Lawyers for Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves have written to NICE Radio, demanding EC$300,000 in damages for statements a caller to the station made during a broadcast of the main opposition New Democratic Party’s “New Times” programme on April 13.
Station manager and owner, Douglas De Freitas made the announcement in his daily commentary Monday morning, just under a month after he apologised to Gonsalves after being made aware of the caller’s comment.
The caller, said to be based in Canada, had claimed to have document proving certain financial allegations against the prime minister.
On Monday, De Freitas, who has expressed frustration with the number of lawsuit the station has had to defend and damages it has had to pay, raised questions about the caller’s intention.
He further said that Gonsalves, his cousin, had demanded that the station pay EC$300,000 in damages, notwithstanding his written and oral apologies.
“… I have apologised to Dr. Gonsalves, both in writing and over the airways. But Gonsalves’ hatred for myself, NICE Radio, and democracy means that he is intent on persecuting and prosecuting me and this must be noted,” said De Freitas, who is a staunch critic of Gonsalves and his Unity Labour Party administration.
The caller had claimed that he had information proving an allegation that had been made against Gonsalves during the campaign for the December 2015 election.
“Dr. Gonsalves had refuted this and said he was requesting of the U.S. State Department to investigate the matter and over a year has passed and the nation has not heard a word from Dr. Gonsalves on this was-to-be investigation. Not a word,” De Freitas noted.
“The caller lives in Canada and was known as a supporter of the ULP and Dr. Gonsalves. So one must ask the question, ‘Was this a set up? Was it a set up?’ Another question [that] needs to be asked is, ‘Why is my family, immediate and my siblings alike, are targeted to be destroyed?’ Is it because we don’t support the socialist politics of Dr. Gonsalves who is our cousin?”
De Freitas said that the government acquired a property owned by his brother, Marcus De Freitas, and paid him one quarter of what it was worth.
He said the High Court has confirmed that the government undervalued the property and ordered full compensation.
“To date, that has not been resolved and my brother and his family have suffered both emotionally and financially. My brother, as you know, was once a minister of the government in the Sir James Mitchell’s NDP administration. He’s now actively a minister of the gospel and has given up on politics.
“This latest mountain before me and my family has to be seen as sheer hatred, founded on the paramountcy of a political party called the ULP, headed by Dr. Gonsalves.
“Am I not to criticise rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment that has seen senior politicians unable to visit countries without being protested against? Also, the inability to travel to friendly — countries to Canada?
He said that while he has apologised for the caller’s comments, “they pursuit is because ‘You all continue to have people criticising me on your radio station and criticism the government’.
“Is it not fair to criticise the destruction of our economy, agriculture and tourism amounting to some 300 [dollars] million a year that has disappeared from our economy?
“These are legitimate issues. Any public figure, including myself, by virtue of commenting on issues, are susceptible to criticism,” De Freitas said.
He cited his Christian faith, saying, “This mountain before me is not for me to climb alone but to be strong in the Lord and the power of his might.
“… I trust and hope that Dr. Gonsalves would open up his heart thought the proclamation of him being a good Catholic boy and accept the apology that we give him.
“Failing to do that, I only could see it down as one that God’s glory will come through and he will come to that place where his heart is soften. There is nothing else I can do. But I will continue to be truthful to the truth and democracy,” De Freitas said.
The comment complained about were made as activist Colin “Hitman” Graham was hosting the New Times programme.
I have respect for Dr. Gonsalves, but I do not agree with all of this suing. I cannot itemize the number of times I have read that Dr gonsalves is suing some entity. He is the PM and he should know that criticism is part of the game in these democracies where “free speech” exists. ANR Robinson once said that people are ungrateful; regardless of how much you as a politician do for them, they will still criticize. As a politician, as a PM, these talks are not personal; and if you think so, sue the caller, get the recordings from the radio station as evidence, but you cannot sue the station if a caller called and made allegations of wrong doing. It is not Mr DeFreitas making the allegations. In addition Mr Defreitas apologized verbally and in writing, and you are still offended? To crown it off, you all are family? No, no, no! Both of you are public figures. Ignore the ole talk, the allegations or take the caller to court and let him prove it or pay for his tongue.THIS IS NO EXAMPLE FOR THE YOUTH! You all need to grow up and put all this foolishness behind. SUE THE CALLER.
