September 23, 2011
Sylvester denies WikiLeaks US cable claims

President of the SVG Human Rights Association Nicole Sylvester is “disturbed” that a WikiLeaks cable is claiming that she told a US embassy official that the Chief Magistrate felt pressured into upholding the decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to throw out the rape case made against the Prime Minister in 2008.{{more}}

Sylvester denied that Chief Magistrate Sonya Young ever confided that to her, and also denied ever informing the US Embassy in Barbados of that.

“I am really disturbed by this one,” Sylvester said.

“I find this very distressing because it is designed to bring the administration into disrepute. This is completely false!”

The recently released cable states: “According to Sylvester, the Chief Magistrate in the case, Simone Young [sic], intimated to her that she too was the subject of intimidation and “pressure”, and confided in Sylvester, “I may lose my job” (if she rules the case be continued). “

Sylvester revealed that she had heard rumours circulating about the content of the cable, but was made to understand that the judicial officer being referred to was Justice Gertel Thom.

Referring to an article posted on I Witness News (September 9, 2011), Sylvester said: “I notice another version of the WikiLeak [cable] seems to indicate that a particular judge said this to me. I find this quite amazing!”

Sylvester also denied ever having mentioned Thom as being pressured into making a decision on the matter.

“At no time did Sonya Young or any other judge of the High Court speak to me on this matter,” she asserted.

“Sonya Young is quite fearless. You may or may not agree with her findings, but she does as she sees fit!”

She explained that the only judicial officer she expressed “disappointment” in over the matter of the rape charges being thrown out by the DPP was senior magistrate Donald Browne.

Sylvester also pointed out that when Browne recused himself from the case, she was very open about her feelings on the stance he had taken.

“When we were trying to get the summons issued… he said he could not do it. That was the only judicial officer who spoke on the matter…”

Sylvester further admitted that she has had conversations with US Embassy officers, but that the cable is “not a representation of those conversations”.

“I am convinced this did not come out of the Embassy. This is somebody being malicious… This is mischief afoot, and that is how I am going to angle it!”

Sylvester went on to question the credibility of the source of the cables – citing the incorrect naming of Sonya Young as a main reason.

“Why would the Embassy get that wrong?” she questioned.

“We cannot ascertain whether the source is genuine. I don’t trust the veracity of these [cables].

I am concerned, but at least I am happy that what is reported is not what I discussed!”

The cable was created on February 6, 2008, by former US Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Mary Ourisman; and released on August 30, 2011. (JV)