KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Feb. 26, IWN – Lawyers for Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace were on Monday instructed to write Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves demanding an apology and a sum of money for statements Gonsalves made on radio on Feb. 17.
Eustace made the announcement on his New Democratic Party’s “New Times” on Nice Radio on Monday, as the fallout from a bribery allegation reportedly involving Gonsalves and investor Dave Ames, continues.
The former prime minister is claiming that Gonsalves defamed him while telling Vincentians, via radio, about an encounter with two journalists from the BBC on board a landed aircraft in Barbados.
“… I have instructed my lawyers to write to the Prime Minister in relation to him and the defamation of my character in his statement on Sunday, the 17th February. They will write to him demanding an apology, and a certain sum of money. If that is not done within a specified period of time, then further action will be taken by me against the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves. I want to make that absolutely clear,” Eustace said.
“Very often, I don’t pay much attention to these things, but this time I am not letting it pass. All sorts of things are being said about people. But this time, the Prime Minister must answer — and answer in a court of law — if he does not agree to the terms sent to him in a letter by my lawyers,” Eustace further stated.
Gonsalves had said that the two BBC journalists accosted him on the aircraft when they asked him about an allegation that Ames had gone to the Office of the Prime Minister with a bag of money and left without it.
Both Gonsalves and Ames have in separate statement denied the allegation, which Eustace said he learnt of during an interview with the BBC.
Eustace said that he did not comment on the allegation but said that if it is proven to be true, Gonsalves would have to demit office.
Meanwhile, Eustace, in his comments on Monday, said that when the BBC’s “Panorama” programme about Harlequin Property, of which Ames is chairman, is aired, “everyone will have a better understanding of what that situation is about”.
The Gonsalves government granted citizenship to Ames because of his investments here.
Ames’ company is reportedly being investigated in the United Kingdom amidst allegation that it is a Ponzi scheme, an allegation that a spokesperson for the company has denied.
The Financial Services Authority in the United Kingdom has also issued an alert about Harlequin and its operations.
And Eustace said this country is receiving a lot of coverage in the international press
“We are in the news all over the world for the wrong reasons. And it is something we don’t have any control over now, given the widespread interest and comments being made on this whole issue with the resort and other matters related to that,” he said.
Eustace announced the potential lawsuit on the same day that Gonsalves received EC$206,000 from a defamation case he won against Nice Radio.