Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has expressed concern about potential economic fallout from military action against Syria. (IWN photo)

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said Monday he would instruct his lawyers to seek apologies from two newspapers for comments they published on Friday.

Gonsalves said he wants an apology from The Vincentian newspaper and its columnist, Dr. Kenneth John.

He will also seek an apology from The News newspaper for comment made in a letter by pharmacist, Matthew Thomas, one of Gonsalves’ former political colleagues.

Gonsalves told a press conference that the statements are defamatory.

“If you read The Vincentian newspaper with Kenneth John’s column, … he says that Vynnette’s case is … another of the charges that the comrade planned or countenance against his political enemies,” the prime minister said.

Sen. Vynnette Frederick will reappear in court on Wednesday in relation to nine charges against her.

“Now, to say that I, as Prime Minister, planned to charge Vynnette is an outrageous libel. And I am sure that when the editor, Cyp Neehall, looks at it and the Managing Editor, Desiree Richards, who are all good people, [they] would see that what Kenneth John wrote there is rubbish,” Gonsalves said.

“Kenneth has defamed me before but I had let it slide and I really don’t like to be asking apology from a fellow who was once my teacher and who I played cricket with and he is in declining years and not in good health,” he further said of the columnist who has been writing for some 30 years.

“But this kind of a rubbish, to impute that of me, to state that of me, is undermining people’s public confidence in the judicial system, without any reason whatsoever, just based on falsehood and malice.

“And that he would know that if I had done what he said I had done, I would be guilty of misbehaviour in public office, a criminal offence, which would subject me to one year imprisonment,” Gonsalves said of John, who, like him, is also a lawyer.

“Similarly, I see The News published an article by Matthew Thomas that the Gonsalves-led administration had instituted the criminal charge of sedition against Ordan Graham,” Gonsalves said.

Graham, a former leader of the Green Party, was charged with sedition in relation to comments he made at a political rally.

“I’m the DPP (Director of Public Prosecution)?” Gonsalves said in response to the letter writer’s comments.

“… everybody has to be careful on this matter,” the Prime Minister said, adding that sometimes when people defame him “in a personal sense” he lets it slide.

“But when you say that I interfere with the justice in the country or I prosecute somebody or I arrest somebody — and I am indicating it to everybody who publishes it, including some fellows who publish some things like these on one or two sites, I would have to take those on to,” Gonsalves said.

“There are species of allegations which go to the governance of the country. That is to say, that I interfere with prosecution, that I order arrest, and they know it not to be true. But they are using those dastardly falsehoods to see if they can mobilise people’s opinions,’ he further stated.

The Prime Minister also cautioned Executive Editor of I-Witness News, saying that some comments on the website could put the online publication at risk of defamation lawsuits.

Gonsalves has successfully sued several persons and at least one radio station, NICE Radio, which paid out EC$200,000 in damages earlier this year.

18 replies on “PM wants newspapers to apologise”

  1. This man would like to silence everyone. How much lawsuits have he done against his opponents so far? Oppressor.

  2. What I do not understand is why people write such things about the PM if they are untrue, I suppose being unable to prove in leagal terms what they say and write makes them untrue, but does it. Maybe in a legal sense it does, maybe in a morral sense we may think otherwise. But I suppose being a lawyer he doesn’t care about right or wrong, its what is provable that counts.

    Why do so many people write similar things about him, most of them are unconected with each other, most do not even talk to each other, some may not even know each other. So what make all these men write such stuff, why are they considered by Gonsalves as ‘Ralph haters’.

    I for instance often remind myself that this man told us he is a liar, he told us if we show him a liar he will show us a theif. Wasn’t that a license to disbelieve everything that he writes, says and does, well isn’t it. Because as a self confessed liar I believe nothing that he says.

    I have often said publicly and in private, written it and posted it. How can a man who is a self confessed liar […] be a fit person to be any kind of government minister. Even any kind of officer of the Court or legal profession.

    He signed an agreement with the teachers union, told the teachers it was the best agreement they ever had. Later it was found unenforcable and unconstitutional. He then said that he and the signotaries were all aware when they signed it, that it was unconstituional and unenforcable. I asked on several occassions if all who signed new it, they must of all discussed it, was that a conspracy?

    He has made silly statements like ‘we will hunt them down until they exist no more’ ‘I am here to finish the work of Maurice Bishop’ ‘I sometimes tell lies’ ‘show me a liar and I will show you a theif’ ‘if I work Obeah, I work Obeah for the Lord’ and many more.

    Then perhaps he wants to be in the Guiness book of Records as the Prime Minister who has sued the most citizens of his county in the World.

    As a person who self declared himself as loved by all Vincentians, we sure have got a way of showing such affection to him, and he has got a special way of rewarding us.

  3. Esla Stapleton says:

    What kind of petty game is being played in my country? he say, she say they say… Leaders who hold higher ranks globally are being put to much tougher test than this. DPP or not, people really shouldn’t have to apologize for having an opinion, be it true or false. Time should be spent implementing things that would be of benefit to SVG. In the scope of things, leaders should anticipate getting ridiculed, not everyone would be in agreement with you. I personally think that when a PM sues business and individuals, he’s loosing grip of or lacking leadership skills. I say this because people need to see improvement or change in a leader for them to be convinced that the leader has good intentions for their country. If the people and the PM are on different sides then there will be problems. The solution is not to take anyone to the cleaners financially but, to prove to the people that the justice system is a fair one. Apologies or not, a MP should try to reach the people and listen to their concerns and suggestions. One man cannot run a nation less he’d be a laughing stalk. I see politicians get kicked out of the House of Assembly in the worst way, women get discredited as if they are to hold their tongue still in their heads, and we talk about apologies as if we don’t owe people any… Disregard the apologies quest and get the country in order, educate the people, implement infrastructure and make way for businesses to grow. I called a few years back with a business proposal for my country and no one responded, not even a follow up call. I called about getting youths to do cross country running no one even bothered to follow through… time is wasting demanding apologies while relationships go sour because people don’t see honesty and good leadership. Make that change, that’s my advise then, we would have a our paradise back.

