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Opposition Leader rejects PM’s offer

Opposition Leader rejects PM’s offer

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Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace will not be accepting the offer made by Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves to discontinue a case for which there is already judgement against Eustace.{{more}}

At a press conference of his New Democratic Party (NDP) on Tuesday, Eustace stated that while he is appreciative of the offer made, it strikes him that if the Prime Minister’s gesture is aimed at fostering an atmosphere of mutual respect and co-operation between both sides of Parliament, then he should withdraw all of the several political matters he has instituted since assuming office.

“Personally, I cannot accept an offer that saves me from litigation, while my colleagues, supporters and allies continue to be subjected to the cost and rigors of litigation.

“I am speaking in particular about the enforcement of judgment against Mr. Douglas DeFreitas of Nice Radio and E.G Lynch, NDP Talk-show host,” the Opposition Leader explained.

In a statement to the House of Assembly on Thursday, January 12, Prime Minister Gonsalves offered to discontinue legal proceedings in two matters brought by him against Eustace and West Kingstown Member of Parliament, Daniel Cummings.

In letters dated 17 January, 2012, legal counsel for Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves wrote to Lawyers representing Eustace and Cummings concerning the PM’s decision to discontinue matters against them.

Barrister at Law Grahame Bollers informed Lawyers Mira Commissiong and Emery Robertson that his client, the Prime Minister, has indicated that he intends to stop the proceedings, which have already seen judgment in his favour, and are awaiting damages.

Also, in the letter to Robertson, who represents Cummings, Bollers pointed out that judgment was already entered against the defendant for damages, the award of which is expected to be given on February 20 this year.

“Based on my client’s instructions, I will apply to the Court for leave to discontinue the proceedings by consent and at the same time I will formally write to the Registrar asking her to inform Master Taylor Alexander that there is no need for her to deliver a judgment in the matter.”

In his letter to Eustace’s Lawyer, Bollers reminded Commissiong that judgment was made against her client, and that he, Gonsalves, had until March 6, 2012, to file an application for assessment of damages.

“Your application for default judgment in respect of your counterclaim against my client was adjourned by Justice Thom to 1st February, 2012. It is unlikely that you would succeed in your application as the Claimant has already filed his defence to your counterclaim on 28th November, 2011,” the letter went on to say.

“I look forward to receiving written confirmation from you that your client is amenable to the proceedings being discontinued,” they ended.

The judgment against Eustace was entered on November 7, 2011, by Justice Gertel Thom, and was in relation to Claim 98 of 2010.

The Prime Minister’s case was brought in relation to a series of radio advertisements which were repeatedly broadcast on Nice Radio by the New Democratic Party (NDP) between February 9 and 24, 2010. The advertisements made reference to drug trafficking, money laundering, encouragement of the drug trade, and rape.

On the other hand, the judgment against Cummings was entered on April 16, 2008.

The claim form in that case states that on June 9, 2006, on Nice Radio, Cummings said: “How could the Prime Minister justify every other trip overseas. Every other trip, his wife and children going to all parts, corners of the world, at our expense, most of the time.”(AA)

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