Saturday, 24 June 2017 03:01:57 (AST)
 

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Eustace calls for Elson Crick’s resignation for disclosing info about abused woman

Elson Crick, communications consultant in the Office of the Prime Minister. (IWN file photo)

Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace has called for the resignation of Communications Consultant in the Office of the Prime Minister, Elson Crick, who this week released on radio personal information about a victim of abuse.

“Elson Crick has attempted to strip Kate bare,” Eustace said of Crick’s treatment on radio of the woman.

The woman who has changed her legal name after being deported from Canada where she failed to obtain refugee status, identified herself as Kate as she told the opposition New Democratic Party’s “Conversation with Women” on Monday about her years of abuse, allegedly by members of her own family and an ex-boyfriend.

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The event was aimed at crafting an NDP administration’s policies on women’s affairs and domestic violence, the NDP said.

“The NDP respected Kate’s choice to disclose only her first name,” Eustace said, adding that the woman’s story was gut-wrenching and the abuse and pain she suffered was palpable to everyone who heard her account,” Eustace.

“She did not speak in a political capacity neither did she say anything which could be construed as political. Her only intention, she said, was to give strength to other women, who feel disempowered, to tell their story and to find healing to build and rebuild their self-confidence and their lives,” he said in the statement issued on Friday.

Eustace said that since the conference, the NDP has learnt that

Kate was “vilified” on Wednesday on Star Radio, which is owned by the ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP).

“In that programme, the host Elson Crick, a communications consultant in the prime minister’s office, revealed private details of Kate’s life, including her former and current full legal names, immigration history, dates of travel and passport number,” Eustace said.

“We, as a party are appalled by this despicable act and we consider it a grave interference with Kate’s privacy and a gross breach of that right which is conferred on every citizen under Article 12 the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights,” Eustace said.

Article 12 says, “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.”

“We also strongly feel that the said action is tantamount to torture and persecution, in breach of Article 5 and 13 respectively,” Eustace further said of the UN human rights charter.

At the NDP's "Conversation with Women", Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace decried the high incidences of violence against women in SVG. (IWN photo)

At the NDP’s “Conversation with Women”, Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace decried the high incidences of violence against women in SVG. (IWN photo)

Article 5 says, “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”, while Article 13 says, “Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.”

Eustace noted that the Vincentian Constitution protects citizens from degrading treatment, and guarantees their freedom of association.

“By his actions, Communications Consultant in the Office of the Prime Minister Mr. Crick has breached Kate’s fundamental human rights,” he said.

“We say, therefore, that it matters not the capacity in which Mr. Crick was acting when he violated the privacy of a Vincentian woman whose person had been violated so many times before. Whether or not he acted as communications consultant to the Prime Minister or as host of ULP’s radio programming, we call upon Dr. Ralph Gonsalves both as prime minister and president of the ULP to remove Mr. Crick from public office and ULP radio programming with immediate effect, and publicly condemn his actions.

“Any failure to take decisive action on this matter is to do as Caribbean Women’s Rights activist Dr. Peggy Antrobus observed in the treatment of Officer Michelle Andrews.

“Dr Antrobus stated: ‘People are afraid to come forward. The message he’s sending is, ‘We will discredit you’,” Eustace said.

Andrews, a former member of Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves’ security detail, had accused him of sexually assaulting her, and was named by Gonsalves at a press conference in which he denied the allegations, which were later thrown out of court for lack of evidence.

Eustace said the NDP is “committed to fostering an environment that is conducive to the empowerment of women in our society and as such we condemn totally this action by Elson Crick. We refuse to believe that such behaviour, which is completely unacceptable in other parts of the Caribbean and the World, is acceptable in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” Eustace said.

“We, therefore, call for his immediate removal from the Office of the Prime Minister, his role of communications consultant and as host of ULP radio programming. We also demand a thorough investigation, particularly into how Kate’s immigration details/history came to be in the hands of Mr. Crick. As a consequence also, we demand that all those who breached her rights and compromised her privacy and security (and by extension the security of the country) are held to account.

We are a nation of laws and it is imperative that the rule of law is adhered to at all times. All citizens must feel safe and secure in our country.

“Vincentians deserve better,” Eustace said.

Crick told I-Witness News on Saturday that while he has seen on Facebook calls for his resignation he has not seen Eustace’s statement.

“Officially, I haven’t seen the press release; I can’t respond to it,” Crick said.

