Our Readers' Opinions
November 9, 2012
NICE jeopardy

Fri, Nov 9, 2012

Editor: “In the best interest of the station (Nice Radio) I have made the decision to terminate your programme Talking Frankly as of 7th August 2006…” Douglas De Freitas/Manager (Sunday, 6 Aug. 2006).

“Therein lies the root of the problem, for my contention is that it is blatant abuse of the station and downright irresponsibility of leading critics of government which have brought the difficulties that NICE radio currently faces.{{more}} …These persons are among those now in the forefront of a ‘rescue mission’ to repair their own damage. It is downright hypocrisy to be so reckless and insensitive as to bring about a most unfortunate social occurrence, and then turn around blame others for causing the situation and, worst, to call on us all, as if we are ‘suckers’, to rectify a totally avoidable situation.” [Nice Hypocrisy, Renwick Rose, Searchlight, 02 11 12]

Yellow lenses

Mr Rose has it just right. As I listen, I get the distinct feeling from those in their “yellow” party coloured lenses that this all began with Ralph, not those who the court has ruled slandered him. This is all Ralph’s fault – he wants to kill democracy – he wants to shut down NICE radio. And that is the Vincentian tragedy, because of this attitude, we are, in fact, going backwards (Sorry, Oscar, I do not believe this is temporary). Some have even been heard to criticize the court for the size of the judgment. They totally ignore the fact that the lower court had awarded a higher settlement and with good reason – even after the matter was filed and a “cease and desist” was issued, the court said the defendants “arrogantly” continued their slander. They fail to realize the laws view slander and libel as the “murder of a man’s character.” So blinded are some that they ignorantly (is it a deliberate attempt to mislead) equate civil cases with criminal cases which the DPP can take over and discontinue.

When it is pointed out that the DPP has no say in civil cases, they shrug that the court would have found something else to stop the civil cases. I do not know; I sued Hans King and won. Mr King’s lawyer was ordered by the court to meet with my lawyer in twenty days since July 2011 to negotiate a settlement, but he has refused to do so. Do I blame the court for the delay? Maybe the Registrar, who is the wife of Hans King’s lawyer, can explain why the matter is delayed. But then you ask me, “Frank, where is your Vote No Case?” To that I have no comment.

The EG Treatment

Mr Rose said the Nice radio situation is “totally avoidable”; he is correct. Should this ever have been the burden of Nice radio or the party who owned the programme? Should E.G. Lynch who was employed by an entity be held liable for words spoken when acting in that capacity? If one of the journalists for this paper were to be sued, would he have to find his own lawyer? Was not the NDP the real defendant? Why was the case not appealed to the Privy Council? In October 2006, Mr Lynch tried in vain to get Mr Eustace to file an appeal based on the decision of the Privy Council in the case of Jameel v Wall St Journal. As the programme was about to end, Mr Lynch read an editorial from the Jamaica Gleaner. He was totally ignored (the recording is available). Listeners to my program on CCR will remember that for more than a month I played the audio while counting down the days to file an appeal. Here is an excerpt of the editorial.

“Essentially, the law lords, in a case by a Saudi businessman against the European edition of the Wall Street Journal, held that journalists, when they report responsibly on public officials on matters of public interest, are not guilty of defamation if they cannot, in court, prove the specific fact of the allegations.” (Gleaner, October 15, 2006).

That was the case that Douglas De Freitas should have referenced when he did his IKTV interview weeks ago, not the Antigua case. Eustace, as he had done previously with the alarm case [the Antigua case], left EG hung out to dry. Recall that in that case when I asked persons to go down town to give moral support, Dougie was called by Eustace to ask me to refrain. That support did not even involve money. In the defamation case, Dougie received the EG treatment – you are on your own. Perhaps, as in the case of Mr Lynch’s illness, Eustace could say that he owed Dougie nothing, since he was being paid to carry the programme.

So, Dougie appealed the lower court’s award which was made before the election of 2010. For that election, the NDP had huge sums at its disposal. They knew that the amount was pending, but none of them cared enough to suggest something be put aside to cover not only Dougie, but EG as well. So, it came to this: NICE Jeopardy – clearly avoidable – but only if you are dealing with a person “with a heart”.

Eustace resign

Now you want to know why I was thrown off the radio? EG, in a previous program, said this to Mr Eustace: “I’m a man about town, I go into all the nooks and crannies, so I know what am talking about. People are saying you should resign.”

I played the excerpt and told my audience I would be taking a poll on Monday to find out who the people thought should be the replacement. That folks was not “in the interest of the station.” End of program! Replaced by Junior Bacchus and Matthew Thomas, both of whom have been sued along with the station. Mr Gonsalves has already had legal success in Trinidad against the Mirror from which the Matthew Thomas suit got its genesis – maybe Ralph just wants “to kill democracy” in Trinidad. And as if to show how reckless they all are, Daniel Cummings on October 16 was at it again.

So those “in the forefront of the rescue mission” – all of whom have their personal beef with Ralph – will be seeking pledges for a long, long time.

Frank E. da Silva