Justice for Yugge Farell of St. Vincent and the Grenadines
By Gabrielle Jamela Hosein
Gabrielle Jamela Hosein is a feminist, activist, poet and lecturer at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago. She also writes a weekly column, Diary of a Mothering Worker, in the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian…
There are some ways of wielding power that should end a political dynasty, for they are so cynical, manipulative and unethical that collective disgust should rise up with toppling momentum. The injustice experienced by 23-year-old Yugge Farrell in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a blatant example of such advantageousness in our midst, and we should not let it occur without consequences.
Yugge was charged for using abusive language to Karen Duncan-Gonsalves, wife of Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves, Senior Crown Counsel in the Attorney General’s office and daughter-in-law of Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. After Yugge pleaded not guilty, the prosecutor requested that she be sent to a psychiatric facility for evaluation. She spent three weeks in a mental health centre, before being granted EC$1,000 bail. On Monday Jan. 29 when she appeared before the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court, she was granted bail with the matter adjourned to Dec. 17, 2018. Barbadian Queen’s Counsel Andrew Pilgrim has joined her legal team.
Statements issued by Leave out Violence in SVG (LOVNSVG), a petition that is continuing to be signed by hundreds across the region, and a collective statement created by Womantra in Trinidad and Tobago all point to misuse of political power, questionable judicial process and integrity, and human rights violation in this situation.
Shockingly, Prime Minister and Minister of Legal Affairs Ralph Gonsalves, despite his clear conflict of interest in protecting his political heir, has been brazenly commenting on the case in the media. On Jan. 22, SVG’s iWitness News described him as arguing that “a magistrate can decide to commit someone to the psychiatric hospital based on information that the prosecutor gives the magistrate outside of the court proceedings and which is not disclosed to either the defendant or to their lawyer”.
As LOVNSVG, a group which focuses on gender-based violence and violence against women has put it, “Yugge’s story highlights the subjection of the poor and those on the margins to the whims and fancies of the political elite and ruling class”.
If the region had not been horrified and acted in solidarity, Yugge’s experience and confinement may have passed with impunity. Now that Yugge has been released on bail, her defence, protection and wellness are priorities. Additionally, as Womantra put it, we are “closely watching the further conduct of this case and stand ready to speak out against the slightest hint of malfeasance by any agent of the state”.
Below is the regional statement expressing solidarity with Yugge Farrell, calling for a formal investigation into the decision to detain and medicate Yugge Farrell, an immediate review of the Mental Health Act in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and public resistance to such state persecution to silence truth. It has been signed by 240 persons to date, including many who have named their organisations, which are listed below and represent an important cross-section of advocacy and activist groups across the Caribbean. The petition will be hosted by Code Red for Gender Justice at https://redforgender.wordpress.com/ where we will be accepting signatures (you can enter your name, location and organization) until justice is served for Yugge Farrell.
Regional Statement Expressing Solidarity with Yugge Farrell:
We the undersigned, condemn in the strongest possible terms, the persecution and mistreatment of Ms. Yugge Farrell by the legal, medical, and political authorities of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We are in full solidarity with Ms Farrell and those Vincentians who stand with her.
Ms Farrell was arrested on Jan. 4, 2018 and charged with the use of abusive language to Karen Duncan- Gonsalves, the wife of Finance Minister Camillo Gonsalves and daughter-in-law of Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. After pleading not guilty, an application was made by the prosecutor for Ms Farrell to be confined to the Mental Health Centre for two weeks for psychiatric evaluation, as allowed under the nation’s Mental Health Act. However, according to a statement issued by the St. Vincent and Grenadines Human Rights Association (SVG HRA) — an independent civil society organisation — there was no apparent supporting evidence or behaviour by Ms Farrell which warranted the prosecutor and magistrate seeking and deciding to commit Ms Farrell to the Mental Health Centre. Furthermore, it appears that medication was administered to Ms Farrell although the Mental Health Act only speaks to observation and evaluation of persons and does not include any mechanism to oversee involuntary admission and treatment practices. Also problematic is the fact that the Mental Health Centre does not currently have trained psychiatrists or psychologists on staff. After the initial observation period passed, Ms Farrell was detained for a third week and only released on bail on Jan. 29, 2018.
The mistreatment of Yugge Farrell raises several serious concerns about the probable abuse of the existing Mental Health Act of St Vincent and the Grenadines. We ask, is commitment to a mental institution for use of insulting language a regular occurrence in SVG? We join the SVG HRA in questioning the validity of the observation report and treatment administered to Ms Farrell. We note the alleged romantic relationship that Ms Farrell has publicly claimed with Finance Minister Camillo Gonsalves and caution those who rush to dismiss this incident as simply a matter of “love gone bad” to reflect on the fact that state entities can easily use the excuse of mental instability to vilify, discredit, and institutionalise any critic or person(s) deemed a threat or embarrassment to the established political order.
