PM sues the poet
January 28, 2005
PM sues the poet

A local law firm representing Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves is instituting legal action for criminal libel against a former postal worker.

The law firm of Hughes and Cummings has written to Gary Stewart of Layou, informing him that he has caused “grave and malicious libel” upon the Prime Minister’s “character and reputation” and “considerable distress and embarassment to him and his family” in a poem published almost two weeks ago. {{more}}

According to the Prime Minister’s lawyers, the poem, entitled “This Is Your Comrade Speaking”, was published on page seven of The Vincentian newspaper dated January 14, 2005.

The letter from Hughes and Cummings continues: “The injury suffered by our client has been aggravated by your conduct by neglecting, notwithstanding the gravity of the allegations which you are making against our client, to contact him before publication. In the circumstances, we can only conclude that the poem was maliciously published with the sole intention of destroying our client’s reputation.”

The Prime Minister, through his lawyers, is therefore calling for “a full and unequivocal retraction and apology of the libel to be prominently published in two consecutive issues of our weekly newspapers”; an undertaking by Stewart not to utter or publish any defamatory statement against the Prime Minister in the future, and the payment of $250,000 in damages caused to the Prime Minister’s reputation. The money is to be paid to charitable organizations.