Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves. (File photo)

ST. VINCENT: – The editor of The News, the country’s leading newspaper has apologised to Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves regarding the contents of a letter to the editor published on Nov. 5

But Gonsalves’ lawyer, Grahame Bollers, has said that the statements against the Prime Minister were too serious, and warranted further action.

The statements were contained in a letter on pages eight and ten of the newspaper, under the title “The Changing of the Comrade”.

Bollers’ firm is examining the statements further, with a view towards taking legal action, the Office of the Prime Minister has said.

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Bollers said he would be writing to the newspaper editor, in respect of publishing a letter of re-traction, and possible compensation but did not disclose the nature of the compensation.

“I have read the letter. I agree with your assessment that the statements which you complained of are baseless and indefensible,” editor of The News Shelley Clarke wrote in a letter to Gonsalves on Nov. 5.

Clarke further said that it was not his intention to publish “scurrilous statements” about Gonsalves or anyone, adding that he and his lawyers were distracted by Hurricane Tomas which hit the country at the end of Nov.

“You and I have not always seen eye to yet. I have always, however, been mindful of my responsibility to act as a responsible editor,” Clarke said.

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“I apologise unreservedly for the publication of those statements, this was an unusual week. We were all traumatized by and preoccupied with Hurricane Tomas. The statements in that letter simply escaped my notice. As you are aware, each article and letter which appears in The News is scrutinized by our lawyers prior to publication. The fact that the statements escaped the notice of our lawyers is an indication of the distracting effect of the hurricane,” Clarke further said.

“I trust that you will accept the apology in the spirit in which it is given. Although we have disagreed both publicly and privately when I have published articles concerning matters of national importance, I have never launched a personal attack on you. It would certainly never have entered my head to publish anything in The News critical of you with malicious intention,” Clarke further said.

(Read: Ruling party supporters call for boycott of The News)