Our Readers' Opinions
September 21, 2012
Eustace’s untouchable – Vynnette Frederick

Fri, Sept 21, 2012

Editor: During the candidate selection process of the NDP, Jerry Scott was called by the leader of the party and told he could not be a candidate. I sat in a meeting with that same leader who informed that he “heard” Jerry had accepted money from the ULP administration. Other comments were made, but soon after I left I called Jerry. His story, similar to one I got from Sir James about the money, was far different. According to the leader he did not “want any candidate based on popularity”.{{more}}

During the same period, Curtis Dennie, because of certain allegations made about him, could not be a candidate. The rumours repeated to me by the same leader about Israel Bruce were defamatory. I called Bruce. No one had questioned him about the rumours. No stone was left unturned, including rank violation of the NDP constitution, to see that he was not a candidate. He was denied the candidacy, even though he was duly ratified by the Central Committee. The leader had to have his way.

St Clair Leacock’s selection to be the candidate for Central Kingstown was rejected twice by the same leader, based on rumours. The man “was good enough to be PRO, but not candidate”. The leader relented only after the direct intervention of Douglas De Freitas.

Party Treasurer Ms Sylvia Sutherland resigned after a complaint to the leader by no other than Ms Vynnette Frederick. She was called not to hear her side of the story, but to be roughed up. She told me repeatedly that the allegations made about her were manufactured.

In 2005, Ms Frederick, who I tried to recruit for West St George after Linton Lewis took bad advice and moved to East St George, was dispatched to South Leeward to challenge Nigel Stevenson, who was deemed to be too close to the discarded Jerry Scott. So much discontent was sowed, that it is believed by some that it cost the NDP the seat.

Come 2009 and Ms Frederick was ready to contest in W St George, but there was an impediment – last contestant Kingsley Layne. Ms Frederick told the leader that she got the blessings of Mr Layne. He never bothered to verify. That was a lie. Speaking to Carlos Maloney on his “On the Move program”, June 3, 2009, Mr Layne forcefully denied that he was dropping out. All efforts on his part to be present at the selection process were met with planned road blocks. The constituency chairman resigned.

Sometime before the 2010 election, something was posted on Facebook, that had Hans King, Sehon Marshall el al speculating about a bombshell that Ms Frederick stated would be dropped at the convention of July 18. Ralph Gonsalves, Burgin and others were frequently heard referencing something about a Bequia scandal. I checked. I called on the individual who was easily identified by the post, to sue. The SCL people here as advisors sought clarification. The post was a fabrication. I called Sir James to discuss the issue and days later he came up to big island, where we met. Nothing was done, so the ULP continued throughout the election. The matter is in the courts.

On November 15, 2010, Ralph Gonsalves, at a meeting held at Calliaqua opined, “Mark my words, before the end of this campaign, at least one calamity will befall one of the candidates of the NDP.” Ralph was merely talking, but by Monday morning, folks on Star-FM were reading an I-Witness report, quoting sections of law, why candidate London could not be a candidate. Ms London’s picture and profile were also reportedly removed from the NDP webpage managed by Ms Frederick.

That Sunday I was on the island of Bequia. When I got home that morning there was a message on my phone, “Ah you mek so”. So I called the caller to find out what ah mek. “London had a conviction, so she cannot run,” I was told. “Who say so?” I asked. I called London for an explanation. I also called Ms Nicole Sylvester to arrange for a meeting with London. After the meeting Ms Sylvester assured it was a joke. I called the leader to inform him of Ms Sylvester’s opinion. He said he got it, but was unmoved, London had to step aside. A further meeting with Dr Friday, Dr Lewis, Ms Frederick and the leader, in which both Friday and Lewis stated there was no constitutional bar to London’s candidacy, but Ms Frederick opined that it was not the law anymore, “Ms London would be viewed as a bad john politician.” The Leader agreed. “It was not the law anymore; it was the image of the party,” he told me.

ULP candidate Luke Browne was hauled into court. His picture was taken while in the box and published. “The Criminal Justice Act prohibits the taking of any photograph in the court or in its precincts (or making any portrait or sketch, in the court or it precincts with view to publication) of any juror, witness, party, or judge … In 1988, a Press Association photographer was bound over by a judge at the Old Bailey for trying to take a picture of a murder trial witness as she left the court. In 1987, an editor was fined 500 pounds by a judge… for aiding and abetting an artist to make a sketch in the court itself.”

Since the last election, Arnhim Eustace has not drawn breath to James F Mitchell, the man who made him prime minister, because he, Eustace, was given a tale. The tale being that Sir James was conspiring with the advisors to have Leacock (“fresh pair of legs”) replace him. While the consultants did make the suggestion, Sir James asked my opinion. I told him because of the impending court action, to remove Arnhim would be premature. He agreed. I communicated my sentiments to Arnhim. Arnhim took someone else’s word. He never sought Sir James’ opinion. The lady could not have heard what she reported, based on her location in the house.

It was bedlam in the House of Assembly in March 2011, but staged photographs in the yard placed on Facebook became the highlight.

At the last NDP Convention, Arnhim Eustace’s choice, whom he had first installed with the departure of Israel Bruce as PRO, was roundly rejected by the rank and file for newcomer Ernesto Cooke. But who cares? She remains as senator over much better prospects. She is Arnhim Eustace’s untouchable.

On Wednesday, September 12, 2012, The Untouchable got touched.

Frank E. da Silva