May 9, 2018
LONDON, England — Sven Hughes, a former employee of the SCL Group/Cambridge Analytica, was interviewed in a podcast last week by journalist Freddy Gray for Britain’s Spectator magazine, during which he discussed SCL’s work in manipulating election outcomes in the Caribbean in concert with citizenship firm Henley & Partners, in particular, a political sting operation in St Kitts and Nevis.
Hughes, who is now the CEO of his own company called Verbalization, with a background in psychological operations (“psy-ops”) for the British military, was recruited by the SCL Group, which was the parent company of Cambridge Analytica, to join them as their head of elections in 2009, and he was immediately sent to St Kitts to work on the 2009/2010 election campaign on behalf of the St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party.
“I went to run the election in St Kitts and Nevis for the then incumbent prime minister Denzil Douglas, who was, as far as I still know, an extremely good man, a very good candidate with a very good team around him and with good message to tell, and as I joined the campaign, he was losing in the polls as I was led to believe and essentially what we needed to do was put together a comprehensive and coherent messaging strategy and advertising campaign and election campaign, to get his points across in a way that would resonate with the public,” Hughes said.
At the same time, the CEO of SCL, Alexander Nix, put Hughes in touch with Christian Kalin, the chairman of Henley & Partners, with whom he was required to communicate clandestinely “through the use of Skype or through the use of sort of invisible email accounts, which you would neither send or receive an email, but you will save your correspondence into the drafts folder”.
In an earlier documentary exposé broadcast by Britain’s Channel Four, Nix admitted to implementing dirty tricks and sting operations as part of SCL’s elections campaigns, something that Hughes said he was not comfortable in doing.
“I was winning the elections as far as I was concerned… by running a clean campaign and by representing good candidates with clean campaigning skills. In each campaign, there was an occasion where between Alexander Nix and Chris Kalin in some capacity, I don’t know to what extent whose idea it was at the time, but some sort of doubling down sting was introduced to make sure that the campaign won, so in St Kitts and Nevis the very thing he spoke about on Channel 4 News about paying bribes, yes, that was a technique that they utilized in St Kitts and Nevis,” he said.
In St Kitts and Nevis, then leader of the opposition People’s Action Movement (PAM), Lindsay Grant, was approached by someone who he believed wanted to make a very substantial party donation just before the election. The individual in question offered him $1 million towards his campaign when he most needed it in the last few weeks of the campaign.
A video recorded by a hidden camera of Grant expressing his willingness to accept the money up from $1million to $1.7 million from the original offer was posted on YouTube and is widely believed to have been a significant factor in the opposition’s election defeat in 2010.
After the videotaped meeting, Grant apparently realised he may have been set up and quickly mobilised local people and, since the individual who met with Grant was still in the hotel where the meeting took place, Hughes had to go down there very quickly and get him out.
“It was just a matter of walking in, grabbing him and getting him out… He flew out of the country I think the next day… we took care of him overnight and got him out the next day,” he recalled.
During the interview, Hughes agreed with Gray’s summary of what he perceived the situation to be, namely, that Henley & Partners are in the business of selling passports, working with Alexander Nix, representing an election-winning business, and therefore, Nix wins the election on behalf of SCL, and then Kalin runs the passport scheme for that country once that government is in place.