves.

  13. Chavez Jr.
    September 12, 2011

    Will the real Wikileaks tell me all those who were behind the bombing of 9/11?

    • Justice and Truth
      September 13, 2011

      Will the real Chavez Jr. show his face? :lol:

  14. FORKIT
    September 12, 2011

    rogues in high office, it seems that to become head huncho in the caribbean you must be a ruthless rogue with evil only on your mind

  15. 1979
    September 12, 2011

    bunch of rapists :twisted:

  16. caribbean genius
    September 12, 2011

    What happen in dark must come to light.

    @wikileaks.. Do you know what thee real wikileaks stand for? You are biased, shallow minded and i think you should change your moniker….

    • WIKILEAKS
      September 12, 2011

      Caribbean Genius..the real WIKILEAKS knows whats up and what time it is. Just look at this

      However, a source close to the alleged victim said, “She is vehement that she never got paid off.”

      “Further, I know of a regional attorney who works with the officer who says that she swears not to have received money,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

  17. September 12, 2011

    BUT HOW IS IT THAT WHEN WIKILEAKS TALK ABOUT UWP ALL U JUMPING UP HURRAY
    WHEN, HOWEVER, THEY TALK ABOUT YOUR SIDE IS ALL LIES EH?

    • September 12, 2011

      See who was the judge again Gertel Thom

      • One Love
        September 12, 2011

        8-O POOPAGAD WELL RON AND MJ DEADDDDDDDDDDDD

      • drop dead diva
        September 12, 2011

        @ Asterix………..gertel thom day must come to pass one day!! i await that day.

  18. WIKILEAKS
    September 12, 2011

    Sound like the US State Department operates like a dysfunctional UWP organization….HE SAY, SHE SAY…

    What an embarrasment for a top tier department. People just making up stories like a fly by the night group. No wonder the intel on Iraq was wrong and many many more.

    Do you see why me WIKILEAKS had to disclose these information so that the world could see the lies that are fabricated to suit warped agendas

    • 1979
      September 12, 2011

      will the real wikileaks please stand up!!!!! 8)

    • LOL
      September 12, 2011

      hypocrites! lol…..when they came out with the story on UWP leadership. People like you were all over it, you were even wet when DNO put out the news.

      Now its on the DLP and their associates, it’s all lies! lol

      Boy Dominicans…..allu are a special type of breed….

      • WIKILEAKS
        September 12, 2011

        No need to call WIKILEAKES HYPOCRITE…I CALL IT AS I SEE IT…RON GREEN IS A US CITIZEN BUT I CONSIDER HIM TO BE DOMINICAN….This is just classic…I contacted Master Card for an add on this .

      • September 12, 2011

        HA
        I LIKE THE WET PART

    • No Hogwash
      September 12, 2011

      O had to post this here after reading this from wikileaks.. I feel so sorry for you people! So sorry!

      In 1945 a short story in the form of a political satire entitled “Animal Farm” was published by the renowned George Orwell a political of the 20th century era. This short story was based on Joseph Stalin betrayal of the Russian Revolution. In it Orwell tried to show how a revolutionary Government could be much worse than the Government it replaced, but it did not only address Government, it also applied to political organizations, labor unions, professional organizations etc. The thesis of that story is a group of animals that rebelled against the humans from they farm they lived on and told themselves that they were going to be equal, free and happy, in the end, they had cultivated a cruel tyranny led by the pigs!! The successful farmyard revolution by the resident animals vs. the farmer goes horribly wrong when corrupt pigs hijack it for their personal gain.
      The key lesson is that the organization’s bosses often manipulate the organization for their own benefit, and end up being as bad, if not worse, than the real or imaginary evils from which they are protecting their followers. I think of the present situation in Dominica when I think of Orwell’s animal farm, why? Because it has all the elements of what is suggested in the story. Although all the animals are supposed to be equal, it is so obvious that a few of the animals are way above the other animals. Sadly enough most of the animals think they are equal to the higher animals who feed them on this myth via an animal radio program (the dog and pony show). The allegory in Orwell’s animal farm is very similar to that in Dominica today.

      We have the propagandizing- conditioning of the Sheep, which I dare say this present regime, is doing a phenomenal job at. If one has ay doubts about that, just read the comments from Dominicans as it relates to the burning issues concerning Dominica on the Dominican News Online (DNO) totally heartbreaking!

      Then there are the useful idiots who help the regime achieve their objectives, and they come from high and low places. From the PHD’s in academic achievement to the illiterate man who can hardly write his name.

      There are the organizations, the educated class which consent by their silence.

      I love this part “Somehow it seemed as though the farm had grown richer without making the animals themselves any richer-except, of course, for the pigs and the dogs. Perhaps this was partly because there were so many pigs and so many dogs. It was not that these creatures did not work, after their fashion. There was, as Squealer was never tired of explaining, endless work in the supervision and organisation of the farm. Much of this work was of a kind that the other animals were too ignorant to understand. For example, Squealer told them that the pigs had to expend enormous labours every day upon mysterious things called “files,” “reports,” “minutes,” and “memoranda.” These were large sheets of paper which had to be closely covered with writing, and as soon as they were so covered, they were burnt in the furnace. This was of the highest importance for the welfare of the farm, Squealer said. But still, neither pigs nor dogs produced any food by their own labour; and there were very many of them, and their appetites were always good.” Need I say more? Need I say more?

    • ,,,,,,,,,,
      September 12, 2011

      Your head is dsyfunctional..That’s why you need to examine it.Guess it has too much smoke or white powder.

    • Listener
      September 12, 2011

      You did not hear Tony Astaphans comment on the Kairi FM SHOW with Mervin on Saturday evening? Tony simply validated “the diplomatic cables” claims to a large extent! When it talked about Skerrit calling Lester Bird from Hong Kong asking his to stop being critical of Venuezla etc…. Tony said, “I told Bird the same thing Skerrit called to tell him and I said this to him……” Further when the Embassy spoke to Skerrit snubbing the Embassador, Tony”s response was not DENIAL but this, “Mary Kramma is not a leader of any country for her to expect the PM to drop his schedule to accomodate her” (words to that extent)…. From that time onwards I realize that these cables seem accurate and authentic in terms of what was transmitted but intercepted between the Embassy and Washington. Thanks for clearing that up for us and settling our minds on the issue Mr. Astaphans, I shall have more faith in your utterances my friend!

  19. Patriot
    September 12, 2011

    And High Court judge Gertel Thom later denied an application for judicial review of the DPP’s decision.——hmmmm sounds Familiar

    • Donald Tusk
      September 12, 2011

      Yes Yes thanks for pointing it out, that is why they throw out the case

      • dominican
        September 12, 2011

        I have a feeling them judges getting something under the table man.

    • Nohogwash
      September 12, 2011

      Yes indeed!!! Same ole, some ole Patriot, the ole boys and girls club!

      • Skye
        September 14, 2011

        Gadaffi wanted nothing to do with black Africa, today they taking refuge in Niger
        The Club will have it’s final days. That’s one of the major reasons people are not supporting the CCJ, these people act like they are working for the sitting government and not the people especially tax paying persons
        Every dog has its day ,hopefully they don’t drag them out of holes.

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