Freedom of expression is not freedom to defame!!!
But how is Dougie the one defaming the PM if a caller a show on his radio station made the comment? If you have a calling program on a radio station, do you have control on what is said by a caller? You would hope callers do not say something defamatory about anyone, but if they do, all you could do is apologize for the comments and disclaim that the views express by the caller is not necessary the view of the station, its management and advertisers, that’s all you could do. The only how a lawsuit should be brought is if the comment was made by a host of the program on the station, then a worthwhile ground for a defamation lawsuit is guaranteed. I assume you are a lawyer, as implied in the name, if so you should know better. The PM is just being vindictive in my opinion. Just so he knows, the views express here are my own and are not necessarily those of Iwitness News, there you go Kenton, you safe with me!
I never said Dougie defamed anyone but as the legal owner of the station, he will always be a named defendant in suits of this nature. This is just how the law is!
I’ m in total agreement with you on this, too much petty stuff
I totally agree with your sentiments!
Brown Boy, I agree with you. Only a nasty vindictive AND WEAK leader would sue a radio station for comments of someone who calls-in. The truth is obvious that this nasty man is doing everything to silence the democratic voices of dissent. He wants the world to believe that the entire country loves him when in fact his very UNDEMOCRATIC hatred of criticism indicates the opposite.
IWN is one of the only places, at least for now, that we the people have a relative freedom of expression with little fear of vindictive retribution…THANK YOU KENTON!!!
I have also been critical of the policy decisions of the ruling regime, especially the decision to build Argyle International Airport, but would never be sued for libel because I have never accused the Honorable Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves of criminal or other illegal behavior as countless callers to not-so-NICE Radio have done for years when they make undocumented claims of corruption and other nasty behavior.
NICE Radio needs to be held accountable for any and all unchallenged comments made in its daily programme.
Silence means assent.
The only reason you keep stum is because if you get exposed David your wife will lose her job and you will both be off the island or even assassinated.
You would love that, wouldnt you? If you only knew the truth you would know that my family and I have far more to fear from evil, ignorant, and intolerant people like you than from our Honourable Prime Minister or other members of the ruling regime.
Did Nice Radio host made the comments or a caller? Regardless to whatever political affiliation you are leading, I do believe this should be taken this far. Dougie is business man, he has no control over what callers say on his calling shows. It happens all the time. Therefore, why hold Dougie accountable? In the world of possibilities in calling radio shows this would happen now and then. Therefore, the PM should be more discreet. He is able to defend himself on any stage instead of running around suing for every little mis-utterance by a caller on talk show. If anything and he need someone to pay, hold the caller accountable, not Nice Radio. Is he going to suit Iwitness News if I make some defamatory comment on this forum about him?
Brown Boy USA, let me give you an example of a tort:
You are the owner of a parcel of land-your private home. You have many dangerous dogs on your premises. You have a person employed who is the grounds keeper. The premises may not be properly fenced or not. However, one day, your dogs escape due to perhaps the negligence of your groundsman and causes injury to someone passing in the government road?
Who is liable in tort for the injuries sustained by the passer-by?
I can answer you but a simple google search of torts liability will explain it all.
Brown Boy, Dougie is being held accountable because our WEAK PM hates democracy and freedom of expression. He wants to silence all opposition voices. The host even challenged the caller to provide evidence! Our PM loves our Libel Laws because he can vastly control voices of decent. Our PM wants to destroy Dougie like what happened to Edwardo Lynch, who often went over the top and said far worse things.
I often cannot understand C ben, He is critical of the ULP policies but he loves the Prime Minister???
You are right C ben, something needs to be done about people assuming vast corruption of the ULP when it is probably only just mis-management and legalized greed and such. However, sueing the radio station for this and this large amount of money for comments of someone that called-in makes the PM look weak, vindictive and small. What a loser!
Here are my Concerns and questions:
1. Douglas DeFrietas, you should never have apologized to Ralph Gonsalves.NEVER! NEVER! NEVER! I urge you to never apologize to Ralph and the ULP again;
2. The laws in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are weak governing these types of arrangements and or left up to all different types of interpretation. Ralph must be able to prove damages and liabilities to be rewarded compensation;
3, Ralph and the ULP are in the political kitchen and should be able to take the heat. Ralph wants to silence freedom and democracy.
