The diplomat who was recalled following a report that he split his wife’s lips open with a punch to the mouth was “set up”, a spokesperson for the ruling Unity Labour Party has said.
Frank Da Silva made the claim on radio on Thursday during his weekly appearance on Shake-Up, the pro-ULP programme broadcast simultaneously on WE FM, Star FM, and Garifuna FM.
Da Silva defended his one-time political nemesis, Sehon Marshall, a counsellor at the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Permanent Mission to the United Nations.
At the same time, he cast aspersions on Marshall’s wife, Xandra Marshall, the nation’s Deputy Consul General in New York, who called police after her husband reportedly struck her during a row at their New York apartment.
“Folks, I ain’t telling you all everything I know but if I am telling you that this thing here, this whole thing with Sehon Marshall is a set up, trust me, it is a set up. You know,” Da Silva said.
His comments came during an exchange with his co-host, Elson Crick — a former journalist now communications consultant in the Office of the Prime Minister — who was “puzzled” by how the New York Post, which first reported on the incident, was able to get background information about Marshall’s previous faux pas, although the information is widely available on the internet.
As part of its reporting, the New York Post noted that in August 2014 — while he was being considered for his first diplomatic post — Marshall had spoken disparagingly about Vincentians who he said “quit their jobs and migrate to the United States to become nannies and dog walkers”.
The issue was widely reported in local and international media, and the New York post quoted a CANA News report on the matter.
“Tell me something: this thing began at 1:14 a.m. Police came. Post report at 2:41 – you notice I ain’t missing anything — p.m. The Post went and found this? The Post went and they found this stuff here about him in 2014?” Da Silva asked.
Crick commented: “That’s great work. But why is that important in the story?”
“Because this whole thing is a set up. Somebody knew that this thing was gonna happen. That this incident was gonna happen,” Frank said but did not indicate who knew that Sehon and his wife would have a row or how they were able to know this.
“Folks, I ain’t telling you all everything I know but if I am telling you that this thing here, this whole thing with Sehon Marshall is a set up. Trust me, it is a set up. You know.”
Da Silva went on to read what he said was a WhatsApp comment sent to him by a woman about the incident.
“She just know is America, once you call the police, he would get in trouble,” DaSilva quoted the woman as saying.
“Honestly, I really don’t like up his head but I believe she took advantage of the situation,” Da Silva further quoted the woman as saying.
He added: “This is a woman writing this to me, you know.”
“I am strongly against a man hitting a woman and I am strongly against a woman hitting a man, too,” he further quoted the woman as saying.
He said the woman had said in the WhatsApp conversation that she had listened to a co-worker reading the story and when she got to the part where the story said Mrs. Marshall refused medical attention after the summoning the police, the woman listening to the story told her co-worker, “If she know she is right, she would have gladly consented.”
“That’s a woman sending this to me,” Da Silva said, adding that he responded to the woman saying, “That, my dear, is what happens when some people get special rights. The rights of others are diminished. Justice is no longer blind.”
Da Silva chastised those who he said “want to carry on and rejoice and talk stupidness (nonsense)…
“Somebody needs to get me a record that the fella is in the habit of doing this and people making some phony, baloney comparison.”
Da Silva said people could always play the tape in which Mr. Marshall had said while he was a talk radio host on Star FM that Da Silva, makes things up.
“Justice is justice and I don’t care,” Da Silva said.
“I know what goes on in America and I read the story, and, based on what I know, in addition to what I ain’t telling alyo, I’m gonna stick up for him. Period. I don’t care what he ever said about me before it is not of no consequence. None…
“Folks, you listen to all of that. I don’t think we have to talk anything about that Sehon thing anymore. Let who want to talk and talk stupidness about Sehon, let them talk it. You know, it’s just unfair, really, that’s what it is.”
He said he had received another WhatsApp message in which the person was discussing “the set up”.
“Fella fighting for yo’ to get a job, the ink ain’t sign on the bottom of the thing yet, it ain’t sign yet, but yo’ feel yo’ no longer need him so yo’ could start a war and they could throw him out and you will remain. Is that yo’ want? Yo’ go outsmarted if that’s what you’re about,” DaSilva said.
On Nov. 15, Mrs Marshall took up office as Deputy Consul General in New York and Consul General Howie Prince introduced her as such at a town hall meeting at which Minister of Tourism, Cecil “Ces” McKie and head of the Tourism Authority, Glen Beache spoke.
However, since the domestic violence incident, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has said that while Mrs. Marshall began working on Nov. 15, she and the government were yet to sign a contract.
In addition to recalling Mr. Marshall, the government has instructed both he and his wife not to report for work, until further notice.