February 1, 2023

Peter Binose: Is it time to list SVG’s ULP leaders and the ruling family dynasty members in the RSF Predators Gallery?

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Kingstown (San Vicente y las Granadinas), 18 de marzo de 2013. El Canciller Ricardo Patiño se reunió con el Primer Ministro de San Vicente y las Granadinas, Ralf Gonsalves. Foto: Fernanda LeMarie - Cancillería del Ecuador.

Kingstown (San Vicente y las Granadinas), 18 de marzo de 2013. El Canciller Ricardo Patiño se reunió con el Primer Ministro de San Vicente y las Granadinas, Ralf Gonsalves. Foto: Fernanda LeMarie – Cancillería del Ecuador.

By Peter Binose


According to Reporters Without Borders, the RSF. The Internet has become both a popular place for exercising the right to free speech and an essential vehicle for circulating news and information. As some governments try to control the Internet and silence dissidents, RSF defends the position, both at the national level and internationally, that the rights guaranteed offline should also be guaranteed online. RSF also lobbies international bodies in support of net neutrality and against surveillance and carries out specific projects such Operation Collateral Freedom to unblock censored websites.

The global media watchdog group, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Wednesday said it had written St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and his son Camillo Gonsalves, Minister of Communications, expressing some concerns over the Cybercrime Bill now being debated in the nation’s Parliament.

The regional media umbrella group, the ‘Association of Caribbean MediaWorkers’ says it is also examining the legislation. But they are late in doing so and backward in coming forward.

Dr Ralph E Gonsalves [Portfolio: Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, Minister of National Security, Minister of Legal Affairs, and Minister of Grenadines Affairs] has surrounded himself in government with family members, his cousin Senator Julian Francis [Portfolio: Minister of State, Minister of Transport, Minister of Works, Minister of Urban Development and Minister Local Government] and his eldest son by his first marriage Camillo Gonsalves [Portfolio: Minister of Economic Planning, Minister of Sustainable Development, Minister of Industry, Minister of Internal Trade, Minister of Information and Minister of Labor]. Then there is an adoptee of the dynasty Sir Louis Straker who Gonsalves recommended for his Knighthood not admitted but believed by political observers for services to the dynasty [Portfolio: Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of International Trade and Minister of Regional Integration] Between them they hold all the important ministries and are in stranglehold control of the government and how it operates.

The ministries held by the dynasty members are those which require frequent travelling, and they all do that, perhaps at too greater expense for a small nation to bear.

Ralph Gonsalves has always had a nasty way of dealing with the press in press conferences or meetings which I include the online media representatives. Always ready to slap down verbally anyone who asks him a question that he does not want to answer or simply does not like. It has got to such a stage that reporters are guarded in what they ask him for fear of provoking a tantrum whereby they will be verbally insulted and belittled. It’s certainly a way of controlling the media and what they write and it is effective.

What I think needs to be asked is it time to list the ULP and the ruling family dynasty members in the RSF Predators Gallery? Is it time or would that be premature prior to the family dynasty members pushing through the current Bill in its entirety?

I think it is if they push through the CyberCrime Bill in its present form without making acceptable changes to it they should be listed and their photographs displayed.

In the letter to the Prime Minister, a copy of which was also sent to the Minister of Information Camillo Gonsalves, RSF said it was calling for the revision of several clauses “that are extremely damaging to the free flow of news and information and to public debate”.

In the letter, written by Delphine Halgand, RSF’s US Director, the group noted that while it does not dispute the principle of the Cybercrime legislation “the Internet should not escape the authority of the law altogether and we believe that it is perfectly legitimate to condemn such crimes and offences as the theft of documents or data, online identity theft, cyberbullying or, even more serious, child pornography.

“However, we regard some of the clauses in this bill as extremely damaging to the free flow of news and information and to public debate,” the group said making reference to Section 16 (2) of Part II which incorporates criminal libel that is already a criminal offence in section 274 of the criminal code.

It said Section 16 (3) states: “A person who, intentionally or recklessly uses a computer system to disseminate any information, statement or image; and exposes the private affairs of another person, thereby subjecting that other person to public ridicule, contempt, hatred or embarrassment, commits an offence” can be sentenced to up to five years’ imprisonment and/or pay a fine of EC$200,000 (One EC dollar =US$0.37 cents).