4. Ralph Gonsalves and the ULP should try and sue me and I will properly demonstrate to them what suing looks like. Ralph knows what tree he can climb. I suggest that he should try climbing my tree;
5. Ralph is just an arrogant LITTLE Portuguese man who can only be a big fish in a small pond;
6. I ask that this question: How many Vincentians living abroad, whose telephones and computers are monitored by this administration from St.Vincent and the Grenadines?
7. The technology exist for monitoring telephones and computers and has existed for sometime. We are living in the Manuscript of 1984.
8. Remember, everything is demonstrably justifiable in accordance with the prescription of the Rule of Law. Anyone can threaten to sue you, it does not mean that they are going to win;
9. Freedom and Democracy is underseige in St. Vincent and the Grenadines;
10. Who is this caller from Canada?; and
11. Are there lots of evidences about politicians around the world with secret bank accounts?
There are so many more questions that I can ask and there are so many more concerns that I have, but I will leave that for another time.
Ricardo Francis, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in Waiting and in the Making
You certainly raise valid points. I too have been thinking along those lines, namely, that the ULP might be wiretapping the opposition or anybody else for that matter. They control the Judiciary and they are the Minister of National Security. So, it is not far-fetched to think this.
Right on Ricardo!
Dougie, I said it before and I will say it again: YOU NEED TO MAKE SOME SERIOUS DECISIONS AS IT RELATES TO YOU AND YOUR WELL-FARE and all the impacts on your family.
I do not see instances like these halting soon, noting the political climate in SVG. Please note that the legal owner of the station, you will ALWAYS be a named defendant in any law suit involving Nice Radio.
Now look, you are faced with yet another huge damages suit.
What will you do? Will NDP and its cohorts help you this time around?
…the plot thickens.
Why should Dougie be afraid when he has done nothing wrong but to provide a forum, like this, for people to express their opinion? I guess you only want to hear one side of the story, but you can keep the people down sometimes but you can’t keep them down all the time. Keep pressing on Dougie in the name of freedom and democracy because you are doing what you think is right for this nation. Stand up for your rights and let no man, woman, alien or transvestite silence you my brother…the struggle continues…
Then, he can allow these type of programs to continue and then bear the legal consequences, if any.
Dougie himself in a public recording stated his disgust at these occurrences.
He has the power to decide if he wants to continue being a part of continued litigation.
Brown Boy I am with you! Many of these people have a messed-up philosophy of what freedom of expression is. I would not like if someone “defamed” me on the radio, but I have then the right to fight back. Ralph is not a poor weak vagrant that can be defamed and has no means to fight back. Ralph is very wealthy and powerful but here he is sueing someone for defamation who had nothing to do with it. I can almost bet that it was a ULP perpetrator that called in to “set-up” Nice Radio. Brown Boy you know the difference between right and wrong and many of these people only know the right of the rich and powerful that can manipulate bad laws to thier favor with lots of money and influence.
This is bull crap.PM Ralph is against freedom of speech.
Freedom of speech means freedom to speak the truth not freedom to defame people. How would you like it if I publicly called your mother a whore (unless she was one) or called you a dirty, nasty battyman (unless you are one)? What would you do if I said that you used to rape your little sister when she was a baby?
Would you just smile and turn the other cheek?
C. ben-David, I guess if some calls your mother ‘a wh***’, as you said, and this was done over a cellphone conversation, then I would presume that you could sue the cellphone company because the cellphone company provided the medium by which this person was able to express such defamatory remarks? You guys are thinking one sided, and the laws of this country as it relates to these types of lawsuits should be re-examined. If the caller defamed the PM calling on the program, that’s not cool, but how could you hold the station at ransom for a comment that a caller made on a talk show program? The station has publicly apologize for the comments. If anything, go after the caller! This is crazy and beyond me, but then again…anything is possible in Vincy!!!
Brown Boy USA, your explanation of C-Ben’s example makes no sense i.e. suing the telephone company strupes.
As the legal owner of the station, Dougie will always be a named defendant.
You should perhaps do some in-dept or at least some basic reading of the law of tort in terms of liability and perhaps defamation.
