BASSETERRE, St. Kitts- – Opposition St.Kitts-Nevis Labour Party Leader Denzil Douglas continues to be under pressure to resign from Federation politics allegations of his enlisting the now disreputable Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, the SCL Group, to help him win an election in 2010 by any means necessary. According to the Times of London, SCL worked on the successful campaign of the incumbent Prime Minister Douglas against opposition leader Lindsay Grant’s election bid. As part of SCL’s efforts to win the race for Douglas, the firm reportedly mounted a sting operation against Grant at a Marriott hotel, where he was seemingly caught on video discussing possible land sale to a British buyer who offered $1.7 million donation to his campaign for the land once they gained office . That video was shared widely online days before the election on YouTube, including over one channel the Times reports was run by SCL called “investigativerep1965.” That account is still active and contains just one video: the sting against Grant. But, SCL has been active all over the Caribbean for several years. Before it had dealings in St. Kitts and Nevis, in 2009, the company worked on a major referendum campaign on the Caribbean islands of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to defeat an attempt to establish a new constitution to replace the one that had been enacted when the country became independent from British rule in 1979. Had the new referendum passed, it would have installed a number of new and provisions, including rules that opened elections to dual citizens and that legal marriage could only exist between a man and a woman. The referendum also would have ended Queen Elizabeth II’s symbolic reign over the Caribbean country, but the measure failed to get the two-thirds majority it needed – thanks, at least in part, to help from SCL Group, according to accusations at the time from Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. He claimed the campaign to defeat the referendum had hired SCL to run a smear campaign against him. Gonsalves further claimed that his rival James Mitchell – the founder of the country’s National Democratic Party and a former prime minister – held an advisory role on SCL’s board, an allegation Mitchell didn’t deny when asked by a reporter
from the Guyana Chronicle. Mitchell is also listed as a member of SCL’s advisory board in a Bloomberg profile. Later in 2011, in presentation materials seen by the Times of London, SCL admitted it worked against Gonsalves with a “targeted digital attack.” This meant that “within three weeks every single reference to him on the first two pages of Google referred to the his alleged horrific track record of corruption, coercion, rape allegations and victimisation,” the presentation read. SCL continued to take clients in the Caribbean, like in the small island nation of St. Lucia, where in 2011 the company worked on the reelection campaign of then Prime Minister Stephenson King, who ended up losing. But had King won, Bloomberg reported SCL was set to receive a $1.9 million contract from St. Lucia to run a public health ad campaign against smoking and obesity. A million of which would be used for the health ads while the other $900,000 would have been back pay for the company’s work on the election. King didn’t win, and the public health campaign reportedly never came to fruition. Two years later, in Trinidad and Tobago in 2013, Cambridge Analytica’s parent company was at it again. There, with the help of a Canadian company called Aggregate IQ, which was also instrumental in analyzing voter data for the Brexit campaigns in support of the U.K.’s departure from the European Union, SCL set up a data micro-targeting program for the ruling party at the time, United National Congress. This was, according to a report in the Guardian from last year, SCL’s first foray into big data targeting and foreshadowed the voter analytics work U.S. billionaire Robert Mercer financed the company to do under its American arm, Cambridge Analytica, during the 2016 U.S. election. The work SCL and Aggregate IQ did with the government in Trinidad and Tobago took place under a contract to build a national police database that was supposed to include citizens’ browsing data, recordings of phone calls, and call transcripts created with natural language processing software, which would all then be used to predict whether someone was going to commit a crime. Gary Griffith, the former national security minister in Trinidad and Tobago, told a local news site last May that he never heard of this project during his time in office, adding that such an endeavour would have had to have been carried out with the help of telecommunications companies. The year 2013 wasn’t the first time SCL did work in Trinidad and Tobago. The company was also present in advance of the 2010 elections there, which concluded with the United National Congress party’s candidate becoming prime minister. According to a brochure from SCL obtained by the BBC, SCL claims that it helped a candidate’s campaign by painting graffiti around the island made to look like it “ostensibly came from the youth,” which allowed SCL’s client to adopt policies and “claim credit for listening to a ‘united youth.’ ” That the company resorted to fake graffiti suggests it certainly wasn’t above using underhanded tactics, though the misbehavior it is accused of in the U.S. – inappropriately harvesting 50 million Facebook profiles to beef up its political-data efforts in 2014 – are a great deal more complicated. One of the questions we’re still left with is: Was Cambridge Analytica any good at it?
In recent days reports have suggested that the Dr. Denzil Douglas led SKN Labour Party has again engaged SCL/Cambridge Analytica Styled tactics in an effort to destabilise the country with the hopes of regaining power. This time around they have engaged Dr. Isaac Newton who has seemingly oaunched a campaign to discredit developers of major upcoming projects on the island. In a series of articles that made there way to the international media Range Developments CEO was allegedly arrested in China . The Range are developers of the Park Hyatt and also the upcoming Six Senses Resort. The stories turned out all to be fake news and Newton was revealed as the source of the stories. Investigation reveals that Newton along with senior members of the SKN Labour Party generated the news stories in their effort to stall the developments on the island in the hopes of enhancing their chances to regain power. The idea was to stall the projects which they hoped will negatively impact the country’s unprecedented economic growth and activity. A situation they felt would enhance their chances of being voted back into office. Widespread condemnation has been directed at the Dr. Douglas led opposition who now find themselves deeper in the political doldrums. Dr. Douglas himself has had to deal with ongoing court battles which will eventually see his removal from parliament over his Dominica Diplomat Passport status