by JP Schwmon #SituationUpdates
Michael Wyllie, one defense attorney here, is of the view that the socio-political temperature across Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is quickly approaching the “Haitian situation.”
Wyllie is currently appearing in defense of Richard ‘Ras Oba’ Jacobs and Dave Crosby – two protestors who were arrested during Rise Hairouna’s latest demonstrations in Kingstown. While speaking at the first virtual media conference, hosted by the 1 year old NGO, the attorney noted that his work history includes a stint, which ran “for many years,” with the Organization of American States.
He recalled playing a civil liberties activist role as part of the International Civilian Mission, in Haiti. The Organization of American States and the United Nations established that Mission in 1993, at the behest of ousted Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Wyllie stressed, “one of the things that gets to me is when I see human rights abuses. Now having lived in Haiti for 3 years and seen what went on there, St. Vincent – in my opinion – is getting close.
“What happened in Haiti a few months ago when the president was killed wasn’t a surprise to me at all. Haiti might be the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. I have lived in 9 different countries since I left St. Vincent and been back here including England, United States and Canada and I can tell you – I’ve never met a group of people who are more politically astute than Haitians.
“In Haiti you don’t do the right thing, they will get rid of you. Either you go voluntarily or they kill you. Some of the things I see going on in St. Vincent here, if they were occurring in Haiti there would have been serious, serious consequences for our leaders.”
Wyllie attested to his sense of outrage given his opinion that “we are getting very close to a dictatorship.” He also said: “I think that Vincentians ought to pay closer attention and do what is required to safeguard themselves.”
The seasoned lawyer described his political allegiance as being “no secret that my support is with the [Parliamentary] Opposition”, the New Democratic Party.
Wyllie further stated that his personal undertaking, upon his return to the land of his birth, was “to get involved and to assist wherever I can. But the whole political structure is such that you are targeted if you are not a member – you are not a supporter of the ruling party. That is no deterrence to me.”
Amongst the issues that irk the English trained jurist, is “the non-observance of the rule of law and our constitution here…. Sometimes I have to really remember that I am not in the United States, I am in St. Vincent because the things which the police get away here with; in the United States police would be sued and damages for millions and millions of dollars….
“The police get away with all kinds of nonsense in this place – beating up people, slapping them, forcing them to give statements….”
He opined that the 2012 Electronic Interview Act is “a total violation of the Judges Rule.” This, he claimed, is due to the fact that the EIA was amended so that potential juries can be influenced against an accused even if the accused choose to remain silent when interrogated.
Wyllie further referenced “two cases where Voire Dires are being conducted police slapped, cuffed [even] fired gunshots over one of my client’s head to intimidate him to give them a statement….
“That’s the situation we face here in St. Vincent. Like I said with my Haiti experience; I am very, very troubled with what I see here because if things continue the way they are we are probably going to end up in a Haitian situation.
“Haiti is a country which you know has gone through a lot and Haiti is the first independent nation in the region and so we need – in St. Vincent at some point – to stand up to the nonsense that is going on here.”
Asbert News Network caught up with Michael Wyllie via WhatsApp after the Rise Hairouna media conference. He took the opportunity to clarify the sentiments previously expressed.
He told us: “No l wasn’t [espousing the assassination of local politicians]. I was making the point that if they were in Haiti and carrying on in the way that they are doing here in SVG, they would more than likely suffer the same fate as the President of Haiti, who was assassinated.”