KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Vincentian charities can expect to be EC$200,000 richer when Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves collects damages awarded to him in a defamation case against Eduardo “E.G.” Lynch and BDS Limited, owners of Nice Radio.
Gonsalves on Thursday reiterated a promise he made several years ago to donate to charity any monies awarded to him from the case.
The legal battle began eight years ago when Lynch, host of the opposition New Democratic Party’s radio programme, accused Gonsalves of using public funds to finance a trip to Rome for members of his family.
The defendants have lost three appeals and the Court of Appeal, in the most recent judgement, ruled that the defendants pay Gonsalves damages of EC$140,000.
They must also pay EC$20,000 cost at the High Court and EC$20,000 cost in the Court of Appeal and 5 per cent interest from the 2008 date of assessment.
“… This first one is for charity … but anyone after that is going to the Ralph Gonsalves retirement fund,” Gonsalves said.
“Whatever I do to charity afterwards is whatever decision I make on an on-going basis. But I keep my word — I don’t want a cent out of Gonsalves versus Lynch and BDS. … That will go to some church charities and so forth. But, the others – I am becoming a senior citizen you know,” said Gonsalves, who has several judgements pending in other defamation cases.
Gonsalves, noting that the suit was filed between 2002 and 2003, said that he has been patient.
“The wheels of justice, in this case, certainly, they have been grinding slowly but surely. … Of course, the issue of collection now comes up but that is for the lawyers,” he said.
“I don’t know if the court’s giving an award of this kind is going to stop them (the defendants) slandering me. … I am going to let this soak in a little bit and lets see — let them just be fair and reasonable and respect other person’s reputation and character and just don’t go about pulling down people with all these falsehoods.
“It’s just not right. It’s just plain wrong and I have suffered a lot for it. But I am a strong individual and I bear the pain and suffering with equanimity. Well, let them now bear some pain. That is what I think is called justice,” he said.
“I don’t feel a sense of joy about it. I wish if I didn’t have to do it but there it is,” Gonsalves added.