With advanced technology, google will guide you well!
OMG it will be nice to be able to read something positive now and then. when its not about baby rapists, its the robbers and the killers or family drama :(((((
Why not sue the police woman who accused them, this is the most nastiest and hurtful thing to live with, and this will be to all his generation. If you cannot stand the heat, get out of the kitchen and if cannot stand the noise do not lead the band. Shame , shame.
If you know who the person is in Canada let Gonsalves go to Canada and sue him. Seeing as he is such a big brave man let him go to Canada. They will welcome him with open …. ….. .
Here is a man frightened of his own shadow, surrounds himself with trained killer cops yet wants to behave like a coward and a bully when it comes to suing the helpless.
De Freitas is legally responsible for giving this man in Canada a forum for defaming the Prime Minister.
The upholder is worse than the thief.
Does he then sue Zuckerberg for the negative comments about him on Facebook? Your arguments are pretty juvenile!
C. ben when it comes to law I cannot support you. I am more for freedom and to support what is right rather than who is more powerful and able to manipulate and influence. Riijord makes a good point. Brown Boy would make a great judge and G. T….got to love his comment!!! LOL Ralph should go to Canada…Brilliant! Welcome to Vincy where the laws and the courts are designed for the rich and powerful Plantation owners. Zuckerberg would love it in Vincy but I wonder…if it is like this Nice Radio case, would Ralph sue his pants off if someone made negative comments about Ralph that cannot be proven?
This will give you an idea of how to apologise ULP style.
Kenton, My friend, you have not published my comments. Why?
Probably because they will sue Kenton and not you because the comrade is terrified of you because you know where many of the skeletons are hidden.
Plus you are not an easy touch like Nice Radio, they are in SVG where the proceedings can be controlled.
Dougie I would say give it up but i fear what will happen if you do you one of few who there to speak out. The country is now so poor that fear rules the land where people are afraid to speak for fear of loosing whatever crumbs they are getting. Very pretty big fat man .
PM Gonsalves, This is a democracy and, in a democracy, some people will be for you and, others against you but everyone has the right to express him or herself on issues that they think needs to be heard. You should no be going around trying to stifle freedom of speech. It looks as if you can’t handle it.
Freedom of speech in SVG does not include freedom to slander and defame people. Falsely claiming that someone stole money from the government is a breach of the law of the law.
Like any other citizen, Dr. Gonsalves has the legal right to protect his reputation from libelous assault. If De Freitas who is legally responsible for anything defamatory said in his radio station wont pay, then let the courts decide.
Vincentians need to be put in their place for making up so much false stuff about other people.
C. Ben, You are one of the great minds in this chaos. But Politics is a dirty game. If you are thin-skinned, it is not for you. Half of the things that politicians say about each other are lies. They are all afraid to lose power.
Dougie for PM 2020!
Since when freedom of speech means freedom to make defamatory statements about someone without an iota of evidence? If I publicly accuse one of you of theft without having any proof, wouldn’t you seek some form of redress to clear your name? Or, maybe your name doesn’t mean anything to you. Some of you need to go look up the meaning of the word democracy before throwing it around loosely.
Democracy is a system in which all citizens have equal rights. Like the right to free expression of ideas including those that may be offensive. Short of physical aggression anyone can say anything that they want to say.
YOU ARE SO WRONG…at least in SVG.
The freedom to speak does not equate to the freedom to defame. If you wanna utilize that democracy, then the other person on the receiving end can utilize their freedom to sue you for any libelous and slanderous statements etc.
Vincy Lawyer, you need to do some more research on this subject. Or maybe as you say things are done differently in SVG otherwise facebook should have been sued a long time ago.
I am not wrong as it relates to the laws of SVG on this matter. As far as defamation occurring via facebook, there is currently a case that will be adjudicated based on the Cyber Crime Act. This Act includes defamation done via social media platforms inter alia.
As to naming facebook, as a party, perhaps this has not been tested yet but I do know that facebook has mechanisms in place where once an issue has been reported, it takes various actions. WHY??? It does so to protect itself from liability!!!!
Maybe the Canadian caller was a mole .
With a little help from the right people I think Mr. De Frietas can find that caller to his radio station.
This might be a blessing in disguise for the NDP and this could lead to the undoing of the ULP. There’s a large portion of ULP voters who just need a bit of a nudge to switch to the NDP.
