BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Friday February 23, 2018 – Being miles away from home last night did not prevent St Vincent and the Grenadines’ Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves from the backlash of a controversy involving his son.
His handling of a situation in which a former model, Yugge Farrell, is claiming to have had an affair with his married son, Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves, prompted a small group of placard-bearing protesters – including a University of the West Indies (UWI) lecturer – to disrupt a public lecture he was delivering at the Cave Hill Campus.
The Prime Minister has told his son not to speak on the allegation of the extramarital affair, which came to light after Farrell was charged last month with using abusive language to his son’s wife. The 22-year-old was remanded to the Mental Health Centre for observation when she appeared in court on the charge, but has since been released on bail until her next court appearance in December.
Many across the Caribbean have used social media and other outlets to criticize Gonsalves for alleged misuse of power and abuse of women over the years.
And last night, lecturer in Political Science and International Relations at the Cave Hill Campus Dr Kristina Hinds; Public Relations Officer of the National Organization of Women (NOW) Marsha Hinds; and Luci Hammans, of the Life in Leggings movement, made sure their voices were heard as they chanted “justice for Farrell” and “justice for all” as Gonsalves delivered a lecture on ‘Helping Hands or Damaging Lands?: The effects of international relief on CARICOM small island developing states’.
“We are in solidarity with our sisters across the region,” they chanted as they waved their placards.
The trio also demanded “an end to nepotism”.
“We do not like the abuse of power. We will not show deference to politicians or prime ministers, because we are in solidarity with our sisters across the region because women’s lives matter too,” declared Hinds.
However, their demonstration lasted just about 10 minutes before security officers and police escorted them from the room.
During the short-lived protest, the women declined an invitation from Prime Minister Gonsalves to discuss their concerns at a more “appropriate time”. Despite the rejection, the Vincentian leader said his offer still stands.