Manager of NICE Radio, Douglas De Freitas. (iWN file photo)

The manager of NICE Radio, Douglas De Freitas, on Wednesday, apologised to Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves for comments a caller to the station made on April 3.

“Dr. Gonsalves, I want to apologise to you. I haven’t even spoken to my lawyers on the matter, but I feel that it is my responsibility to come this morning because I heard last night when somebody woke me out of my sick bed to tell me this matter,” De Freitas said less than 24 hours after the prime minister threatened to sue.

“I apologise to you, sir, and I would be writing you an apology and hope that you accept it,” he said.

Gonsalves, speaking Tuesday night on Star Radio, which is owned by his Unity Labour Party, said he had sent the recording and a transcript to his lawyers.

A caller from North America reportedly made during “New Times”, the daily mid-morning programme of the main opposition New Democratic Party the comments that the prime minister complained about.

De Freitas, who is a cousin of the prime minister, said he was “very disturbed” and “very upset” about the development, noting that it occurred when he was overseas for medical attention.

Speaking on his daily weekday commentary around 6:30 a.m. Wednesday on NICE Radio, De Freitas said that the caller had spoken about a matter that had surfaced on social media.

“It was never aired on this radio station. Dr. Gonsalves said he going to seek an investigation with the State Department in America and all kinds of things,” De Freitas said of the allegation.

“I have always told persons who sit as hosts on radio programme here when someone calls and say things and you do not have the proof in your hand to verify what the person is saying as truth, you cannot allow that person to continue even with a conversation.”

Colin Graham was host of New Times when the callers made the comments the prime minister has complained about. (iWN file photo)

The host on the day of the call was Colin Graham, who has a long career in radio, mainly on entertainment-focused stations.

However, over the past few months, Graham has been appearing on some days as a host of New Times, as he has become more of an activist.

De Freitas said: “What Colin Graham should have done is to say I do not have the proof of which you are going to speak to, I have to take you out from this conversation.

“Failing to do that, Dr. Gonsalves now — I was on my sick bed last night, I got a call [that] Dr. Gonsalves said he is going to sue NICE Radio again. I cannot put up with this thing forever.”

NICE Radio has repeatedly been sued by Gonsalves and has paid out some EC$200,000 in damages to the prime minister.

“Just recently I finished pay $150,000 to Dr. Gonsalves. I paid 200 and something thousand dollars some time ago with people’s contribution and some of my own,” De Freitas said.

“This thing is becoming a problem for us at NICE Radio and sometime ago, I threatened to take all talk programmes off the air, because it seems like we are not getting anywhere,” De Freitas said.

“Some time ago, I had to apologise to Dr. Gonsalves on a matter of LIAT… I had to apologise to him several times in other matters, which he accepted.

“Recently, I asked him to forgive $60,000 of the balance of a judgement, which he did and it came down to $10,000 to pay the lawyer.”

De Freitas expressed frustration with the attitude of some members of the Vincentian diaspora who apparently ignore the difference in defamation laws in North America and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“We have a lot of ignorant people who sit in the diaspora, believe they can pick up the phone and call St. Vincent and the Grenadines and say things because they are not living here and they speak as if they have authority.

“And it is important that talk show hosts recognise that you can’t allow these things to happen because it jeopardises the very voice that you have, the only voice that you have”

De Freitas said although he does not support Gonsalves politically, “my intention is not to allow lies or things that you cannot prove to be spoken on the radio.

“And the problem is that some of these people living in the diaspora feel that they can say anything about anybody because they don’t live here and we can’t allow that to happen…

“So, I want to publicly apologise for what took place. I wasn’t even on St. Vincent. Like I said, I was on a sick bed and here it is again I have to put up with all this stress with respect to all these legal issues I have to deal with and it is destroying the company.

“And for those of you out there who say you love NICE Radio and you think that you could do these things and get away with it, you are destroying the company and destroying my life and my family’s life,” De Freitas said.

“… And for all those ignorant people out there who believe that you can say and do what you like, you would have to desist or I will have to instruct any talk show host that when they hear you all voices, not to accept you all calls.”

30 replies on “Radio station apologises as PM threatens lawsuit — again”

  1. Vincy Lawyer says:

    Dougie, here’s some free legal advice:

    It’s time you make a decision as to whether or not, it is in YOUR best interest to continue to be the medium whereby a lot of hosts and talk shows are constantly implicated in law suits.

    If you do continue, please know you will perpetually, as the legal owner of the station be added as a named defendant in law suits.

    I listened the audio and I heard the “fed up(ness)” in your voice but do know that you always had a choice.

    Make a choice or you will always face consequences.

    You’re a good man. Do what’s best for you and your family because at the end of the day, no person, politician, or political party will bear any consequences.

      1. Vincy Lawyer says:

        Who spoke about the determination of any law suit? My advice was that as the legal owner he will always be a named defendant. He seems to be fed up of even being a defendant.

        I never said any legal action will be in favor of any person. I never said “he could never win Ralph.”

        Don’t blame me if you are unable to decipher unequivocal and unbiased statements. Unlike you, I have no hidden agendas.

