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Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. (iWN file photo)
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. (iWN file photo)
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Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves is threatening to sue The News newspaper over its reportage of comments allegedly made by physician Wayne Murray in connection with the government’s compulsorily acquisition of lands owned by Murray’s family in Richmond Hill.

The prime minister said on NBC Radio, on Wednesday, that his lawyer has written to the newspaper “and I have given instructions to sue for defamation unless certain demands were not satisfied”.

He, however, said that “because of my extremely high regard for” Simone Murray, the physician’s wife, “and all the circumstances” he would not sue Murray, who he alleged defamed him.

The Murrays have been using the media to try to get the government to address the fallout from its compulsory acquisition of part of several acres of lands that they own at Richmond Hill.

The land had been in Mrs. Murray’s family for 100 years and over the decades, they have rented parts of its for housing.

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However, the Murrays as well as their relatives who are owners of various portions of the land, have said that because of criminal activity and other plans for the land, they were moving this year to enforce years-old court orders for the tenants to vacate the land.

Amidst this development, the government acquired some three acres of the land, reportedly in the absence of a survey plan identifying the portion acquired.

The Murrays have said that since then, persons have intensified their trespassing and theft of his agricultural produce.

When reprimanded, the formers tenants have reportedly told the Murrays that the lands no longer belong to them.

Mrs. Murray has told iWitness News that she is a cancer survivor and does not want the stress of the situation to trigger a recurrence of the illness.

Land acquisition for housing not new

On Wednesday, Gonsalves said that the acquisition of lands has been going on for decades and in East Kingstown, where the lands are located, the New Democratic Party administration acquired lands there for public housing in 1987.

“… the founding father of Independence Robert Milton Cato also acquired lands for public housing. Indeed, so too did the colonial government. So this is not anything which is new,” he said, adding that the law has been on the books since 1922. 

The prime minister said that upon advisement, the Murrays’ lands were acquired for public housing and his government has dealt with those circumstances over and over.

He said he and Dr. Murray had a conversation three weeks ago in which the physician related to him that there were some persons who were behaving in a manner that was “unruly, criminal and the like”.

The prime minster said he told Murray he would address the matter because he does not support that kind of behaviour.

Gonsalves said he called the Commissioner of Police Colin John and requested that a senior officer visit and speak to these persons.

The following day, Saturday, the commissioner went with Assistant Commissioner of Police Benjamin and spoke to the persons, the prime minister said.

He said that the chief surveyor has indicated to him and he had received a complaint.

“They went and spoke to the persons concerned and as far as I know, everything has been calm since; I didn’t receive any reports.

“But yesterday (Tuesday), I understand that a post was made, purportedly by Dr. Murray online, with certain intimation of treats against certain persons unnamed. And the police, naturally in these circumstances, the commissioner acted.”

He was referring to the development, on Tuesday, when police turned up at Murray’s clinic on Murray’s Road, telling him that the police chief wanted to see him at headquarters.

Murray was taken to police headquarters where he was detained for several hours then released without charge.

Wayne murray
Physician Wayne Murray at Police Headquarters on Tuesday.

The prime minister said he does not know the process that was followed subsequent to the post online.

“I received a report and I know that Dr. Murray went to the police and they had, as far as I was informed, a conversation. And that is that.

“I want to just tell everyone what I know and what is the interaction which I have had in this matter.”

The prime minister said that it is a normal thing in the history of the country that lands are purchased and or acquired for public housing.

“The persons who live there or the persons who may go there have absolutely no right to disturb Simone, Dr. Murray or anybody in the family in their quiet enjoyment of that part of the land, which is clearly pointed out is not acquired.

“Similarly, I expect that all persons who are involved would refrain from threat and violence of any kind.”

‘clearly defamatory’

He said that he read in last week’s edition of The News a report on a telephone call that Dr. Murray is said to have made to a radio station.

“… and I was called certain names which are clearly defamatory and that defamation was published twice in The News newspaper and they have received a letter from my lawyer and I have given instructions to sue for defamation unless certain demands were not satisfied,” Gonsalves said.

