An uncharacteristic on-air outburst reverberated around radio audiences on Thursday and it is currently making its way around social media.
New Democratic Party’s talk show host, Clemroy Bert Francois was at the time conducting the day’s business live on BDS NICE Radio.
The details coming to ANN are that a presentation made by Member of Parliament for North Leeward Roland ‘Patel’ Matthews at a recent village level political rally was being rebroadcast during the Party’s on-air ‘New Times’ program as is customary, according the NDP public relations officer Laverne King.
The presentation, in part, was in itself a rebroadcast of what appears to be an audio recording of Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves. Part of the audio recording that was sent by WhatsApp to the ANN desk shares what sounds like the Prime Minister claiming, “I just have to go another the mango tree in South Leeward, in North Leeward and East St George and just pick grafted mango – East Kingstown sorry – and just suck.”
At this point the speaker we believe to be the North Leeward MP begins an address in earnest. “Hold up,” he said, “Now, now great people listen this eh, he ah go under the mango tree to pick grafted mango and suck. Now, I know that Ralph is a sucker and he just say so right? Ralph say he ah sucker, so that nuh he ah talk deh? But I want to tell him anuh – now _you know when the tape did come out with a certain police officer when she say he bin soft.
Now hear me now, and I want to tell Ralph anuh … if Ralph want suck and mek sure he suck good you know. Because I know that the people of North Leeward – well I don’t think he’s involved in that so he can’t be talking about the men – so I know the women of my constituency will not allow such a despicable individual to even attempt at doing what he said he wants to do.
“Now this man is so damn fresh, this man is fresh and outta place. I want the young women especially of North Leeward to send a message to Ralph Gonsalves and tell him he could suck all he want but he nar suck nobody down yah!”
That first recording concludes with more exhortations of the same. “Now, my dear young people this is seriousness, this is how Ralph look at we the people. Young ladies, young men this is how the Prime Minister look at we the people of North Leeward, South Leeward and East Kingstown, he go come go suck. Doltish! And in order for us to prevent any sucking here we have to get rid ah he. We must get rid of him!”
The second recording took us back to the BDS NICE Radio broadcasting studio where Bert Francois was providing some context for the rebroadcast. It is at this point that Douglas Defrietas, himself a radio personality and owner of the station, apparently stormed into the live broadcast.
“Put me on the air man because I’m really upset with what you’re playing on the radio.
I’m really upset that that could play. Pu
I’m really upset that that could play. Put it on the air. “I’m really upset, Defreitas could be heard to say. Francois responds ” yeah but Dougie there’s a correct way to do thing but you can’t just waltz in like that and say put you on the air.” To which Defreitas rejoined, “don’t tell me there’s a correct way because you should know better Bert, you should know better than that!
That should not be on the air!” The live microphones were cut and the ensuing discussion relegated to off-air confines.
Francois responds ” yeah but Dougie there’s a correct way to do thing but you can’t just waltz in like that and say put you on the air.”
ANN reached out to a few of the parties concerned to follow up on this new development. Defreitas opted to “not deal with that in a public space” while Bert Francois deferred us to his Party’s machinery for comments since, according to him, he was en route to a meeting.
He did take the opportunity, however, to say “I’ve always operated with a level of integrity and an extreme [abundance] of caution on the radio relative to the contents of any programme I am on and that I would continue to maintain along with my professionalism.
The incident you referred to, the most I could say the contents were not libelous in my view. It was unfortunate that certain things may have come out but again there’s a level of protocol and professionalism we have to adopt on all issues so I don’t care to comment any further.” Any [other] statement you’d want you’ll have to contact the NDP.”
So we did and public relations officer Lavern King was on hand to respond. “Dougie was wrong,” she said, “and he acted unprofessionally.
The Party enjoys a mutually beneficial relationship business agreement with Dougie and we will get past this. Our focus at this time is not to dwell on these minor hiccups but rather to continue to provide good representation for the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and to demand accountability from the current regime and to redouble our efforts to ensure victory at the polls next election.”
ANN further queried the apparent political incorrectness of the colloquial slurs that, some say, were imputed on the NDP’s political platform.
To this King responded, “We must understand that this was a village meeting and we must understand the context demographic, Patel delivered a message which connected with his people. There is nothing outlandish about it.”
ANN understands Defreitas’ reaction stemmed from an “over-abundance of fear” as his radio station has been legally sanctioned as per instructions issued by lawyers acting on behalf of Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, for what local Courts have adjudged were defamatory statements. Most notably of the two instances the station was sued the statements were made by Matthew Thomas and Junior Bacchus and not directly linked to the NDP.
To date BDS NICE Radio has paid an approximated XCD0.5 million in damages, raised from a series of radio-thon pledges and other donations. Other lawsuit threats have cropped up over time but were apparently settled out of Court.
Bert Francois “will still continue to host his regular days,” King confirmed.