March 28, 2013

Prime Minister to sue Opposition Leader

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves has indicated that he intends to sue Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace for a comment he made during a town hall meeting in New York, held on March 16.{{more}}

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Gonsalves said that Eustace defamed him when he made a comment relating to the $21,000 the Prime Minister deposited to open an account in the troubled Building and Loan Association (BLA) on February 4 this year.

Eustace said: “I cannot tell people to keep your money there (Building & Loan Association) when the Prime Minister’s mother’s account is removed. My conscience would not allow me to do so. I was criticised by a lot of people, you know. I don’t mind that. It should not have happened. And all this dressing up of going in to put in $21,000 is a lot of foolishness. It is an act of deceit in relation to the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines and I cannot support that. And so a lot of people would have to wait until August.”

According to the Prime Minister, Eustace will have to meet him in the High Court of Justice.

“You will have to prove to the judge that I am guilty of deceit — that is a serious defamation,” Gonsalves said.

“Prime Minister of 12 years, lawyer of 30 years standing guilty of deceit?

“In other words I knew according to him that my mother’s account was withdrawn when I put in the $21,000 to deceive people, to throw smoke in their eye,” he said.

Gonsalves was expected to attend the OECS Assembly meeting in Antigua on Tuesday; he, however, said that he would be contacting his lawyers when he returned from Antigua to deal with the issue.

“Because, apparently, you knew something I didn’t on the day when I opened my account – you must stop being desperate,” the prime minister said.

“I know you are getting very old; he is older than I am and time is running out and your desperation is showing man — stop your desperation, you will pay for your mouth,” he continued.

This matter comes weeks after Eustace himself called on the Prime Minister to apologise and pay or be sued over comments he (Eustace) said Gonsalves made on a radio program on February 17, after the Prime Minister said he had been accosted by two BBC journalists en route to a CARICOM Heads of Government meeting in Haiti. (DD)