As the references to Barabbas — who the Jews chose over Jesus Christ — continues in the political arena in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace has noted that the murderer was never accused of rape.
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said two weeks ago that his Unity Labour Party should be assured of a fourth consecutive term in office, but he is mindful of what happened when the Jews had to choose between Jesus Christ and Barabbas.
Speaking in Parliament last week, Eustace said he took Gonsalves’ reference to Barabbas as meaning him (Eustace) and the New Democratic Party.
Eustace was speaking during the debate on the Domestic Violence Bill that legislators passed last week Thursday.
“I don’t believe any of us can be happy with the state of affairs. We shouldn’t be happy and we can’t be happy and sometimes all sorts of statements are made in political campaigns and in the media and so on about different things. And we take it as part of the course,” Eustace said as he quoted the nation’s rape statistics.
“Some of it can be very damaging and give the wrong impressions to our people,” he said of some of the pronouncements on the campaign trail.
“I hear a lot of talk now about Barabbas and Jesus and the Easter week. And I listen to the comments, some made by the Prime Minister himself, and I assume from his comments that Barabbas is the NDP and me.
“Let me say this: Barabbas may have been freed, but Barabbas, I haven’t heard any statement about him being accused of rape, I haven’t heard any statement of any nolle prosquing of anything in that area, and that thing must stop,” he said.
Eustace statement was an apparent reference to the rape allegation against Gonsalves by a female member of his security detail some years.
The Director of Public Prosecutions discontinued the case for a lack of evidence, and higher courts upheld that decision.
“We are in a civilised society, a people who are confident in terms of our belief in God. I know we sin, but we have to live here; all of us have to live here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, with due respect to one another and to Almighty God. That’s the reality. That is what we should be doing, despite our general and individual shortcomings … We should be remembering regularly, now that we have more and more information coming out on sexual violence, … those women, who, on a daily basis in this country are striving to stay afloat,” Eustace said.
“So, they don’t have the need, because of financial circumstances, to give up their children, sell them in another way. We can’t afford that in a small developing country like ours. We’ve got to do better in this area; much, much better in this area,” Eustace told lawmakers.
He said what the nations should be doing is what was actually taking place in Parliament at the time: passing legislation to deal with sex crimes.
Gonsalves said this week that he was using language in its richness when he used the Barabbas analogy.