March 15, 2013

Eustace requests money and apology; Gonsalves refuses

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves has warned Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace about going further with legal action against him.{{more}}

Gonsalves also says he does not think that he defamed Eustace in comments he made on a radio programme on February 17.

He, therefore, has advised Eustace that he cannot comply with his requests for “apology, compensation, payment of costs and the like,” which were made in a letter dated February 27, to Gonsalves, from Eustace’s lawyer Mira Commissiong.

Gonsalves’ response to Eustace was made in a letter dated March 5.

“I am satisfied that your lawyer’s said letter to me is without legal merit. Be assured that any further legal action against me in this matter would be vigorously defended. I feel certain that your public posture, combined with poor advice, may compel you to proceed with your threatened legal action. I advise, gratuitously, that you reconsider. Believe me, I am very familiar with the legal jungle of sharply contested defamation cases, including the breadth of their parameters, between persons who hold formal leadership positions in political parties. So, a word to the wise,” Gonsalves said.

Gonsalves also told Eustace he had chosen to reply directly to him because of the “criss-crossing of legal and political issues in this instant matter. I intend no direspect to your lawyer or to my own, Thus I copy my response to them.”

The letter to Eustace was copied to counsel for Eustace, Mira Commissiong and Grahame Bollers, the prime minister’s lawyer.

Eustace, had said on radio that he was demanding an apology and that Gonsalves pay him $140,001 and $30,000 in costs.

$140,001 is one dollar more than the amount BDS Ltd was ordered by the court to pay Gonsalves for broadcasting defamatory statements made by Opposition spokesperson Elwardo Lynch in 2002.