Our Readers' Opinions
January 22, 2016
Who feels it…knows it…

Editor: Permit me to use this medium to express my thoughts on a matter that has brought me much pain. On Tuesday, December 15, 2015, a group of persons gathered outside the Office of the Supervisor of Elections on Bay Street to conduct what they termed a ‘peaceful protest’. As I write this letter, it is exactly five weeks later and while the protest continues, there is nothing peaceful about it. At any given time of day you can hear bells, whistles, blow horns, drums and loud outbursts.{{more}} While for many it may not be as evident during the day, it intensifies at approximately 5 p.m. when the Supervisor of Elections (SOE) exits her office. At that time, in addition to the aforementioned, one can hear expletives and the most demeaning and vile comments hurled at the SOE. Some protestors have even followed her to her vehicle and stop short of physically assaulting her.

This protest, which has been endorsed by the leadership of the NDP, is translated to written and verbal attacks on her on social media, in particular Facebook, as well as in the electronic media. I have read with my own eyes and heard with my own ears my mother being referred to as a slut, a whore, a thief, a pussycat, the devil, satan, ugly…. earlier today, January 19, 2016, Judas and Jezebel were added to the list. I have Patches Knights on record calling her a nasty, ‘dutty’ disgraceful woman and promising that he would be her worst nightmare. I have a saved a post of a female teacher, besides calling her demeaning names and making defamatory statements, encouraging persons on Facebook to stake out her office and home. Two weeks ago, one male protestor blurted out that she would be killed already if she was in Trinidad. Last week, one female protestor went to her office door as she exited and reiterated what is said daily – that they would ensure she drops down from a heart attack. Today, a man whom I know very well came close enough to the jeep as she left her office and wished that she would have a stroke.

I heard 2 Cool Chris last week compare her to ‘Coo Man,’ who he thought would do a better job than her at answering a question which she declined answering when questioned by a media house. I will digress to state that for those calling on the SOE to make public statements and answer questions, it will not happen, certainly not when there are matters before the court and certainly not to give her opinion on any matter that the court has ruled on. I will also add that as someone who holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree with Honours in Media and Communication and Linguistics, I know it is wrong that a call to the SOE was recorded and reported as a news item. This news item resulted in the SOE being lambasted by all who felt the need to, when the SOE was merely acting in good faith by explaining to that reporter why she did not wish to respond to his question or comment on the matter. It has hurt her deeply and certainly made her skeptical of speaking to anyone in a professional or personal capacity.

However, I would like all the persons who can speak up on every other issue in SVG to tell me how can the harassment, humiliation, assault, intimidation and insulting of Sylvia Findlay be right? My mother is being dragged through the mud and the NDP hierarchy and laity, the Christian Council, the Christian Community, including the Anglican Communion (where she has been a staunch member for her entire life), Human Rights Association, all the so-called women’s rights and social rights activists, columnists like Dr Fraser and Bassy (who both know her personally and who speak out on other injustices) have all either been silent on or supportive of this abuse of Sylvia Findlay for the last five weeks. Why? Is it because you have all made your own conclusions on her? Is it okay because it is led by the party you support? Is she not entitled to justice and freedom like any other Vincentian? None of these actions are right; protest by all means, but not at the expense of another human being’s rights, reputation and more so, life.

While the SOE has always expected criticism since taking this job in 2009, she is only human. My mother has done NOTHING to warrant any of this and the leadership of the NDP and all right-thinking people know this. I have no doubt that she will be vindicated when the court makes its judgment, but no one can reverse the damage to her character that has been tarnished, not just locally, but globally.

She conducted the 2015 General Election in a free and fair manner, just as she did the 2009 Referendum and 2010 General Election. Anyone who has encountered or knows my mother knows she is fair, firm and forthright, she ‘favours no affection’ and no one or nothing can influence her to do anything illegal or immoral. She is a law-abiding, hard-working, generous, humble Christian woman, who has done much for her country, community, church and every school she has taught and headed during her teaching career, which spanned 37 years. Sylvia Findlay is someone’s daughter, mother, grandmother, mother-in-law, sister, friend and boss. She is, above all, a woman with a big heart and she is the epitome of integrity. I challenge anyone who knows otherwise to prove it. I also wish to state that while at this time the matters before the court in relation to her office are priority, she is not oblivious to the defamatory statements being made on social and electronic media and will in due course make decisions on seeking justice in a personal capacity.

To Mr PR Campbell QC, thank you, sir, for your programme on Monday, January 18, 2016, dedicated to the SOE. It truly meant much to us as a family and more so my mother, as she continues to face the daily harassment, molestation and insults. I pray God’s continued blessings on you and your weekly ‘The Law & You’ presentation. I also want to thank the gentleman (you know who you are), who called my mother and expressed your displeasure with your party’s vilification of her. I trust you would be able to in some way influence your counterparts to let justice take its course in the court of law and to end this abuse of the SOE. Sincerest thanks as well to all who have publicly or privately supported in her these past five weeks; it means more than you can ever imagine.

My mother has been staying strong but only by God’s grace. For almost 40 years she has stood by, supported and sheltered me in the best and worst of times and now it is my turn; I will continue to speak out against this inhumane treatment of my mother even if it takes my last breath. Who feels it…knows it….

Faylene King née Findlay