“I am not sure what he wants me to resign over. I did my research and got the information. As far as I am concerned, the information is accurate. My sources are not of important to Mr. Eustace,” the communications specialist said.

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15 thoughts on “Eustace calls for Elson Crick’s resignation for disclosing info about abused woman

  1. peter says:

    The problem with so many of the ULP mouth pieces is that they have to show to their leader that they are hard men.

    I have often said in the past they either don’t know right from wrong, or they do and choose the wrong thing any way, because they believe wrong benefits the party, the government or their leader.

    Such behavior as demonstrated by Crick should not be tolerated by Vincentians, both men and women alike.

    Not only should he be fired he should be prosecuted, but we all know none of those things will happen. When you see a thief steal $300K from the kitty and only get charged for $20k and a much lesser charge than deserved, we know just how corrupt the government and its leadership are.

  2. C. ben-David says:

    Though I am also dismayed by this uncalled for attack on the woman, I am also not convinced by her unsubstantiated allegations that she was afraid she would be further abused or even killed if she were sent back to SVG from Canada, a charge that was dismissed by Canadian immigration authorities.

    Let us face the facts: many of our women claimed refugee status in Canada on the basis of phony abuse claims. Most were sent back home after a costly investigation by Canadian authorities who found that the women were coached and encouraged by unscrupulous immigration consultants and lawyers who were paid for their services.

    The end result: thousands of honest Vincentians now have to go through the annoyance of gettting a visa to travel to Canada.

    I am not doubting that many women do flee abuse and are afraid for their lives. But these women are scapegoated again by the many worthless ones who lied to immigration to get their stay in Canada. The rest of us are made to suffer for their sins.

    Eustace said the woman “did not speak in a political capacity” — which I will accept — yet all of his comments above are highly politcially motivated.

    • C. ben-David I was not criticizing the Canadians decisions. That is their right. What I have concerns about is Mr Crick’s assumption that he had the right to publish the accurate information about the lady’s migration and I suggested that this implied a belief on his part that her story was a lie.

      As has been pointed out by others, the Canadian requirement for visas was initially stated to be because of a problem with Vincentian travel documents. Then we have a quotation from the Canadian Minister responsible for Immigration that “an unacceptably high number of claims from the two Eastern Caribbean islands, with about one and a half per cent and three per cent of the islands’ populations making asylum claims in Canada in the last five years” He did not specify how many claims were made by males and how many by females. But you state, with no information (accurate of otherwise – pace Mr Crick) to support the statement (accurate of otherwise, pace Mr Crick) that “many of our women claimed refugee statue in Canada on the basis of bogus claims”. How many is “many”. And how many males also made asylum claims, for whatever bogus reasons?

      Authorities would usually ask their diplomatic missions to report on conditions in the countries from which asylum seekers originate.

      UN statistics for 122 countries based on police-recorded offences for the period 2003 to 2011 indicate that the rate per 100,00 population of rape of women and sexual violence against women and children in SVG is among the highest, when not the very highest, of all those 122 countries. In 2011, for example the rate of all sexual violence against women and children was 389.5 per 100,000 in SVG. The country with the next highest incidence had a rate of 180.9 per 100,000. Canada’s rate was 68.6 per 100,000, roughly 1/3 that of SVG. And in SVG,, one of the things that I recently learned, is that there is no mandatory recording of ALL complaints of domestic/sexual violence, nor any requirement to report on whatever follow-up action was taken. We also have cases of 10 and 11 year-olds giving birth, which, however you look at it, is statutory rape, and no one is prosecuted, and this in an age when the perpetrator can be identified by DNA testing. That being so, it is highly likely that the actual incidence of sexual violence is higher that the reported number of cases. Given such statistics it is quite possible that the Canadians could well make a mistake in a particular case. After all, how does one substantiate a claim of sexual violence starting from one’s childhood, even if those incidents had been reported to the police, if there is no police record of that abuse?

      • C. ben-David says:

        No right thinking or moral person would ever claim that life is easy for women — especially poor women — in SVG given the on-going double standard for males and females in so many areas of life. An area that really has not been discussed is the amount of women and girls who prostitute themselves on a casual or regular basis. Some may do so just to get by; some may do so, not because they are hungry, but to buy hair extensions and false eyelashes. It is all the same: a woman viewed by men and perhaps even themselves as just a piece of meat.