Yet the ULP has employed people to bully those writing on social media, they are the greater cyber bullies. Often attacking the writer instead of what they wrote.

RSF, which also describes itself as “an international organisation that defends freedom of information,” asks “under what criteria can information be considered to expose “private affairs” of another person regardless of factual accuracy, which this subsection refrains from mentioning?

“This provision could very easily constitute an obstacle to the dissemination of information of public interest. It could, for example, provide any demonstrably corrupt public figure with a strong argument for refusing to be held accountable.”

It said Clause 16 also defines cyberbullying as using “a computer system repeatedly or continuously to convey information which causes fear, intimidation, humiliation, distress or other harm to another person; or detriment to another person’s health, emotional well-being, self-esteem or reputation.”

“This language remains subjective and could be broadly interpreted in a manner that negatively impacts the free flow of information.

“We are also concerned about the range of the bill’s applicability. Clause 31 of Part III states that “an act [constituting an offence] is carried out in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines if the effect of the act, or the damage resulting from the act, occurs within Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.”

RSF said “here again, the lack of precision about the nature of the effect to which this clause refers could result in significant obstacles to freedom of information.

“The danger posed by these provisions is, in our view, all the greater because the law gives the police and judicial authorities a great deal of scope to access the personal data of someone who is being investigated.”

The international group said furthermore, it considers criminal defamation to have a chilling effect on freedom of the press and freedom of expression and has repeatedly urged countries to decriminalize this offense.

“For all these reasons, we urge you not to pass this bill into law in its present form and to amend the most sensitive clauses. We also urge you to amend the criminal code in order to de-criminalise defamation,” RSF added.

So why are they actually bringing this Bill to parliament? It is my contention that it is little to do with pedophiles sex predators against children. It is little to do with libel or defamation. I contend it is an attempt to protect the dynasty and the head of the dynasty. It is an attempt to gag writers like myself who have suffered from cyberbullying from the establishment and the ULP and the family dynasty. Whenever people write about some of what they believe is the filth and dirty deeds that is generated by them, they use false named followers to attack the writer and not the article or letter. They post things in cyberspace to try and destroy and defame the writer of such articles. Posted by people who use pseudo names such as Vinciman and others over the years and are in fact agents of the regime and dynasty. In some cases PM Gonsalves himself and frequently under direct instruction the PM’s press secretary Hans King and others some paid propagandists have done this.

So why does the PM need the protection from such a Bill? Is it because there are hundreds if not thousands of comments and writings on the internet and on Facebook regarding Ralph Gonsalves? Most of those comments may well be true and founded in the whole truth. They may also be untrue but they have never been tested in a court. Such things as Ralph Gonsalves has been accused of by many women is sexual assault and in more than one case charges were brought against him including rape. The SVG Director of Publications [DPP] prosecutions stopped such charges and allegations from proceeding to be heard in a court of law. Everyone in SVG is aware of these matters, Gonsalves is I am sure embarrassed by the matters being raised on a fairly frequent basis. Or perhaps he is not embarrassed but wants to stop such comments and their being raised on social media from time to time because it queers his hand. There are so many accusations and allegations against Gonsalves that one must ask if it is possible to have so much smoke without fire? There are allegations of spite and malice and even downright destruction of a human being and his business. There are allegations that Gonsalves is a serial liar and to some extent that is proven beyond doubt. Allegations regarding dirty phone calls and granting a passport to an individual, who was not a government employee or diplomat, caught using that passport whilst smuggling cocaine into the UK. There are so many allegations about so many things that I find it impossible to believe or discount that all those allegations are false or simply based in political bias towards him.

You can put words into any internet search engine, such as Ralph Gonsalves liar, Ralph Gonsalves rapist, Ralph Gonsalves sexual assault, Ralph Gonsalves Argyle Airport, Ralph Gonsalves spite and malice, Ralph Gonsalves hatred, Ralph Gonsalves elections stolen, Ralph Gonsalves Bigga Bigs, Ralph Gonsalves Ann Joshua Cobblestone, Ralph Ralph Gonsalves Marxist, Ralph Gonsalves communist, Ralph Gonsalves Jamaica, Ralph Gonsalves Walter Rodney, Ralph Gonsalves Grenada, Ralph Gonsalves Maurice Bishop. Why are all those things written about on social media, why is it only Ralph Gonsalves who is selected for such treatment? Is it possible that it is all true? If it’s not true why has he not sued every one of those who posted such comments and those who published them? We know he is a frequent litigator in SVG against those who make comments and cannot prove what they said as fact. So why is he sitting on his hands regarding all those who he claims have done him wrong? Why? I suppose if he can bring in this Cyber Crime Bill it will give him some amount of blanket protection. But I doubt it will stop people finding a way and wanting to write what they believe to be the truth.

