February 26, 2010
PM demands apology from Eustace

Grahame Bollers, Lawyer for Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, has written to the Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace demanding an apology and a retraction within seven days of a radio commercial which was deemed offensive.{{more}}

The letter, which was dated Thursday, February 18, also demanded compensation of EC$500,000, to be paid within seven days, and the payment of costs already totaling EC $25,000.

Failure to do this, Bollers indicated that he would commence litigation against Eustace, who is also President of the New Democratic Party (NDP).

Bollers’ letter said that the advertisement that the NDP “produced and/ or has caused to be broadcast on many radio stations in St. Vincent and the Grenadines… has accused the Prime Minister of illicit participation in drug trafficking, money laundering, the encouragement of the drug trade and/ or receipt of proceeds of crime acquired in or from the illegal drug trade.”

The advertisement, Bollers said, “also accused the Prime Minister of being guilty of rape by the insidious and false suggestion that he refused to face the allegation of rape that he wrongfully used and misused his office to avoid answering the said allegation in court.”

“This allegation was broadcast to the world on your instructions and/ or with your consent and/ or that of the NDP notwithstanding there is not a shred of evidence to establish any criminal participation… .” The letter went on to say.

“There can therefore be no question that by these allegations, which are to your knowledge false and defamatory of our client, you and the NDP have accused the Prime Minister of serious criminality and misconduct in public office,” the letter stated.

At a press conference held by the NDP on the same date as Bollers’ letter, Eustace defended his party’s position on the advertisement:

“We live in a democracy. We do not believe anything is wrong with the ad,” Eustace stated. “The ad will continue to play.”

At the press conference, a second commercial was aired.

In the Lawyer’s letter, he stated that Eustace’s comments were “made in complete and absolute disregard of the facts…. This recklessness, or intentional conduct on your part was and is calculated to cause irreparable harm to the reputation of our client simply to score cheap partisan and political points.”