Ding, dong, bell,
Pussy’s in the well.
Who put her in?
Little Johnny Flynn.
Who pulled her out?
Little Tommy Stout.
What a naughty boy was that,
To try to drown poor pussy cat,
Who never did him any harm,
But killed all the mice in the farmer’s barn.
(Popular English language nursery rhyme known and loved by all St. Lucian children)
If the follies and indiscretions of our elected and selected officials were as innocent as this nursery rhyme you wouldn’t be reading this story today, and neither would I have written it. Nevertheless, it was predictable that the events of the past few days, involving a senator and minister of government, Dr. Ubaldus Raymond, would have very quickly drawn lines in the sand of Saint Lucia’s political landscape.
These lines being not mere depressions caused by a stick or other implement, but rather, political paint of yellow and red oozing from the pores of legions of party supporters. The roving battlefield was rum shops, Constitution Park, office corners, minivans, school yards, radio talk shows, news reports, and of course social media.
Thursday January 12th, 2017 was a shocker for me. Not that much fazes me anymore, but the manner in which my senses were jolted is, lets just say, a moment that will live on in infamy, at least for me. A message received via Whatsapp caught me totally by surprise since the sender had not previously warned of the intention or content of that message. I felt violated as I was confronted by a ding dong of angry proportions – Messieur!
“What the f@$#” I exclaimed. I bawled like a cow, I howled at the moon even though there was no moon in the evening sky. How could I ever unsee this, this, this thing? I must place on the record that I have absolutely no proclivity for what I had just seen. I am strictly not that, you know, the ‘D’ thing. Anyway, it was followed by a quick delete action.
Getting back on course, lets deal with the meat of this matter (ugggghhh).
As it has unfolded the allegation is that Dr. Ubaldus Raymond, minister in the Ministry of Finance, was the one in a number of nude photos being disseminated via social media. It was also soon learned that a young woman (18 years old) was arrested and charged for attempting to blackmail the minister.
There have been howls from the obvious places for his resignation or dismissal from government. It must also be noted that Dr. Ubaldus Raymond responded to these allegations by making a statement to the press on Friday January 13, 2017.
Let us all be surgically critical in our observations and questions. Was it really the minister in those photos, and if yes, what caused their digital liaison to deteriorate so quickly? Did the young lady see an opportunity to score it ‘big’ or was she influenced by a third party? As the days roll by this story will unfold in the courts. In the meanwhile lets deal with the bigger discussion which this saga necessitates.
Calls for the resignation of Dr. Ubaldus Raymond, by some of the loudest voices, can be seen as nothing less than hypocritical. The same ethical and moral standards with which these ‘concerned citizens’ demand that he be held up to have failed to apportion the same accountability on those they support. Their salivating and frothing at the mouth, relishing in the possible demise of Ubaldus Raymond is evidence of a dangerously warped sense of thinking.
In January 2005 Lorne Theophilus was arrested after he was accused of raping a female colleague at his law offices on Brazil Street, Castries. At that time Lorne was slated to have been the UWP candidate for Choiseul in the upcoming national elections in Saint Lucia. Unfortunately that never materialized as he was forced to abandon his run for office because of the rape allegations for which he was arrested and even denied bail (Attorney General of Saint Lucia v. Lorne Theophilus) which he appealed and won. The SLP was adamant that he was not fit to run for public office. Almost six years later Lorne Theophilus broke ranks with the UWP and was embraced by the SLP, then ran and won, that same Choiseul seat in the elections of 2011, going on to become Minister of Tourism.
Previous to that, in the mid 1990s Claudius Francis had allegations of rape made against him for which he was arrested and charged. These were denied and Claudius continued his long association with the SLP to eventually be appointed President of the Senate in 2012. In fact in 2016, Claudius found it necessary to address, again, these allegations which continued to hound him as President of the Senate and state that the woman in question has recanted her story and agreed to pay a judgement allocation to the Marian Home.
The defining point here is that it was found immaterial, by the SLP, that these two men who had charges brought against them for alleged rape were still fit for the highest offices in the land. It must be stressed that there was never any conviction in those two cases.
Puzzling is that Dr. Ubaldus Raymond, having committed no crime, facing no charges, should be asked to resign from office as a result of allegations that his ding dong is the one in photos being circulated online. Why should not the same ‘reasonable doubt’ accorded to Lorne Theophilus and Claudius Francis be likewise extended to Dr. Ubaldus Raymond?
This situation is nothing new or exceptional as it has only morphed with the times and the Internet age. Skype, Whatsapp, Viber, Facetime, IMO, and more, are just a modern manifestation of phone sex. If you think your parents didn’t know of these worldly indiscretions ask Jim Reeves when he asked a woman friend who was with another love to “put her sweet lips a little closer to the phone.”.
The moral and ethical arguments are separate from the pervasive reality of the attitudinal norms in Saint Lucia. Tremendous precedent has been established, albeit skewed, in Saint Lucia’s politics and life.
And now to the young lady in question to whom so many are attributing innocence and immaturity. She certainly seems beyond her 18 years to understand the liaison, if any, which existed between her and a government minister. She was so astute that her alleged blackmail resulted from an awareness that a married man could be inclined, even coerced, to pay hush money for his indiscretions. Little Miss Innocent sure seems hardened beyond her tender years and even baby face. What could have caused it all to have gone so horribly wrong?
This brouhaha comes on the heels of the national alarm and debate on child molestation and rape, physical abuse and incest, which has continued in Saint Lucia longer than every single one of us has been alive. It is a problem which has plagued other islands in our region. You think the people in that island, over there, don’t know that the Honeymooner is a dirty old man? Yet they continue to re-elect him.
The fact is that any moral high ground is lost when you are selective in your condemnation. When you are unashamedly and blatantly biased with your outrage and indignation. When that guy, you know who I’m talking about, can be accused, ad nauseum, of being a drug dealer without one single shred of evidence being presented against him, save for the promise of “coming out with the evidence when we are ready” (wink wink).
When will we have definitive ethics for our elected and selected representatives? When will they receive real world orientation and be taught that once political high office is obtained there are those who will attempt to influence their every decision and action, by any means necessary. They will be under scrutiny anywhere they travel in the world, certain that their every communication will be intercepted in order to exploit their weaknesses. When will they wake up to the real world and realize that women, and men, will be set as traps for them. Anything will be done to gain the advantage nowadays, even in third world countries and by your own homegrown opponents.
Our elected officials must also be aware that the citizens, from the young to the old look up to, and at them. Their actions, whether official or private, will have an effect or influence on someone watching. Actions and utterances are before the national audience, and most likely recorded, especially nowadays, forever.
We have had a culture of administrations complicit in the coverup and the resultant tacit acceptance of those among them of ill repute, and the supporters who blindly and unashamedly look the other way in order to safeguard their party.
The ranks of the SLP and UWP are replete with abusers, philanderers, flashers, lovers of underage girls and boys, and macoes extraordinaire.
We have had a $10,000 bom cheque paid out by Count Snackula (do your research) and cashed out at Royal Bank across Laborie Street. We have had dalliances with foreign diplomats right there at foreign affairs while at La Toc hotel. Late night banana action at Mahaut (or was that macaboo action). Although all that has been discussed is a human condition, and as a result of our frailty, there still must be standards set; without them our society and country will descend into the depths of rancor and corruption.
Now lets have this national discussion!