        What is generally acknowledged is that figures pertaining to violence against women — including sexual assault — are very difficult to collect or analyze. For example, it may very well be that the actually rates of violence in SVG may be very much the same as in other Caribbean countries but that women are more willing to come forward with complaints and the authorities more willing to prosecute offenders in SVG than elsewhere. I say this because I am not aware of anything in the social science literature to suggest that there is a greater culture or prevalence of violence against women in SVG than in neighbouring countries.

        As for Canada, I do recall seeing the statistics, which I’ll try to find again and post, which show that most claims for refugee status based on violence against women in the their home countries were regected. The rates of rejection, I also recall, have increased in recent years as the criteria and evidence levels have changed.

        Also, there are a lot of murdered aboriginal women in Canada with the murderer usually being a relative or close associate. A lot of murders also go unsolved. But I doubt the USA, for example, would ever accept a refugee claim from an abused native women fleeing to America from domestic violence.

        As a lawyer, you must know that there are a lot of unscrupulous immigration lawyers and consultants who coach their clients to say anything to prevent or delay their removal because this will increase the fees they can collect on behalf of their clients. In the USA and Canada, immigration lawyers generaly are referred to as the bottom feeders of the legal profession.

        What we need first is better data collection and reporting. Then we can move to policies to reduce the threats to women, including reducing the chronic level of so-called beauty contests in this country which do nothing more than reinforce the idea that the most important role for women is the sexual gratification of men.

        No conscious women should ever support these demeaning contests.

  3. That Elson Crick, a “Communications Consultant” should think that because information is “accurate” he has a right to broadcast it is a sad indictment of our society and especially of people of influence in this society. That information which may be accurate ought not to be made public if it harms someone seems to be a concept beyond the mind of Mr Crick. That information that is accurate may nevertheless be private is even further from his comprehension. And he is a “Communications Consultant”.
    I think that Mr Crick is incapable of understanding the deep emotional trauma that is the result of the kind of abuse Kate suffered. Among more compassionate people some information is never published, however accurate it may be. Has Mr Crick never noticed that the faces of children will be pixilated in photographs and videos originating from many other countries? Or that rape victims names are not published unless the victim waives the right to anonymity? That Mr Crick, is the way compassionate people, caring people, behave. Mr Crick, I am sure you would say that you respect women, and if asked I am also sure you would say that of course you would never do anything to destroy the dignity of a woman. However, I have often said that we have a LONG way to go in SVG, before people, and especially women, are accorded the respect and dignity they deserve rather than the lip service that exists at present.
    Mr Crick might argue that Kate’s story is all false. It is possible to assume this because she was refused asylum in Canada (because of course Canadian Immigration cannot possibly be wrong, can they? And the Canadian authorities could not have received inaccurate information about the rate of abuse, including sexual abuse of women and children in SVG, could they? And the UN’s statistics on such abuse is all wrong, isn’t it?)). But I watched Kate as she told her story and I am convinced that she did indeed suffer serious trauma. Crying as you tell a story is one thing – there are people who can and do make tears roll down their cheeks on demand. But the shaking of her hand as it rested on the podium, and the tremors of her body are very difficult indeed to call up on demand. If she can do that she needs to be in Hollywood, not St Vincent; and in that case I would then confidently look forward to her Oscar presentation.

    • C. ben-David says:

      It is possible — anything is possible — that Canadian immigration authorities erred in this matter. Actually, it was the refugee review board and the legal system that deals with these matters on appeal — and they may have erred. Usually, in fact, they err on the side of the potential refuguee because Canada has the most liberal and humane immigration policy in the world which is precisely why it attracts so many bogus claimants who then manage to game the system all at the expense of the people of Canada who have to pay all the bills for years of litigation, legal fees, welfare payments and medical costs for claimant, etc.

      So I have to assume — unless you have contrary evidence — that this woman was rightly deported from Canada.

      This does not in any way mean that she was not terribly abused in SVG just as many Canadian-born women are terribly abused by family members and others in Canada just that her case and evidence did not satisfy the low threshold for gaining refugee status.

      Nor does this exonerate Elson Crick who should be held accountable for publicising this woman’s passport number and other information that should be considered privileged information. Indeed, he has no right to even know this number just as the PM had no right to know what was on the immigration declaration of the Panorama BBC producer.

      What a hell of a country we have! Just don’t blame Canada.

