Oct 21, 2021 News
Kaieteur News has declined to file a defence in the matter in which the newspaper is being sued, along with two other media houses, by former President, David Granger for libel.
The matter came up for hearing before Justice Narweshwar Harnanan at the High Court yesterday. During the proceeding, the Court noted the fact that Kaieteur News had not filed a defence within the required time and therefore was liable to pay court cost for not filing a defence in time. Justice Harnanan initially imposed a cost of $150,000 for the non-compliance in relation to the filing but later recalled the cost after the lawyer for Kaieteur News, Shaunella Glen, indicated that the newspaper will not be filing any response to the libel claim. Ms. Glen explained that the newspaper will rely on the judgment of the court after a trial, as it does not see the point in filing a defence when the alleged libelous information did not originate from the paper.
The lawyer explained further that the newspaper is only the medium by which Christopher ‘Kit’ Nascimento published his letter and comments. As such, the judge noted that the matter will proceed with trial. The court is expected to set a date for trial following a case management hearing at a date to be announced.
Granger had filed a libel lawsuit claiming a total of $2,650,000,000 from local communications consultant, Kit Nascimento and a list of media houses including the Guyana Times, Stabroek News, and Kaieteur News for publishing a letter which he wrote.
The lawsuit claims that the news entities published defamatory information about Granger, contained in letters and opinion pieces written by Nascimento last year following the March 2, Regional and General Polls.
The former President made a total of 53 claims for damages to the tune of GYD$50 million for each instance that the information was published, totalling GYD$2,650,000,000.
To support his claim filed earlier this year, 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.”
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.
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.
He claimed that the statements have no basis in fact, are malicious, grossly inaccurate and intended to deceive the public and damage his reputation and character.
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