The opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) has called on Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves to clarify the situation in which he has been linked with model Yugge Farrel or resign his position.
In a release issued Monday, the NDP, of which Dr Godwin Friday is president said âThe 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.â
The release, giving background, said, âOn 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 publicâs 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 Magistrateâs Court of Ms. Farrell on a charge of âcausing a breach of the peace and using abusive languageâ resulting from statements she allegedly made in relation to the Ministerâs wife.”
According to the release, âIt 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.
âNotwithstanding, the fact that the matter has been ventilated in public, the situation remains unclear. However, the publicly available information suggests that Miss Farrellâs 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 Magistrateâs 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.
âIn 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. Farrellâs case. Vincentians should therefore be rightly alarmed by this case, as this sets a precedent which places the liberty of all Vincentians at risk.
âThe 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.
âAlso of concern, are the media reports that Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves (Camillo Gonsalvesâ 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.
âThe 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,â the release said.