  4. Watching Hard says:

    People like Elson Crick have to be some special brand of beast. To strip a chronically abused and socially vulnerable person of all their dignity in such a public way is just the lowest of the low. You can’t get any lower than that. This sort of behaviour must be CONDEMNED!!!!. If we shrug it off then we just give them licence to continue in that same vein.

    This is a symptom of a much larger problem in SVG where we have no regard for the rights and dignity of less vulnerable groups such as women, children, poor people, mentally and physically challenged people and gay people and heck, just about anybody who doesn’t conform. Its a herd mentality in this country. There seems to be no sense out there that all people deserve dignity and to be treated with respect. It drives home to me that we in SVG are so socially backward and we still have a lot of evolving to do. If the PM’s spokesman can act in such an egregious manner then what does that signal to the rest of us? It says that all of us are free to act like beasts and destroy the last vestiges of civility left in our society.

    I hope women take note and become conscious of their power as a unified force in this country. Women are half or more of the population of SVG. Use that power that you have and show them just who is in charge. Its not them, its you if you really think about it.

  5. Patrick Ferrari says:

    I do not know what Crick said. But there is nothing no ULP man can do, let alone say that would make him go. Crick or none of them will ever go … has ever gone.

    Check their track record.

    Glen Beache’s textbook example of conflict of interest was labelled, by the Prime Minister, as only a “presumption of a conflict,” completely ignoring the moral and ethical position that all you need is presumption because even lawful dealings can reveal uncomfortable intimacies between public and private interests. But we have come down from those lofty standards 14 years ago.

    It is the law, moral, ethical and legal according to the ULP. And the moral and ethical do not count for sure. Beache being the perfect case in point.

    Crick ain’t going nowhere.

  6. hope says:

    There use to be a time when it was a pride and joy to say am a vincy now whenever am asked where am from I just simply say the Caribbean. People have to now realize that when they go on radio and say things that its not just confine to SVG but all over the world. When you have grown old men like Elson pulling down a woman who was rape in the name of party its very very sad. Fact is the lady story touch a very sensitive cord I figure that the shoe fits. No wonder rape is so high and so many underage pregnancy. Women are like a slab of meat to them. They are no better that the Hyenas on the African plains.

  7. Ivan Young says:

    I have never seen so much arrogance in one man than that of Elson Crick. This is one of the trademarks of Labor Party. From when I was a small child and my parents being staunch Labor Party supporters, to when I became of voting age and cast my first for Labor Party, then realizing a few months later that they did not give a hoot about the poor people of St.Vincent. I changed my party affiliation and had to flee my country in 1980 to be able to work. Those people who are calling for Crick’s dismissal would see heaven before that ever happen. LP does not ever admit to any wrong doings. People usually get the government they deserve. In other words: we like it so. God’s punishment will soon come down on us. We have one ticking time bomb in the mountains and the other in the sea that does not care what party you support.
    Ok fellow countrymen, pour all the hate you can generate on me.
    Ivan Young

  8. peter says:

    David I think your memory has let you down.

    David the visa thing was nothing to do with women going to Canada and falsely seeking asylum. If you look back that is what Gonsalves said because he wanted to refute the reason which was published by the Canadians.

    September 7, 2012, Canada closed its embassy in Iran and declared all remaining Iranian diplomats in Canada personae non gratae, ordering them to leave the country within five days. Canada formally listed the Iranian regime as a state sponsor of terrorism under the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act. What has this got to do with this matter? Perhaps something, perhaps nothing, read on.

    September 11th 2012, Canadian government revoked Vincentian visa-free entry into Canada as of midnight. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) revoked due to what CIC has indicated is the unreliability in the authenticity of travel documents. They also said that documents from Saint Vincent were unreliable because criminals could change their names and acquire new passports without their previous name being shown in the new passport. Concerns about human trafficking and fraudulent travel documents also prompted the Canadian government to impose new visitor Vincentian visa requirements.

    Canadian Government Press Release”
    “A key reason why the government has imposed visa requirements on St. Lucia and St. Vincent is unreliable travel documents. In particular, criminals from these countries can legally change their names and acquire new passports. In some instances, people who were removed from Canada as security risks later returned using different passports”.

    What Triggered This Action?
    Saint Vincent and the Grenadines had a batch of passports printed and had been issueing them. Those passports did not have a provision in them for previous names, that is where someone has changed their name and applied for a new passport in the new name. It is an international requirement that all passports carry past as well as present names.