He continued:

“I don’t intent to sue Dr. Murray for what he has published in relation to me, which publication, I am absolutely sure has defamed me. And I wouldn’t do so because of my extremely high regard for Simone Murray and all the circumstances. I’ve had a conversation on more than once with Simone and my relations remain very civil towards here and as I repeat, I hold her in very high regard.

“I just want inasmuch as this issue, I have been advised, is being broadcast about so that I can put the situation very straight and explain the perspective that I have in this particular matter.”

17 replies on “PM threatens to sue newspaper over landowner’s comments”

  1. When we strive to live in a country governed by the rules of law, instead of the rules of men live will be so much better for all of us in this country.
    It is so sad Dr. Gonsalves is always being defamed by others whenever they say something about him. I wonder how much people he defamed and they never threatened to sue him or sued him? He needs to shut up and take his blows like a mature head of state. He is too damn petit and Massa centric.
    Anyway, is time enough for him to stop acting so highly against underprivileged vincentians while he allows privileged vincentians to act with impunity against others without privilege. I wonder when he is going to used the police force to make his Privileged Buddy , Johnathan Palmer, to move his blocks out of the public road in Choppins, so that people can get access to their home. As a lawyer, scholar, head of state, political scientist and whatever else he is, he should be well aware that he, his government and his Privileged Buddy, Johnathan Palmer, are in clear violation of the human rights of the people of Choppins by blocking their access to their homes.
    Me ah waite on yo Massa Prime Minister fo stop violating our human rights wid yo Privileged Buddy, Johnathan Palmer.
    And ah time yo stop sue people for expressing their rights to free speech.

  2. This is one sick dude ruling like a dictator at every turn he’s ready to shut people up from saying anything about him how could you trust a man like this he seems to be a back ally thug that so much to day coming soon the people will wake up.

  3. Nathan Jolly Green says:

    What a disgusting situation, it really is time for a change of political party, political leadership and dismantling of the dynasty.

  4. Nathan Jolly Green says:

    It seems to me there are several ways of controlling the media by the ULP government and its leadership. By the placing of fee paying adverts from state owned companies with local news papers and online media. By bullying and nasty behaviour during news report meetings. Frightening the media with continual threats of suing them if they report what someone else says. We cannot go on like this it really is time for us to remove this man. Lets get rid of the eighty protection police officers that work around the clock in shifts to protect him. All this nastiness has to stop. Son Mitchel never walked with body guards, because he was loved and nobody wanted to harm him.

    The Murrays have been wronged, they have the right to speak out, and the media has a duty to report what they are saying. To sue the News and not Dr Murray is another sign of cowardly behaviour.

  5. This cankerous cantankerous old man it would appear seeks to intimidate the media at every turn, however, the facts in the case in question are very clear for us to see in relation to that Vincentian family.

    The ULP and its leadership in its bad treatment of the family is very much in keeping with communist ideology.

    See how that story matches up with this one from Communist China. Note: A financially crippled China goes back to its communist roots by taking over rich people’s private Property

  6. There is never any mention of any price offering for this “acquired” land. Anyone who has a parel of land in SVG has to wonder when that land will be “acquired” by this government. I have heard now of many who have lost thier land to this government. Who is next? Maybe you!

  7. What a nasty, disgusting, full of guile and hatred is this man for a nation’s leader. He is lower than garbage. So he can call others nasty names but he shouldn’t be referred to. He is such a low life. Vincentians need to get rid of him. He is dangerous.

  8. Elma Gabrie-Mayers says:

    Oh come on Mr. PM, Please can you Grown-Up Sir? Rise beyond this tin-skin threat of suing as an attempt to the censoring of free speech. Just explain the truth of the matter, rectify and apologize to the people if essential and move on.

  9. To hold someone in high regard yet being unable or unwilling to inform them that their land was being acquired; the new boundaries and how much is the compensation. Fool ah talk but nah fool ah listen. Rewarding bad behaviour.