  4. The PM is only exercising his right as a citizen….Taking legal action against libel and slander are options that every Vincentian can use to seek redress from defamation…The ones who are against the PM using this recourse are the ones who are guilty of committing such offense, and are quick to deny justice….

  5. “But this kind of a rubbish, to impute that of me, to state that of me, is undermining people’s public confidence in the judicial system, without any reason whatsoever, just based on falsehood and malice.”…. Don’t talk about the lucky Venezuelan media that predicted a prosecutor’s decision in our courts.

  6. Why hasn’t he sued all the women that claim he raped or sexually attacked them, why hasn’t he sued them. Because if what they say is false, it must be worst thing a man can ever be falsly accused of.

  7. Do your worst MR.PM, but one day you won’t have the title of Prime Minister to hide behind. You can sue all you want, but you cannot sue away a bad economy. Moon ah run till day catch um.

  8. THE PRIME MINISTER AS BEEN ACCUSED TWICE BY A POLICE WOMAN AND HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER FOR ALLEGED CRIMINAL MISCONDUCT BOTH CHARGES HAVE YET TO SEE THE COURTS. HE HAS SUED MANY PERSONS AND HIS CASES HAVE BEEN FINAL IN THE COURTS.SINCE ONE OF HIS PORTFOLIO`S AS MINSTER OF JUSTICE THE PERCEPTION HE IS CONTROLLING ALL COURT PROCEEDINGS, WHEN ARTICLES ARE WRITTEN HE IS QUICK TO BE AGGRIEVED AND WANTS APPOLOZIES AND COATED WITH FINANCES AS AS HIS CASE AGAINST NICE RADIO.YOU DAY WILL COME WHEN YOU WILL FACE THE COURTS, YOU ARE NOT COVERED WITH TEFLON COMRADE

  9. So tired of this man. Must be the most litigous PM in the history of the Caribbean. What a terrible leader – He spends all his time suing people that say bad things about him and seeking reparations for slavery. We need a real leader that can focus on the future of our country, the things that need work and someone who can be innovative. Gonsalves could not innovate his way out of a paper bag. He could sue his way out! The country needs a leader who can set an example, lead, inspire and NOT sue, look backwards and promote fear. #calltheelection

  10. Eric Williams says:

    This is a self inflicted wound by our PM, so stop the whining. No other PM in our Island’s history has had to worry about these things, because they never behaved and governed like you have. You brought this upon yourself, and I would not be surprised if it brings on ulcer or heart attack.

  11. So as the Minister of National Security, he yet to ensure Mr Sandy is granted a public apology for the embarrassment and slander he has endured. Some how, being accused of robbery, assault and attempted murder is very minor compared to what the PM is now faced with.

    Am just waiting to see how fast the DDP will throw out any case by Mr. Sandy and then turn around and justify those of the PM going all the way.

    If you can’t sew mouths shut, then sue them shut.

  12. “The Prime Minister also cautioned Executive Editor of I-Witness News, saying that some comments on the website could put the online publication at risk of defamation lawsuits.”

    Peter, this is all your fault…….Ha Ha.

  13. MIKE.DAVID, I have never knowingly said anything about the prime minister that he should take offence to. I have always held back and kept my rhetoric to the minimum, I have tried to be kind and not hurt his feelings. Having heard how he suffered at the hands of bullies at the grammar school, I try and be kind to him.

    Dr Gonsalves I apologise if you have ever taken offence to any thing I ever wrote.

  14. MIKE.DAVID, I have never knowingly said anything about him that he should take offence to. I have always held back and kept my rhetoric to the minimum, I have tried to be kind and not hurt his feelings. Having heard how he suffered at the hands of bullies at the grammar school, I try and be kind to him.

    I apologise to him if he has have ever taken offence to any thing I ever wrote.

    My advice to someone who has an inferiority complex. Toughen up, harden up, be a man, because sticks and stones can break your bones but names should never hurt you. When you consider all the names that you have hurled at people, you should be able to absorb what returns. It so very simple, if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

    Stop using your training and education to attack those who you believe lesser than yourself. Its not nice and just compounds some peoples dislike of you. Stop acting like a spiteful bitch and be a man, a real man.

    Remember the KARMA will always come for you, you can look forward to that.

  15. So I-Witness news can be sued if I make a comment about my views on an article? So, the comment feature can’t be used as a means of discussing views and ideas? That’s a shame. Is that legal?

  16. He has insulted hundreds if not thousands of Vincentians with his nasty name calling, damaging inuendos and graphic dirty gestures. I have never once heared him apologise, not once.

    If I am wrong can someone please correct me. I would hate to upset him, poor man.

    He has told us he is a liar, told us if he works Obeah, he only does that for the Lord, he has had the audacity to say so in parliament. Then he wants blanket respect from the people.

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