So you can understand why the dynasty want to bring a Cyber Crime Bill that will stop such comments against Ralph Gonsalves, true or false.

One thing we can be sure of there are clauses in the Bill such as clause 16 which are not just undemocratic but also unconstitutional.

I would like to thank ‘Reporters Without Borders’ in bringing this matter to the International arena.

Thank you Ladies, Gentlemen and organizations that are fighting for what is right, thank you from the bottom of every decent Vincentians heart.

Peter Binose

I see that Gonsalves has now answered RST as follows

In a letter, Gonsalves said the Bill is a common piece of legislation that was drafted through “the appropriate regional mechanisms” for consideration by member-states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States.

He said the proposed law is part and parcel of “a raft of legislative measures touching and concerning certain electronic and internet activities, some of which have already been enacted”.

Gonsalves said that since 2013 there have been consultations with the private and public sectors in St. Vincent and the Grenadines on this Bill by the regional drafters. This statement by Gonsalves is somewhat misleading because the public only became aware of the content of the SVG CyberCrime Bill recently.

He told RSF that the Cybercrime Bill has been subjected to “informed scrutiny” by the relevant officials in the State administration, the general public, and a Parliamentary Select Committee.

But these are all answerable to him and certainly under his control, I doubt the general public are little more than ULP supporters.

He noted that the bill was published in the print media in SVG and online and electronic copies were made available to civil society organisations and personalities upon request. Yes but when what dates and exactly where.

“Comments by the general public were invited. Indeed, several written submissions were made to the Office of the Honourable Attorney General. These submissions, including two by independent journalists, have been circulated to the Select Committee for its consideration; so, too, has your letter.” Eustace quite rightly should have nothing to do with this government which he consider illegal because of the 2015 election process.

He noted that six members of the Government’s side in Parliament, including the Attorney General, who is a public servant, were named to the Select Committee but that the Opposition’s did not name anyone to the select Committee. I submit that the Attroney General is his political appointee.

Gonsalves also told the RSF that the Select Committee has invited several persons to appear before, and sit with it, to consider the Cybercrime Bill in detail. True but Anesia Baptiste who was one of those people has reported that although she has fought tooth and nail to have those changes made the all ULP packed selection of members refused to use any of her suggestions on the relevant clauses.

These include representatives from the National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission; public servants from the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information; the Director of Public Prosecutions and staff; the President and Vice President of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Bar Association; the President of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Chamber of Industry and Commerce; and the Political Leader of the Democratic Republican Party. Everyone of those has a connection to Gonsalves.

“The Select Committee has had several lengthy meetings on the Bill; it is conducting a detailed clause-by-clause examination of the Bill. The Select Committee is scheduled to report to Parliament on August 4, 2016, for further debate and possible passage,” Gonsalves said. Because the majority of the Select Committee has a connection to Gonsalves their workings and findings should be discounted and disbelieved.

Gonsalves further said alterations have been made to the Bill prior to the letter from Reporters Without Border, and we are expect to believe that. But he also said those changes will most probably not satisfy the Demands of RSF and others. I am sure they will not that is why I suggest the RSF Predators Gallery as a reward for their disgusting work in bringing this Bill to Parliament.

I contend that it really does not matter how long the Bill has been looked at wrong is wrong and coming now and trying to make it right without the full changes required just does not wash. All of the Vincentians who have looked at the Bill and supported it as it is are all under the control of Gonsalves.

Let’s put them in the RSF Predators Gallery, I believe they belong there.

Peter again, gone


DISCLAIMER: The opinion, belief and viewpoint expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinion, belief and viewpoint of iNews Cayman/ieyenews.com or official policies of iNews Cayman/ieyenews.com

IMAGE: Kingstown (San Vicente y las Granadinas), 18 de marzo de 2013. El Canciller Ricardo Patiño se reunió con el Primer Ministro de San Vicente y las Granadinas, Ralph Gonsalves. From Wikipedia

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