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Ben Exeter threatens Bing, BooM with big lawsuit

Ben Exeter threatens Bing, BooM with big lawsuit

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Dwight ‘Bing’ Joseph, manager of Boom FM, has used Jamaican singer Sizzla Kalongi’s song ‘Nah Apologize’, to respond to a letter written to him by lawyer Israel Bruce on behalf of New Democratic Party (NDP) politician Benjamin ‘Ben’ Exeter.

Exeter has threatened to sue Joseph and Boom FM over statements made on the station’s ‘OMG in the Morning’ radio programme.{{more}} The statements touch and concern the number of rounds of ammunition alleged to have been in the possession of Exeter at the time of his arrest.

According to letters dated March 29 and addressed to Joseph and Boom FM, Bruce said that on February 18, 2016, the station, through comments made by Joseph, “published inaccurate and downright false information” about Exeter.

Bruce, in the letter, asks for, among other things, Joseph to apologize to Exeter, as well as pay compensation of EC$250,000. The radio station, in a separate letter, is also being asked to compensate Exeter with EC$250,000, bringing the total sum being asked for to EC$500,000.

The reference to Exeter having ammunition on him comes from a criminal charge that Exeter, the NDP’s candidate in Central Leeward during the last General Elections, received after he was found with his licensed firearm outside the House of Assembly in Kingstown on Tuesday, December 29, 2015.

But in response to the letter from Exeter’s attorney, Joseph took to the radio, and on his OMG programme on Wednesday, said he would not apologize.

“Ben like he have a bill to pay somewhere eh; he have a bill to pay somewhere,” said Joseph on the air.

Joseph, referring to himself, “as a real bad man,” said that it was not wise for Exeter to start a war with him.

“Don’t mess with me…back down Ben,” said Joseph, who continued playing Sizzla’s song.

Joseph said that Exeter should first apologize to former prime minister Sir James Mitchell for comments he allegedly made about Sir James and if this is done, then he (Joseph) will apologize to Exeter. Co-host Stephen Joachim said, in his opinion, Exeter is “unsuitable” and should not serve in Parliament.

“The letter said that because of what I said, it has made Ben unsuitable, but Ben, you are unsuitable; the people in Central Leeward decided that you are unsuitable, so what the hell you going on about?” asked Joseph, live on air.

But while Joseph and Joachim joked about the correspondence sent by Exeter’s lawyer, the letter is no joking matter and states: “Knowing that your statements were false you went on to recklessly make use of such statements without in the alternative go to the source to verify whether or not the information which you were about to publish was indeed false.

“My client is deeply hurt by your publication which when taken in context had a single motive, that being to make him out as being some (sic) who went to the function intended (sic) to commit a criminal offence in that he was armed with gun and further prepared with some 50 rounds of ammunition.

“You had more than one opportunity to have checked your statement and seek to verify the truthfulness of it that both your gusts (sic) a male and a female did ask you if you were sure your information was correct,” said Bruce in the letter, while disclosing the contents of conversations between Joseph and two other persons.

The letter further adds, “In the most irresponsible and reckless of ways you proceeded to confirm that your information was indeed correct. This implied that you did seek to and did verify that Mr Exeter had 50 rounds of ammunition on his person at the time of his arrest.

“Not even this second opportunity suggesting that your staff double-check your information moved you to take the journalistic, moral and legal high road. Instead Mr Joseph used it to reconfirm that your information was indeed correct.

“In your false distribution and publication of the said words, your station Boom FM sought to disparage my client and further to damage the reputation of my client and as such he has suffered significant distress and embarrassment.

“We are further satisfied that your false statements were designed to further impact the current criminal matter in which my client is before the court involving the possession of the gun.

“There is every conviction with us that this was purely designed to impact negatively on Mr Exeter, who is known to be involved in national politics, such that he is seen in the eyes of the voting public as being an undesirable and an unsuitable person for public office.”

Joseph has been given seven days from March 29 to tender a public apology to Exeter and have the same apology published on OMG at the same time of the day when the false statements were originally published.

Joseph is also required to tender a public apology to Exeter and have the same published in a weekly newspaper, of Exeter’s choice, within 14 days of the date of the letter. He is also being asked to make payments of EC$250,000.00, payable at the office of Bruce Law Chambers within 21 days of the date of the letter.

“Failure to so do can and will results (sic) in legal actions (sic) being taken against you in the court of Laws (sic) in St Vincent and the Grenadines,” Bruce tells Joseph in the letter.

By Joseph’s response, it seems as if the matter will indeed have to be settled in a court. (LC)

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