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HLDC chair threatens court action against three parties

HLDC chair threatens court action against three parties

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The chair of the Housing and Land Development Corporation (HLDC) has issued letters threatening legal action against Sandford Charles, Margaret London and BDS Limited, for defamatory comments allegedly made about him on a local radio station.{{more}}

Beresford Phillips, who also is the agency manager of Clico International Life, issued separate letters to the aforementioned – dated November 21, 2014 – through his lawyer Richard Williams.

In the correspondence, it states that on Monday, November 14, Sandford Charles called into the New Times programme on NICE Radio 96.7 FM, and allegedly used words which accused Phillips of abusing his public office as HLDC chair. According to Williams’ letter to Charles, the words used were understood to mean that Phillips engaged in official corruption, abuse of office and misbehaviour in public office – all of which are offences punishable by imprisonment.

Phillips asserts that the accusation is “completely untrue”, and is demanding that Charles, a resident of Queensbury, meets certain conditions or, in failing to do so, he will take the matter to court.

These conditions include a letter of apology and withdrawal to be published in one issue of each of the local newspapers; a written promise that Charles will not repeat the same (or similar) accusations; payment of Phillips’ legal costs ($2,500); and compensation of $140,000.

The same conditions have been applied to BDS Limited, which is the parent company of NICE Radio, and owned by Douglas DeFreitas.

Both BDS Limited and Sandford Charles have until 3 p.m. today, November 28, to respond. Failure to do so will result in the preparation of a draft claim form for damages for defamation.

In separate correspondence to Margaret London, a Georgetown resident, it states that on Monday, October 29, while speaking on her Night Nurse programme on NICE Radio, she alleged that Phillips was involved in bribing Michelle Andrews to drop charges she had brought against the Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves.

The letter states: “By these words, you meant and were understood to mean that our client has committed the criminal offence of bribery, as well as the offence of obstructing the course of justice, both of which are punishable by imprisonment.”

The letter further says that London’s allegations “constitute a grave and malicious slander upon the character and reputation” of Phillips.

It has also been demanded that London meet conditions or face being taken to court. These conditions include a full withdrawal and apology for slander, to be published in one issue of each of the local newspapers; an undertaking not to publish any or any similar defamatory statement against Phillips; and compensation in an amount to be agreed upon.

These conditions have also been applied to BDS Limited. Both Margaret London and BDS Limited have until today (seven days from the date on the letter) to respond. Failure to do so will result in the issuance of a claim form in the High Court to compel London to “justify” her slander.

Earlier this month, Prime Minster Gonsalves also took legal action against Margaret London and BDS Limited for comments which Gonsalves’ lawyer said are defamatory, which London made about Gonsalves on the same programme on the night in question.

In letters he issued to both parties, the Prime Minister asked for certain conditions to be met – which include letters of apology being published in each of the local newspapers, an undertaking to not repeat said comments, and compensation in an amount to be agreed on. If the conditions were not met, a claim form would be issued in the High Court, the letters said. Up to press time, these conditions had not been met.(JSV)

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