The lawyer for Cornelius John, 60, man who was shot at his home in Diamond on April 13, allegedly in the presence of government senator Ashelle Morgan and Assistant Director of Public Prosecution, Karim Nelson, is giving the prime minister the same advice he gave to the public last week.
Kay Bacchus-Baptiste said on NICE Radio on Monday that she thinks that Ralph Gonsalves, who is also minister of national security and legal affairs should keep his mouth shut on the matter.
“When you factor in the fact that it is the prime minister speaking, a lawyer, and he is accustomed [to] communicating with people, and you will tell me he communicated so poorly that all these persons got it wrong,” Bacchus-Baptiste said.
She was referring to comments that Gonsalves made on NBC Radio last Tuesday, April 30, which a number of media outlets, commentators and members of the public interpreted as a defence of the persons allegedly involved in the shooting.
However, what Gonsalves actually said was that that would have been the defence that the main opposition New Democratic Party would have said had some of its senior members been involved in the shooting.
“… I really think he should just shut his mouth because every time he opens his mouth, he makes it worse for his cause, whatever his cause is in this matter.”
She said that the effects of the prime minister’s comments are the same during the Yugge Farrell scandal, when a former model alleged that she had been involved in an intimate relationship with the prime minister’s son, Finance Minister and East St. George MP, Camillo Gonsalves.
The younger Gonsalves has denied the allegation, which Farrell made after she was charged with calling his wife, Karen Duncan-Gonsalves, a “dirty b*tch” in February 2018.
“I remember making the statement [a] long time ago with the Yugge matter when he started talking about going and whisper in the magistrate’s ear and what the magistrate should do.
“Every time he opened his mouth, he made it worse and I don’t know why he keeps opening his mouth and speaking, because I don’t know if he thinks that he can bamboozle people, frighten them into shutting up or whatever it is.
“But I just advise that the prime minister should just stop talking on this matter except it is to say pending the investigation, he is going to ask the senator to step aside. He should just say nothing else and let justice [take its course].”
Bacchus-Baptiste also accused Commissioner of Police Colin John of being partisan, in light of a comment that he made to iWitness News last Wednesday, when he confirmed that Morgan and John are “persons of interest” in the investigation into the shooting.
iWitness News asked the police chief what he would say to persons who might express concern about whether the police would investigate the matter thoroughly in light of the fact that senior public officials are involved.
“Well, I can’t account for what people say. I know what police do. We usually investigate matters fairly. So most of the persons who are expressing an opinion, from what I heard, they have political motives. So it is not that I expect anything different from them,” John said.
On Monday, Bacchus-Baptiste commented:
“I read Kenton’s reported interview of the commissioner of police and what he had to say about comments made widely and largely by a lot of members of this community was quite astonishing.
“The commissioner of police dismissed the call for justice by saying that most of the people speaking, he know them, and he know it is politics and so he don’t expect anything better.
“Now, how dare a commissioner of police go on record saying that? It shows that he has no respect for the people, he has no respect for the other policemen under him — because he speaks as head of all policemen — and he is telling the public quite clearly that he don’t care what anybody in the public, who he is supposed to be protecting and serving, has to say if he thinks that they are political. In other words, that they are NDP and they don’t support the ULP.”
She said this is the clear meaning of what John was saying.
“And it is alarming that this is where our country is going and I do not know why up to now, why some serious action has not been taken in terms of striking, where you have the police, the prime minister, some ministers of government feeling that they can do and say whatever they like,” Bacchus-Baptiste said.
In his comments on radio last week, the prime minister said that Morgan had called him after the incident.
“And what I have read in the newspapers and heard persons talk about, without going into any details, that from what I was told, people just keep their mouths shut a bit,” said Gonsalves, who also said he hoped that people commenting on the matter “don’t run into problems with the law of defamation”.
The prime minister said:
“Just keep your mouth shut a bit and don’t believe and accept as fact some of the more outlandish things that you have heard in relation to Senator Morgan. I just want to say this politics is a hell of a thing, partisan politics is a hell of a thing.”
Last week, Bacchus-Baptiste said that rather than shutting up, every Vincentian should speak out on the shooting incident.