If for some unfortunate reason Nice radio has to shut down because of this lawsuit, Vincentians who would normally vent on Nice radio would be come incensed because they’re unable to express their views and feelings . This sudden inability to be heard or for them to hear their representatives could be the catalyst for change in SVG..stupid as it may sound
I believe that their motive is to get this radio station closed, so that the outer world will not hear about their behaviour. Hope they are not trying to close iwitness news too. Why not sue the women who have accused you? They are the ones to be sued , this is disgrace to you and family. I do not know how someone can live with this, expecially when nothing is done about it. I want to know why this person did not call on the other radio stations, to make this comment if he is assumed to be one of their supporter? Something smells fishy, real stink. God Is good, we will all stand with nice radio.
Douggie has a valid point here. This info was out since December 2015, a threat was then made about getting US law enforcement to look into this. Nothing has become of this since then. Not a statement was issued as who found what, when, where, and why. Im in no way supporting slander, but shouldnt the PM come to the nation and tell us what the FBI found in looking into this matter???
dog walker, it’s quite simply really, the FBI never looked into that matter, I doubt they were even asked, remember we are dealing with a confirmed self confessed liar.
I support the theory that this may be a set up to try again to destroy Nice Radio and Duggie.
One thing you can be sure of a new online radio station/s will begin in the form of Internet radio and will be next to impossible to control because it can be operated from outside the Gonslaves plantation and not fall within the hate, spite and maliciousness of the dynasty.
Such a system will be a hundred times worse than anything DREG’s has so far experienced. callers and internetters will be able to say anything and everything without the control of SVG’s dynasty controlled special branch.
Internet radio (also web radio, net radio, streaming radio, e-radio, IP radio, online radio) is a digital audio service transmitted via the Internet. Broadcasting on the Internet is usually referred to as webcasting since it is not transmitted broadly through wireless means. It can either be used as a stand-alone device running through the internet, or as a software running through a single computer system.
Internet radio is generally used to communicate and easily spread messages through the form of talk. It is distributed through a wireless communication network connected to a switch packet network (the internet) via a disclosed source.’
Internet radio involves streaming media, presenting listeners with a continuous stream of audio that typically cannot be paused or replayed, much like traditional broadcast media; in this respect, it is distinct from on-demand file serving. Internet radio is also distinct from podcasting, which involves downloading rather than streaming.
Internet radio services offer news, sports, talk, and various genres of musicevery format that is available on traditional broadcast radio stations. Many Internet radio services are associated with a corresponding traditional (terrestrial) radio station or radio network, although low start-up and ongoing costs have allowed a substantial proliferation of independent Internet-only radio stations.
The first Internet radio service was launched in 1993. As of 2017, the most popular internet radio platforms and applications in the world include (but are not limited to) TuneIn Radio, iHeartRadio, and Sirius XM.
So fear not better things are in the pipeline
There is a difference between freedom of speech and maliciously slandering of someone. When and where does it goes from freedom of speech to slandering or deformation of someones character?
Duggie slandered no one. The caller at the time was told not to say that as there was no evidence of such.
Duggie apologised online, on the phone and on the radio and in writing, he did everything to make the public aware of his apology and in no way supported or condoned what was said by the caller.
Anyone can call in and blurt out something which once said is said. But if every possible is said and done to correct what happened there is nothing more that can be done.
For a legal expert to sue the radio station under such curcumstances is little more than a nasty spiteful and malicious person.
This is little more than a deliberate attempt to silence public opinion, free speach, and destroys democracy. It has little to do with what happened it is quite simply being used as a vehicle to destroy Vincentian rights.
The Truth needs no defense. to quote a popular musician (who had great insights into injustice and oppression): ” the truth is an offense, but not a sin, Is he who laughs last, Is he who wins”
what happened to dignified silence?
Many young turks who are leader in SVG today had level all types of allegations against late Robert Milton Cato. don’t forget pass because in politic cycle go roung and around. Yes Cato used his power intimidation and frustrated our life by searching our homes etcs, but never action no one for libel nor jail us for subversive matters. It was politic then! Today it is call silent of the lamb
Who is the culprit here the Radio Station owner if another person made a false statement about anyone? We see over the years those who say things are walking free because the ones who say that was hurt or reputation damage do not go after them but to the instruments which have no power .