As human rights defenders, feminists, and persons who care about well-being and justice in the Caribbean and beyond, we condemn the actions of the judicial and medical authorities of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and their violation of the rights of Ms Yugge Farrell. We deplore the misuse of mental health policies to oppress individuals and advance goals other than the safeguarding of wellness. Now that Ms Farrell’s detention in the Mental Health Centre has ended, we support calls for an investigation into the decision to detain and medicate her. We support her family members and demand independent medical and psychiatric care for her. We stand with the St. Vincent Human Rights Association who urges an immediate review and modification of the existing Mental Health Act so that it becomes compliant with international norms and standards to prevent abuses and protect human rights. Finally, we remind the government and authorities of St. Vincent and the Grenadines of their commitment to ensure their citizens’ right to free speech and protection from state persecution. The eyes of the world are watching you.
There must be no more violations of the rights of Yugge Farrell or any other Vincentian. Amend the Mental Health Act of St. Vincent and the Grenadines now.
List of organisations named in the statement so far:
- ARC Magazine, St. Vincent and the Grenadines
- CAFRA, Bahamas
- CAFRA, Trinidad & Tobago
- CAISO, Trinidad and Tobago
- Central Beat Magazine, Trinidad & Tobago
- Conscious Exchange, Barbados
- ECADE, Eastern Caribbean
- Equality Bahamas
- Firecircle! Trinidad and Tobago
- Foundation for Human Development, Suriname
- Foundation Women’s Rights Center, Suriname
- Girls of a Feather, St. Lucia
- Grassroots Women Across Race, Guyana
- Help and Shelter, Guyana
- Hollaback! The Bahamas
- International Women’s Resource Network, Trinidad & Tobago
- Jamaica Community of Positive Women
- Jamaica Household Workers Union
- Jasmine Renee Whitney (JRW) Foundation, Trinidad and Tobago
- Leave out Violence in St. Vincent and the Grenadines
- Let the Women Speak, Guyana
- NOW, Barbados
- PROJECKTA Citizens’ Initiative for Participation and Good Governance, Suriname
- Rainbow House, Guyana
- Raise your Voice, St. Lucia
- Red Thread, Guyana
- Rights Bahamas
- SASOD, Guyana
- Stichting Ultimate Purpose, Suriname
- 2 Cents Movement, Trinidad & Tobago
- The Women Speak Project, Trinidad & Tobago
- Video for Change, Jamaica
- WE-Change, Jamaica
- Womantra, Trinidad & Tobago
- Women’s Wednesdays, Guyana
The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected]
The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].
How many government portfolios does Mr Gonsalves hold?
which one baddy daddy or baddy diddy?
Every portfolio they each hold carries an extra salary and living and entertainment expenses, so more means more.
I agree with most of this except the declaration that there is some sort of entrenched political dynasty in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
There is no such thing.
Camillo Gonsalves was duly elected by his constituents to represent them in the House of Assembly. He was appointed by the Prime Minister as Minister of Finance, as was his constitutional right to do.
Camillo Gonsalves may someday be elected as party leader, after which time he may become Prime Minister.
Only then could we talk about a political dynasty.
Mr David you are actually an argumentative person and when you write such rubbish I am sure its only because you relish an argument. I am convinced you simply love to be disliked and are in fact a narcissist. No I am not calling you a flower, I am talking of the personality disorder. You are drenched in arrogance; smugness, and smarm. Lovingly talking endlessly about yourself and the love to list all your self awarded achievements, like the listing of all your essays wherever and whenever you can. There are obviously other mental problems at work for you to be falsely using the name of a famous Jewish professor, whilst announcing you are a retired professor and a holder of a PhD degree. Neither of which mean a thing unless you use your real name and prove such offices and degree. So unless you are someone real as a writer you cannot be a professor or a PhD scholar, you are quite simply a nothing, a nobody. Real people do not hide they are proud of their achievements. If you look at people like Patrick Ferrari he is who he is, no pretense and not a hint of cowardice. That is a real man with nothing to hide and everything to give. There are very few like him in Saint Vincent, and you most certainly are not one of them.