  2. Lololol… Don’t apologize!!!! Stop being a punk!
    Even though I agree with the PM on his first lawsuit because it clearly was warranted and had merits….. You can’t suck yourself into a hole.
    Hire a competent lawyer and restructure your company within the rights of the law.
    Use disclaimers and disassociate yourself with private statements which they have a right to voice responsibly . But we all know how Vincy people talk and act bold. But also educate callers on how to speak politically correct using words like ALLEGEDLY…….. Alyo don’t watch CNN lol

    1. Of course he would be quick to apologize but it may not work. This is not new. It keeps happening over and over and will continue until something is done. When the judgments are given, you ever see any of these mouth champs names in the judgments? Nope, only Dougie so its either he likes it or I dont know…..

      PS: Disclaimers dont always work eh….

      Dougie, needs to stop these shows being hosted on his radio station FULL STOP!!!!!

      1. If he stops , where’s the democracy…. Where’s the freedom of the press…. They just need to do their business responsibly and within the frame of the law……. SVG needs a balance of power and by stopping this would not be achieved.

    2. Vincy Lawyer says:

      Al, freedom of press et al shouldnt equate to freedom to defame, which seems to be the MO in SVG.

      But…You know what the bigger issue is, the untrained, lack of research, bias persons who host these shows.

      1. Yes I’m with you so that’s why I also said in my comments to conduct their business responsibly within the laws. We agree lol

  3. C. Ben-David says:

    Despite being on the air for years, NICE Radio has made no difference nor would it ever make any difference in the electoral prospects of the NDP.

    Listening to the ignorant and false comments of the callers and the propaganda of the hosts is all the evidence needed of why the ULP has won four elections in a row and destined to win the next election with an even bigger majority.

    I am no fan of the policies of the ULP — indeed I can think of not a single major policy that I support — but continue to believe that the main reason they are still in power is the ineptitude of the opposition which continues to storm out of parliament like a bunch of spoiled brats at the slightest provocation while failing to offer a single credible policy alternative to the ULP.

    The NDP is the ULP’s not-so-secret weapon of success.

  4. Ricardo Francis says:

    The manner in which Ralph Gonsalves threatens to sue/litigate can only happen in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Ralph Gonsalves, you need to prove liability and economic/financial damages, in your cases. You are scaring them like a big bad bully. […] You are an insecure, power obsess and power hungry little man. When you were in opposition you made some questionable statements for which you never sued. You are attempting at every street corner to stifle FREEDOM and DEMOCRACY. The MARXISTS love political correctness since it allows to stifle democracy and Freedom. Dougie, why are you so afraid?You wish that you can also control the population’s ability to think, Ralph. Go down to the court and file a Statement of Claim against me! I am not afraid of you, Ralph and the ULP. I am very fearless.

    Ricardo Francis, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in Waiting and in the Making

  5. Apologies again for something they always doing what the hell they think .
    They hear what the old saying goes bucket ah go ah well one day the ass will drop out they always saying bad things about the PM and APOLOGIZING how much they think he can take after all he’s human ,and also calling his family name in it yes PM enough is enough let them know their place they have no ADMIRATION at all for the you. PM well you have to let them pay the price because they will keep on saying and saying and keep on apologizing.

  6. Rawlston Pompey says:

    It is obvious that across the region, many hosting ‘radio talk shows’ have constantly allowed themselves to become complicit with callers hell-bent in making comments and/or statements, that for the most part are ‘…reckless, callous and malicious.’

    Though not a publication, many have exhibited a ‘Patrick Chokolingo mentality,’ spewing unverifiable and often hard to prove facts.

    When reputation is attacked or damaged or persons are subjected to public ridicule, those not starved of affluence are usually the first to institute litigious proceedings.

    Even here in Antigua and Barbuda, members of the ‘Diaspora community’ have caused some radio stations operators financial grief.

    Management of ‘Nice Radio’ might straighten out in-house hosts to make them sharp-witted, as well as making good use of the technology of a delayed switch.

  7. I live in the diaspora and encounter these characters who make these statements all the time; They are a truly scary bunch. You just have to see the video of the “protesters” chasing Howie Prince down the streets of Manhattan to understand what despotic maniacs they are. They are truly the NDP’s gift to the ULP and the NDP leadership encourages it! What suicide; I shudder to imagine these people holding the reins of power in St Vincent.

    1. Vincy Lawyer says:

      Yes and the leader of the NDP fails to publicly declare their distance.

      These internet crazies are inadvertently ensuring continuous victory in favor of the ULP because they are surely not convincing the independents.

      Computer bullies is what I call them.

      Desperation is one hell of a thing!

  8. Ricardo Francis says:

    VINCY LAWYER declare your true IDENTITY. I am not afraid to show who I am: I am, Ricardo Francis, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in Waiting and in the Making. You are like a fisherman trying to catch fishes in a basket with holes. Whose side are you on? Are there not statements made on ULP Star FM and WEFM that can be litigious? The whole can of worms need to be open. I am independent, but I smell a strong RED herring coming from your ship.

    Ricardo Francis, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in Waiting and in Making

  9. Foster Forde says:

    How can someone successfully sue a radio station because of what a caller said? I can understand if the host said something defamatory but a caller? What kind of laws do you have in St. Vincent and the Grenadines?

    1. Maybe it’s not the laws…. But the lawyers who are incompetent to defend such a lawsuit.

      What about if a bystander patron get injured by a fight in a nightclub…… Can they succeed in their lawsuit against the owner of the club? Think about that

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