We as Vincy heard of allegations far worst that what is said about PMS in SVG today.
Growing up under Market Squre (The People Forum) Many level of allegations was make against Mr Milton Cato to Mitcheal, even to point, That Cato was to sell SVG to Guyana.
from the young turks who are now leaders of today seem to forget. Sorry to say today our politic is calmer than to the time under market square when false allegations made against them.
If those men had same mind set as today leaders many of these same guys will be in jail for libel and treasonous statements.
Many who are crying out today do not have clean hand. Many of you who is speaking have no knowledge about the young turks.( Their motto at any cause necessary to bring down Labour government) freedom of information act just seek the police recordings of polical meeting in SVG and many of you will be asking how did we get cook in this pot. “No better the pot, no better the herring” smell the same. School children will say you did it first to our Milton Cato.” Remember the time”
Am I hearing right that C.ben-David feathers have been taken off? The man is from Layou and it is alleged that his wife works for the government, mind you nothing wrong with that. However, it is sober to be able to put a name to a face.
Man about town, I never said where he was from although I could do. The man is not what he pretends to be in real life despite knowing everything about everything, he is quite a nice person, his wife is really nice extremly hard working lady. There is no family, no daughter, no son, just he and her. Most of what he posts is a game to wind up people to hate him and what he says. He gets some kind of enjoyment and satisfaction from winding up Vincentians, which is not difficult I must say. It’s all a silly game on his part but what he says and does is grounded in nastiness and spite.
This is the article when we were promissed the matter would be forwarded to law agencies and we would then get to know the results. Instead nothing, not a word.
Kenton, start sharpening your battle axe because they will be coming for you soon.
r wouldn’t you and your boss just love that, i Witness News and Nice Radio, wouldn’t that just be what the dynasty would love.
The destruction of two real professional people and their families and all their friends and anyone who supports them.
Wouldn’t that be wonderful!
The total end to freedom of speach and opposition.
You got that wrong, my internet prosecutor. Who do you assume is my boss?
Mr Chance is sharp when it comes to these matters, which is why sometimes, some comments he does not allow to be publish.
You see smart professionals put in place mechanisms, whereby they vet responses etc before they are publicly posted.
Once Kenton continues to be vigilant, he will have no issues with this.
Be like Kenton. Be smart. Don’t do it for the likes!
I’m not doing this for likes, my dear presumptuous prosecutor.
Goodbye, farewell, I won’t be posting comments here anymore because I have no political affiliation in SVG and understand now that the moderator on this site has a political agenda. Good-luck to you all.
Vince lawyer I enjoyed most of your legal arguments, however
, I can see that you have a reasonable apprehension of bias when it comes to political issues in SVG. It is obvious that you are a ulp supporter and quite partial when it comes to the opposition party.
I call spades spades.
I have a right to vote for whomever I chose. Make no assumptions about whom I support because its neither here nor there.
However, I have always put country before party and will call out ULP or NDP whenever deemed necessary.
One thing for sure is that when I speak about the law, I always make sure I am legally sound. No political party will make this lawyer, unlike some of my colleagues, state certain things legally when I know better.
Most radio stations has a mechanism in which they can delay the airing of a speech if there is a need for it. I am just wondering if nice radio doesn’t have this device so to avoid individuals such as the one we are dealing with becomes nice radio biggest pay master?
Yes, The Delay System is a safeguard to control unwanted speech – or speech that may be considered libelous. So the caller can talk all and what they like but you can cut out certain parts from airing via the delay, in the interest of safe-guarding your station from being sued for defamation of character due to libelous utterances. They do it in Barbados, I once heard a popular program there call “Brass-Tacks” and they have that safeguard in place.
Any hoo-haw, it was Biggabiggs and his business, now Dougie and his station. Who is next in line? Vincentians will note these things and act appropriately in the next election. The Bajans just sent home all 30 politicians who never listened and paraded as “masters of fate!”
The PM has to be careful that this callous suing does not turn the citizens again him. That he does not lose favour with the populace which may cause a big swing in the next election. Prepare Dr. Friday, your time is coming to show what a leader with a strong back is!
Comments are closed.