May 07, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – Former President David Granger has filed a libel lawsuit claiming a total of $2,650,000,000 from local communications consultant, Kit Nascimento and list of media houses including the Guyana Times, Stabroek News, and Kaieteur News. In addition, the lawsuit lists Editor-in-Chief of Guyana Times, Tusika Martin, Kaieteur News owner Glenn Lall and Kaieteur News Editor-in-Chief, Sharmain Grainger and Stabroek News Editor-in-Chief, Anand Persaud as respondents.
According to the Statement of Claim (SoC) filed by attorney Roysdale Forde, SC, the former Head-of-State accused the newspaper of publishing defamatory information about him, which were contained in letters and opinion pieces written by Kit Nascimento last year. As such, he made 53 claims for damages of worth of GYD$50 million for each instance that the information was published, totalling GYD$2,650,000,000.
Granger did not stop there, however; in addition to the damages, he is asking the High Court to grant orders to prevent the defendants from publishing any further offensive remarks in relation to the matter. He also seeks an order for each news outlet to issue a retraction and an apology to him for “the false, malicious and defamatory statements impugning the character and representation” of him in those news publications. Further, the Head of State asked for exemplary and aggravated damages, interests, costs, and such further or other order it deems just.
In grounds to support the claim, Granger outlined that Nascimento had described him as being, “dishonest and deceitful, habitually hypocritical, a liar, of dubious credibility and of unsound mind.” According to the lawsuit, Granger notes that Nascimento suggested that he was complicit in an obvious and determined decision of the APNU+AFC to remain in Government regardless of the expressed will of the people in the March 2, 2020, General and Regional Elections.
He contended that the attacks were unyielding and a blatant disregard for the truth. He stressed that during the election period, he made several public statements that:
“As President of Guyana and Leader of the Government, it is my policy that any declaration coming from the Chairman of GECOM will be accepted by the Government of Guyana.”
However, Granger claimed, in his writings, Nascimento inferred that he wanted to remain in power without any regard or care of the consequences it would have on the country. To this end, the claimant cited Nascimento’s letter which read, “David Granger, in power as a de facto President, with the full support of the police and army under his command, if not in absolute control, is most certainly complicit in an obvious and determined decision of APNU+AFC to remain in government regardless of the expressed will of our people in the 2nd March Elections.”
Moreover, Granger said that the publications would cause people to believe that he used invented irregularities to claim a victory for himself as President and the APNU+AFC at the national elections and that he consistently and dishonestly refused to accept the results of those elections.
In this regard, he cited the opinion by Nascimento titled “Granger should concede defeat before he is ultimately forced to do so by international condemnation”, which was published on the 5th day of June, 2020.
According to the document, Nascimento quoted Granger saying: “But David Granger’s party, on June 3, in an e-mail, declared that APNU+AFC would not accept the result of the ballot recount, a statement which we must presume has the approval of David Granger, even before the Chairman of the Elections Commission can deliver her Commission’s verdict on the ballot recount,”
Further, the information outlined that Nascimento and the publications would cause persons to believe that, among other things, Granger was unfit to be the President of Guyana. As a result of the said headlines and articles and their dissemination, Granger said, his personal and professional reputation and standing have been “irreparably and severely damaged, lowered in the estimation of right-thinking members of society” and that he and his family have suffered and continue to suffer financial injury, constant grave distress, humiliation, embarrassment, indignity, pain, and suffering.
He stressed that the statements have no basis in fact, are malicious, grossly inaccurate and intended to deceive the public and damage his reputation and character. In the circumstances, Granger specified that the injunctions should bar Nascimento and the news outlets as well as staff or servants from publishing, sharing, recording or otherwise recreating and disseminating the opinion pieces and letters to the editor.
In a brief comment to Kaieteur News last evening, Nascimento stated: “I am astounded by Mr. Granger’s lawsuit. I am satisfied that anything I said that may have given him offence was in defence of democracy and freedom of our country.”
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