  10. It is always a sad thing when the head of state uses his power to sue citizens of his country because they are upset because he has taken from them!. I wonder what our PM would do if someone confiscated his property for NO GOOD REASON?
    Just out of the blue the Murray’s get a letter:
    “Surprise we have taken your land!”


  11. Sanford Charles says:

    If this News Paper was to investigate the Queensbury Housing Development “” Scam on the taxpayers of SVG “”
    If they were to report their findings.

    Will Ralph Gonsalves threaten to Sue ?

  12. Is it true , that this is the only country that the citizens are being threatened and sued by the same people who these citizens employed ??. Shameful.

    1. Nathan 'Jolly' Green says:

      Grace, Charisma disguises psychopaths. Although you don’t have to be a psychopath to be charismatic, many psychopaths are charming, and the main reason for this is that their charm hides their antisocial tendencies, so they manage to get away with it. Egocentricity, deceit, manipulativeness, and selfishness are key career advancers in both politics and management, and many leaders rise to the top motivated by their own problems with authority. Although being in charge is a good antidote to having a boss, if you cannot be managed you can probably not manage others either — this is why Rupert Murdoch and Donald Trump spent very little time working for others, but too much time managing others.

      Charisma fosters collective narcissism: People are charmed by others only when they share their core values and principles. In line, charisma facilitates ideological self-enhancement: our adoration for someone who expresses our own beliefs (usually better than we are capable of doing ourselves) is a socially acceptable way to love and flatter, not only ourselves, but also our “tribe”. In other words, we would not find someone charismatic if their vision didn’t align with ours, so the only transformation charismatic leaders can attain is to unite their followers by turning each of them into a more radical version of themselves: the only way of being fully committed to a cause is to be fully opposed to another.

      Charisma Grace is not the experience that Bigger Bigs and dozens of other have experience, hate spite, malice.

      Miriam Webster Dictionary says
      Definition of malice
      1: desire to cause pain, injury, or distress to another
      //an attack motivated by pure malice
      2: intent to commit an unlawful act or cause harm without legal justification or excuse
      //ruined her reputation and did it with malice

      MALICE, MALEVOLENCE, ILL WILL, SPITE, MALIGNITY, SPLEEN, GRUDGE mean the desire to see another experience pain, injury, or distress. MALICE implies a deep-seated often unexplainable desire to see another suffer. //felt no malice toward their former enemies// MALEVOLENCE suggests a bitter persistent hatred that is likely to be expressed in malicious conduct. //a look of dark malevolence// ILL WILL implies a feeling of antipathy of limited duration. //ill will provoked by a careless remark// SPITE implies petty feelings of envy and resentment that are often expressed in small harassments. //petty insults inspired by spite// MALIGNITY implies deep passion and relentlessness. //a life consumed by motiveless malignity// SPLEEN suggests the wrathful release of latent spite or persistent malice. //venting his spleen against politicians// GRUDGE implies a harbored feeling of resentment or ill will that seeks satisfaction. //never one to harbor a grudge//

      Thanks for the nudge Grace

  13. Ralph you are too thin skin. The only reason why you are expropriating the Murray’s property is to help lukewarm Brown win the marginal constituency of East Kingstown. The whole idea is political, do the right thing and respect the owners right to use their property as they see fit. If you feel so much empathy for the landless, why don’t you settle them on your own property in Gorse?

  14. Very unfair mr PM,,why u couldn’t take Russell land to develope pirate of the Caribbean for tourism???u afraid of him?,,but u can bully the murrey’s because they may not support u?,like u did to bigger bigs and marcus defritas,,u making history in the negative way,,we will remember this,,u need to do much better,,stop scaring people by sewing them to shut them up,,u getting very disgusting!

  15. Jolly, understand what you said, I can’t wait to see the back of this evil wicked dictator. Why not sue his rape accusers? Until he do so this will haunt them for life and his generations to come. So shameful this will be for them.

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