Former secretary threatens to sue Opposition Leader
November 18, 2014
Former secretary threatens to sue Opposition Leader

Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace has until tomorrow, November 19, to meet certain demands of his former secretary Rishatha Nicholls, failing which, legal proceedings will be brought against him in the High Court.

The law firm of Marks & Marks has been retained by{{more}} Nicholls, and in two letters to Eustace dated November 12, 2014, lawyer Ronald K Marks claimed that Eustace defamed his client on April 23 and 24, 2014.

Marks said on these dates, Eustace called in to the popular morning radio programme “AM Mayhem,” hosted by Christopher “2Kool Kris” Jones and said words which were understood to mean that Nicholls was involved in corruption and had committed the criminal act of theft, an offence that is punishable by imprisonment.

“These words were [broadcast] on the radio waves throughout the length and breadth of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and streamed on the Internet around the world. By your false and malicious utterances, you have gravely injured out client’s character and reputation,” Marks’ letters said.

Marks therefore demanded on behalf of his client that the Leader of the Opposition: (i) issue a public apology on the AM Mayhem programme on Hot 97 and that the said apology be published in the local newspapers (ii) fully retract those “false and malicious statements and publicly admit that they are untrue…” (iii) give a written undertaking to Nicholls that he would not publish those statements or any other defamatory statement against her (iv) compensate Nicholls in an amount to be agreed upon by his Chambers.

“Failure to meet any of these demands within seven (7) days hereof would result in legal proceedings being brought against you in the High Court of Justice,” one of the letters, dated November 12, 2014 said.

Nicholls was employed as secretary to the Leader of the Opposition from August 1, 2001 to March 28, 2013, when she was dismissed. Nicholls claimed wrongful dismissal and took the matter to the Department of Labour.

Eustace had given as reasons for Nicholls’ dismissal the fact that he no longer trusted her, that she had failed to prepare the vote book and that she used money intended for former talk show host Elwardo Lynch for her own purposes.

The Hearing Officer found that Nicholls had in fact been unfairly dismissed and ordered that she be compensated $16,199.99. This decision was upheld by the Appeals Tribunal to which the Leader of the Opposition had appealed.

Eustace finally paid the money in April this year.