KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Feb. 14, IWN – The Save Nice Radio Appeal will, Thursday night, Feb. 14, push to raise a further $70,000 to prevent the station from going into receivership.
BDS Ltd., owners of Nice Radio, owes Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves some $200,000 in damages, costs and interest stemming from a lawsuit.
Up to Wednesday, the appeal had raised $140,858.30, social activist Junior Bacchus told a press conference.
Lawyer Kay Bacchus-Browne, a member of the fundraising committee, said raising the money is important to keep the station, widely regarded as supportive of the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP), in the hands of its owners.
Bacchus-Browne, who, along with Bacchus and Matthew Thomas is leading the appeal, told the press conference that the $140,858.30 raised is enough to satisfy the judgement debt.
The station’s lawyer, Bertram Commissiong, QC has appealed for a stay to postpone the execution of the judgement since a Receiver has already been appointed.
“This is to appeal to the public out there the need to raise another $60- to $70,000…” Bacchus Browne said.
“I know that these are hard economic times; I know how you feel about this. But I am saying if we don’t raise that money, all that we have done would be in vain…” she said as she announced the radio-thron on Nice Radio on Thursday to encourage callers to make pledges.
“Let us pay off the Prime Minister his full debt, his interest and pay his lawyer, Grahame Bollers, his full cost and save Nice Radio,” Bacchus-Browne said.
She further responded to “rumours” that the monies raised have “disappeared”.
“There have been a number of rumours going around and some irresponsible radio stations have been, purposefully and with malice aforethought, spreading rumours that the money has disappeared.
“… Let me assure you members of the public that the money is safe at RBTT in the account named, the Save Nice Radio Appeal account,” she said.
Meanwhile, Jerry Scott, a former minister under the NDP, presented at the press conference, a receipt for deposit of monies raised in New York for the appeal.
And, Douglas DeFreitas, owner and manager of Nice Radio, thanked God for his goodness and his mercy that enough money for the judgement debt had been raised.
“Today is Ash Wednesday. And it is the time of atonement and we hope that those who hold beef in their hearts for other people will atone — put some ashes on their foreheads and on their hearts,” he said.
Meanwhile, Bacchus-Browne, who thanked the public “for responding so generously in the most difficult of times,” noted that Gonsalves has said repeatedly that he wants the fruits of his labour.
“Let us give him the fruits of his labour. It is clear that he doesn’t want it because he needs the money. … He has said over and over he is going to give it to charity.”
The fundraisers are hoping to pay the judgement in full by Feb. 25, the next scheduled court appearance.
The judgement stems from a case eight years ago after Eduardo “E.G.” Lynch, a former host of an NDP talk show, broadcast comments about how the Prime Minister financed a trip to Rome for some member of his family.
Correction: In an earlier version of this story, we mistakenly said the $140,858.30 raised is not enough to satisfy the judgement debt. Actual, that amount is enough to pay the judgement debt. The additional monies are for interest and lawyer fees.