Viewing cable 08BRIDGETOWN78
Title: ST. VINCENT: RAPE CHARGES AGAINST PM GONSALVES

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
08BRIDGETOWN782008-02-06 20:38:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Bridgetown
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DE RUEHWN #0078/01 0372038
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 062038Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY BRIDGETOWN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6055
INFO RUCNCOM/EC CARICOM COLLECTIVE
RUMIAAA/HQ USSOUTHCOM J5 MIAMI FL
RUMIAAA/HQ USSOUTHCOM J2 MIAMI FL
C O N F I D E N T I A L BRIDGETOWN 000078 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
WHA/CAR FOR ALAIN NORMAN 
SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD 
DRL FOR GREG MAGGIO 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/06/2018 
TAGS: KCRM PGOV INRB PHUM PREL XL VC
SUBJECT: ST. VINCENT: RAPE CHARGES AGAINST PM GONSALVES 
DISMISSED 
 
REF: 08 BRIDGETOWN 58 
 
Classified By: DCM O.P. Garza for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
¶1. (U) This cable is an action request; please see Para 8. 
 
¶2. (C) On February 4, 2008 the Director of Public 
Prosecutions (DPP) in St. Vincent and the Grenadines 
"discontinued" the criminal rape case filed against St. 
Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. 
The case was earlier made public by the Prime Minister 
himself, who made statements denying the charges, and 
identifying the accuser by name.  The accuser's lawyer 
expressed deep disappointment at the DPP's decision, and 
renewed her request for Embassy assistance, this time asking 
for help in the safeguarding and testing of evidence.  End 
Summary. 
 
PM Goes Public 
-------------- 
 
¶3. (C) Nicole Sylvester, the President of the St. Vincent and 
the Grenadines Human Rights Association (SVGHRA), told PolOff 
she filed a private criminal prosecution for the counts of 
rape and indecent assault on her client's behalf on January 
31, 2008 (reftel).  Within hours of filing the case, the 
Prime Minister's office issued a press release denying all 
charges and labeling the accusation as politically motivated. 
 The Prime Minister's press release identified the accuser by 
name, even though Sylvester had filed the charges privately 
in an attempt to protect her client's identity, and claimed 
that she had not released any information to the media.  The 
accuser (a police officer) was subsequently transferred out 
of the Special Services Unit (SSU) and is currently on sick 
leave. 
 
End of the Saga? 
---------------- 
 
¶4. (U) Following a week of media hype and public speculation, 
the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Colin Williams 
(also an important Embassy contact), announced on February 
4th that he had taken over the case and determined that it 
should be "discontinued".  He cited the accuser's failure to 
provide a written statement to police, multiple 
inconsistencies in her oral statements and statements by 
witnesses, and the lack of forensic evidence, as leading to 
his decision. 
 
¶5. (C) In a private phone conversation with PolOff, Williams 
elaborated that in addition to the contradictions in the 
accuser's oral statements, she did not actually allege rape 
until twenty days after the alleged incident on January 3rd. 
In addition, Williams noted that the accuser is known to have 
made allegations against supervisors in two previous jobs 
(with Immigration both in St. Vincent and on Union island), 
which were both deemed to lack substance. 
 
¶6. (C) The police officer's lawyer, Nicole Sylvester, told 
PolOff via TelCon that she is considering requesting 
"judicial review" of the DPP's decision, which means a 
magistrate would review the DPP's actions in the case and 
decide if he erred and the case should continue.  According 
to Sylvester, the Chief Magistrate in the case, Simone Young, 
intimated to her that she too was the subject of intimidation 
and "pressure," and confided in Sylvester, "I may lose my 
job" (if she rules the case be continued).  Sylvester further 
claimed that the DPP refused to grant her access to the 
witness statements, and only asked for a written statement 
from the accuser after the charges had already been filed. 
While Ms. Sylvester stated she enjoys a good working 
relationship with the DPP, she speculated that he was under 
enormous pressure from high-level officials to take over and 
dismiss the case. 
 
Evidence Withheld 
----------------- 
 
¶7. (C) In the original telephone conversation with PolOff on 
January 31st (reftel), Sylvester mentioned that the police 
had demanded her client turn in the uniform she was wearing 
at the time of the alleged incident, but that she had 
intentionally handed over the wrong uniform to police. 
Sylvester told PolOff on February 5th that she still has the 
uniform in question, which presumably contains forensic 
evidence that would support her client's claim of rape. 
 
Sylvester reiterated that both she and her client do not 
believe that the evidence can be trusted with SVG 
authorities, and asked for USG assistance in transporting the 
evidence out of the country and in having it tested (Note: To 
do so would break the "chain of custody" and it is unlikely 
that any independent laboratory would be willing to test the 
samples.  End note.) 
 
¶8. (C) COMMENT AND ACTION REQUEST:  Considering that the 
accuser has refused to provide a written statement and has 
even withheld critical evidence, the DPP's decision appears 
fair and reasonable.  The Prime Minister's decision to 
release the name of the alleged victim/accuser raises 
additional concerns, and shows the general lack of 
sensitivity surrounding victim's rights in rape cases in the 
region.  Given Post's experience with law enforcement 
officials in SVG, it is difficult to determine whether 
Sylvester's concerns of the possible evidence-tampering are 
valid or not.  Post seeks Department guidance on this latest 
request for Embassy assistance, and also talking points in 
the event that the requests being made for Embassy assistance 
become public.  END COMMENT AND ACTION REQUEST. 
OURISMAN