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James to take legal action against Patel Matthews

James to take legal action against Patel Matthews

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General secretary of the Unity Labour Party (ULP) Julian Francis says that the party stands behind Carlos James, its candidate for the North Leeward constituency, despite accusations of criminality on James’ part by his political opponent.{{more}}

Francis told SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday that allegations made by Patel Matthews, the New Democratic Party (NDP) incumbent in North Leeward, do not affect the party’s selection of James to represent the party in the upcoming general elections.

“We stand by our choice of Carlos in North Leeward. We believe that he is a far better and superior candidate than Patel Matthews,” Francis said.

“Carlos has the people’s interest at heart, and that was evident after the 2013 December floods,” the general secretary added.

James came under fire from Matthews last Saturday, at a NDP political meeting at Central Kingstown, during which Matthews questioned James’ registration as a voter in North Leeward and made allegations that James had been “charged” and had to “pay”.

In response to the claims by Matthews, James, a lawyer by profession, issued a written statement on Wednesday, in which he indicated that he intends to take legal action against Matthews.

“I find the comments made by Mr Matthews most unfortunate and inappropriate. To this end, I have referred the recordings and comments made by Mr Matthews to my lawyers, who will decide on the appropriate legal action,” the statement said.

“It is my opinion that Mr Matthews has succumbed to a deep level of desperation due to his poor performance as an MP and his fear of losing the North Leeward seat in the upcoming elections,” the statement added.

James, in the release, said that he was aware of an incident years ago when he came to the assistance of a motorist during a traffic incident and that the comments made by Matthews were not a true reflection of what had happened during the incident.

The motorist in question happens to be Inspector of Police Hawkins Nanton, who at the time of the incident, almost 12 years ago, was a co-worker of James, when both were employed as reporters at SEARCHLIGHT newspaper.

Nanton himself issued a statement this week, in which he confirmed that James had come to his assistance, after he (Nanton) was approached by a police officer, whose demeanour was, in his opinion, unbecoming of a police officer.

“That afternoon shortly after parking my vehicle at Little Tokyo, I was approached by the police officer in question, who in my opinion conduct did not reflect his professional training. He was very aggressive towards me and even when I responded to his questions he was not satisfied and continued to be aggressive.”

Nanton said that James interjected on his behalf, which resulted in the police officer manhandling James, bursting James’ chain and watch in the process.

According to Nanton, the incident has resurfaced in the media and has been laced with inaccuracies, which is why he decided to provide factual information on what transpired.

“… I am moved to speak about it over the maligning of James’ character in some parts of the media as a result of him making an effort to defend me,” the release said.

James was charged by the police in relation to the incident, but up to press time, SEARCHLIGHT was unable to ascertain the number and details of all the charges to which James was made to answer when he appeared before the Traffic Court. It was however confirmed that he paid a fine in relation to one of the charges.

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