    What was happening?
    The Canadians were deporting Vincentians who had committed criminal acts. Those criminals were returning to SVG, changing their names, getting a new passport without their previous name recorded and returning to Canada. The Canadian immigration discovered what was going on and all hell broke loose.

    In Canada a statement by Steve Phillips Canada SVG Consul General stated “the main reason behind the visa restrictions on Vincentians is immigration fraud, in which certain people come to Canada with passports baring false names, after being deported from Canada.”
    But there was no reference in the Canadian Governments statement about immigration fraud; they only spoke of criminals who were security risks, and unreliable travel documents.

    A woman claiming asylum is neither a criminal or a security risk. What would be a security risk would be for a foreign national granted Vincentian citizenship, changing his name from say ‘Abdul A’bulla’ to say ‘Fred Bloggs’ and then acquiring a Vincentian passport with no reference to his previous name or that he originally came from Iran or one of those nasty states that the Canadians do not allow into Canada, because they may be ISIS or members of Al-Qaeda . That was the security risk that the Canadians were referring to, not poor Vincentian ladies and girls who had been raped, sexually molested and beaten, sometimes with the flat of a cutlass.

    You will also notice that Gonsalves said at the time he was talking with the Candians to resolve the visa situation, it was never resolved, perhaps rightly so.

    • C. ben-David says:

      “St. Vincent & the Grenadines and St. Lucian citizens now [September 2012] require visitor visas to enter Canada.

      Citizenship, Immigration & Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney said an unacceptably high number of claims from the two Eastern Caribbean islands, with about one and a half per cent and three per cent of the islands’ populations making asylum claims in Canada in the last five years, influenced the decision to impose visa requirements” (http://sharenews.com/visitors-to-canada-from-svg-st-lucia-now-need-visas/).

      Peter Binose, nearly all these asylum claims were made by women who stated that thye feared going back home because they would be killed by abusive males.

  9. skeckpalmer says:

    Ben you are way off mark with your dialog on why SVG nationals have to get a visa to travel to Canada. I was there when a trap was set for Nickie to get Vincentian men to marry Chinese women, so they could get Vincentian passports. He passed it with flying colours, because I explained to the Chinese woman that such a thing would be detrimental to Vincentians. I was even offered $10k US to marry a Chinese woman. That offer was made even though I told her I was married. A few weeks’ later nationals from several other Caribbean islands were told they needed visa to enter Canada. The visa problem started during the ULP administration, not the NDP under Mitchell. You could trace it to the friends Ralph cultivated when he took over the government. Kaddafi, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hugo Chavez and several other Middle Eastern leaders were enemies of the US. People from those countries holding Vincentian passports could enter the US via Canada very easily. This is the reason Canada had to come down on SVG nationals to ensure Al-Qaida and the Taliban couldn’t enter the US through Canada.
    It’s very unfortunate that the immigration people didn’t listen to the young woman story. I am sure she can get a sympathetic hearing if this recent issue is placed before them again, with all the ramification and ill-will by the people of the ULP government. The immigration people will realize that the young woman was telling the truth. There was an article in the Toronto Star some years ago about the terrible abuse SVG women had to endure. Hence the large number claiming refugee status. True, some may have falsely claimed refugee status, but this lady had a genuine case that still stands out today. Don’t forget Ralph told the world that women were not abused in SVG. Meanwhile he was accused of rape, which showed that there was some truth to the claims. I wonder if the Parsons lady can put forward the lasts abuse by the SVG government and make a case for compassion.

    • C. ben-David says:

      Your point about phony marriages — something that has been going on for years — simply proves what I was saying.

  10. Canadian says:

    Dear friends in SVG – please know that your fool Crick’s horrendous conduct in his treatment of ‘Kate’ has made front page headlines of one of the largest newspapers in Canada – the Toronto Star. The world is watching, and if he were here in Canada he would be eaten alive on social media and in the press, and then he would be FIRED. What deplorable behaviour from a person in a position of trust!
    Mr. Eldon Crick should watch the tourism numbers decline as a result of such shameful handling of violence against women.
    Please note also, that although this lady did not stay in Canada, it was NOT because her story wasn’t believed – they DID BELIEVE HER. She was not able to stay as a refugee because the immigration board thought that there was adequate state protection in St. Vincent for victims of domestic abuse. Obviously, they were wrong. They had no idea that your government officials were misogynistic dinosaurs.

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