With regards the Gonsalves/Francis creeping dynasty and current nepotism. It quite simply cannot be right for any government appointing authority to appoint a clan member or family or dynasty relative to the fourth degree of affinity or consanguinity.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines ministries and government offices are packed with Gonsalves and Franciss. You have Julian who is a permanent senator, and all sorts of others of that ilk strewn through the ministries and planning departments. Camillo has taken precedence over all others to become second in line to the prime minister as minister of finance, a position traditionally held throughout the Caribbean by prime ministers. Camillos wife has been appointed to a top job with top money. The whole tribe is woven into government ministries and departments. I suppose we can describe that as nepotism in the purest sense.
One thing in common between nepotism and political dynasty is that both seek to continue in power for ever.
If nepotism is defined as an act of tending to collect concentrate and perpetuate powers in the Gonsalves/Francis clan concerned, so it is politically also a dynasty.
The only difference between nepotism and political dynasty is in the manner of getting the office: in Nepotism it is through appointment while in Political Dynasty it is through being planted by another dynasty member.
In our country, there is no such a thing as a genuine election.
This is because of the fact that the majority of the voters have no genuine free choice and free will to choose.
This lack of genuine freedom to vote is due to the fact that majority of the voters are either easily bought in local elections where it is already a tradition that only those who can buy votes can win or easily swayed when there is a sustained expensive national campaign advertisements that only those national candidates who have plenty of money can mount and maintain. Election fraud is a serious problem in SVG.
The dynasty has been created, all we need to see now is if it can flower and continue. Mr David thinks that we must wait and see if Camillo becomes the head of the ULP party and is appointed prime minister before we can call it a dynasty. But that will only seal the fact that a dynasty has already been created and the blooms have develop into the poison berry.
Remember the eyes of the world is watching you SVG wake up and take a stand against injustices in SVG before it’s to late, it could be your sister or brother next .
Madam feminist , there are two females involve in the case .One is the abuser Ms. Yugge Farrell , who used abusive language to the other female Mrs. Karen Duncan Gonsalves who became the abused . Mrs.. Karen Duncan Gonsalves was also the victim of Yugge’s claimed of having an affair with Mrs Gonsalves husband.
Extra-marital affair between a male an a female is morally wrong. Using abusive language to male or female in public place that is likely to caused a breach of the peace is a criminal offence in St .Vincent and the Grenadines.
Why is Yugge farrell glorified for abusing another female in public and having an affair with the woman’s husband without condemnation from you and your so called concerned feminist and human rights organisations , that speaks to hypocrisy, a lack of decency and low morals .
Just in case you have not read Ms Paula David article in The Searchlight News paper of January 30 2018 , please do. I also hope they send you all of Yugge’s emails, and videos since December 2016 as well. Please ask for the charge as was read to Ms farrell in the court , on January 4 2018 .I really hope they do, not only articles from Iwitness news .
Ms. David’s letter was premised on the erroneous assumption that Ms. Farrell displayed behaviour in her first court appearance that lead the magistrate to believe that she needed to be observed for two weeks at the mental hospital.
There was no indication by eye witnesses at her first court appearance that she appeared anything other than sane. Nor was there was there a shred of evidence presented to the court to warrant her removal to the mental hospital.
Ms. David’s letter was premised on the false assertion that she was examined and diagnosed by persons with internationally recognized psychiatric credentials.
Indeed, Prime Minister Gonsalves clearly stated that the Magistrate must have been privy to information that prejudged her condition — an egregious assault on Ms. Farrell’s constitutional right to a free, fair, and unbaised trial — and used this information to have her incarcerated at the mental home.
One of the commonest reasons for people to have depression and anxiety is being ignored by someone important in their lives such as an ex-lover who turns off all communication having dumped them following a long term relationship with many promises unfulfilled.
Yuggie said she was the one that did the ” dumping” and broke off all communication. It’s a sad situation, but I notice that information that is not suited to people’s cuse is ignored. Sad. How can so much people claim to care about women be so abusive to woman and support it. Every female that is involved in the Farrell issue was sickenly abused. Sad. One question though, was Farrell raped or was it a mutual agreement?
Dear untte have you ever heared of constructive dismissal in employment whereby a person gives up a job because his/her employment was made unworkable by the employer? So in law the employee can claim constructive dismissal because if the employer did not behave unreasonably he/her would have remained in that employment.
Well perhaps this was constructive dumping by the introduction of a new game rule such as threesomes.
Whichever way the worm wriggles this girl was the bait that landed what she thought was a big fish that would remain on her dish. Apparantly the fish remained on the plate for about 3 years before it started to smell. Then it turned out the fish was part of a whole shoal of dynistacal fishies that turned out to be piranhars.
Sounds crazy I know, perhaps we should secretly submit it to the magistrate.
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