March 12, 2010
Gonsalves sues opposition leader

It appears that Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has followed the advice of Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace.{{more}}

Last month Gonsalves directed his lawyers to seek a retraction and apology, along with the sum of EC $500,000 from the New Democratic Party (NDP) for the broadcast of two political advertisements, to which Eustace replied, “Let him take legal action.”

On Wednesday, March 10th, legal counsel for the prime minister commenced proceedings in the High Court against the Opposition Leader, claiming an unspecified sum for damages and defamation.

In a press release issued on Wednesday, the prime minister’s lawyers stated that ‘Mr. Eustace authorized the broadcast of two New Democratic Party (NDP) paid political advertisements which falsely and maliciously accused the prime minister of being involved in drug trafficking, money laundering, the encouragement of the drug trade/ and of receipt of proceeds of crime acquired in or from the illegal drug trade.’

It also stated that the commercials, which were aired on radio accused Gonsalves of being ‘guilty of a criminal offence of rape and that he wrongfully and illegally used his office as Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to subvert the course of justice in order to avoid having to answer to a charge or rape before a court of law.’

Gonsalves lawyers stressed that the argument put forward by the Opposition Leader, which claimed that the prime minister intended to stifle his (Eustace’s) fundamental right to freedom of speech was illogical.

“There is no human right guaranteed by the constitution which permits a person to destroy another person’s reputation by publishing defamatory information,” the release stated.

Gonsalves’ lawyers maintain that he has the right to protect his reputation from defamatory attacks by the NDP and its political leader Arnhim Eustace, which are maliciously motivated for political gain.

“The prime minister will continue to defend his reputation in the quest to vindicate his reputation and good

name as well as the good name of St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” his representatives exclaimed.