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PM and Nice Radio in legal face-off

PM and Nice Radio in legal face-off


The demand for half a million dollars and the threat of a law suit from Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves have not fazed Douglas De Freitas of NICE Radio.{{more}}

“We will fight this. I will play it, and play it, and play it again. I will play it a million times. Let us go to court,” De Freitas told SEARCHLIGHT, as he responded to the letter he received on Tuesday, April 22nd, from an attorney for Dr Gonsalves.

According to the letter issued by attorney-at-law Grahame Bollers, the interview between Junior Bacchus and Margaret Parsons, of Canada, which originally aired on Bacchus’ Wednesday Night programme on Cross Country Radio “Country Talk”, and was re-broadcast on NICE radio on three occasions, was defamatory in nature.

Bollers claims that during the interview, Parsons “defamed my client (Dr Gonsalves) with false and malicious allegations of her meeting with him some time in January 2003. Further, Ms Parsons falsely and maliciously accused my client of conspiring with the DPP and the Commissioner of Police to subvert the administration of justice in St Vincent and the Grenadines.”

Bollers also indicated in the letter that Dr Gonsalves plans to also forward a complaint to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Commissioner of Police saying that the statements made by Parsons “constitute the crime of criminal libel.”

The radio station was told to publish an apology, refrain from broadcasting the statements again, in addition to paying the money, if “further legal steps” are to be avoided.

While De Freitas scoffs at the legal threat, Managing Director of Cross Country Radio Carlos Maloney told SEARCHLIGHT that he will be putting things in place to ensure that potentially defamatory statements do not make it on air.

He said that Bacchus’ programme along with Frank Da Silva’s programme “Frankly Speaking”, which is aired on Thursday nights are the only programmes that “can be controversial”, so he will make sure that the necessary steps are put in place.

Maloney said that he has apologized for certain statements made on the programme in question.

Margaret Parsons is the second woman in four months to have accused Dr Gonsalves of sexual misconduct.

A 36-year-old policewoman claims that she was raped by him at the Prime Minister’s official residence on January 3, 2008. Then Parsons claimed that while in a meeting at the Prime Minister’s office in January 2003, he sexually assaulted her.

She had previously said that the alleged incident took place in 2004, but then changed the year to 2003.

Private criminal complaints were filed in both matters, but DPP Colin Williams stepped in and discontinued both matters.

Meanwhile, Dr Gonsalves has remained unfazed amidst calls for him to step aside by the opposition.

“What my lawyers say speaks for itself, I will continue to do my job and let my lawyers handle those things,” Dr Gonsalves told SEARCHLIGHT last Tuesday.

Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace has repeatedly called on Dr Gonsalves to step aside until the sexual misconduct matters are resolved in the courts.