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Mark Williams

Mark Williams.

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By Mark Williams

I am a proud Vincentian and founder of Pink Thursday an anti-bullying initiative. I will like to take this opportunity to share my opinion and thoughts on a recent issue back home.

Defaming someone is wrong and can have serious legal and financial consequences if a lawsuit is brought.  As a society, we must never endorse or normalized defamation, even if it is in an artform.

I am not a lawyer. However, after listening to one explaining how the law works as regards defamation, this calypsonian could have some legal consequences if challenged in a court of law. 

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines defamation as “the act of communicating false statements about a person that injure the reputation of that person”.  Slander is defined as “the utterance of false charges or misrepresentations which defame and damage another’s reputation”. So, while defamation is the general act, slander is specifically spoken defamation.  Libel is defamation that is written.

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By now every Vincentian may be aware of the recent and highly controversial song sang by a particular calypsonian, that caused intense debates and political discussions. 

This calypsonian may have defamed another citizen by calling them a rapist in his song and has not provided any facts to the public regarding this allegation.  It is a serious allegation that should not be directed at another without proof.  While we do have freedom of speech, there is a difference between opinions and lies.  Individuals should not push narratives based on falsehoods that support their own agenda.  If you have a point to make, do so but tell it with integrity.

I am calling on the leadership of the NDP and ULP to denounce defamation and slander. By doing so it will set a good example and send a clear message to everyone that defamation is unacceptable. 

The point I really want to get across is, please do not defame another person irrespective of their status in society. We all have a moral responsibility to do what is right. It is all fun and games until someone gets hurt or killed.  None of which I want to see happen. 

Please remember that our kids are watching, kids are a product of their environment. Let us teach them to do what is right by being the change we want to see. 

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

8 replies on “Defamation”

  1. Joseph Henry says:

    It has been said that,”free speech is my right to say what you don’t want to hear”.A society is in serious danger of tyrannical, totalitarian rule when free speech is not appreciated by those who are ruling.Calypsonian bring to light social ills in our society.Anybody who follows what is happening in SVG knows that, there is a problem with violence against women in our island.There are many people who carry the name Ralph that the calypsonian used in his song.Should everyone carrying that name in SVG take issue with the song? I cannot see how anybody carrying the name Ralph can prove defamation or slander by that song. Any Lawyer who says the Calypsonian defamed or slandered any person by the use of that name did not pass the Bar and is not fit to practice law.

  2. Where were u when d hard working workers of this nation were dismissed?…WHERE WERE YOU? I responded because u so passionate. U should have had a voice against every wrong that was done in this nation against other citizens and not b selective.

    Who r u protecting? Whats in it for you?
    Remember allegation was made, but I cannot remember if such allegation was cleared by any court.
    D hundreds out there who have similar name should come forth and sue so we can get to see who is d real one.

    They should go back and over haul all those calypso wid names in them and sue left, right and center.
    While your peice is carries legal weight, speak up for d others too.

  3. Urlan Alexander says:

    Mr Goats skin lawyer, my brother Ralph (not Ralph Gonsalves) has not in any way indicated to be that he is offended by one who the calypsonian sang about. Like most people I am wondering who “Ralph” is the calypsonian singing about. In SVG the name Ralph can be found in almost every community. However, It seems like you have an inside scoop of which of the Ralph is being referenced in the calypso. Whe the lawsuit comes I hat all the Ralph are subpoena to say how they’re being defamed in song.

  4. Percy Palmer says:

    What do you know about the entire issue? Ralph never went to court to defend the allegation, so where is the BEEF? Are you calling the police woman a liar?

  5. Take warning says:

    So what’s the reason for rape rally? Wa de reason fo nollipros? Wa. De reason fo reassuring kiss? are yo al house or yard slave?

  6. The writer is misinformed and I do not chastise him to seeking a bit of relevance and prominence where lacking. Lets deal with the issue of libel and slander which the writer alluded to. He certainly had an issue with Zion rendition. Let me address the issue with the person named in the calypso. How many person that goes by the same name in the world ? therefore, can any person bearing that name can have a legal standing in courts if he/she feels offended? The answer is no, the net is too wide to cast to rake in the shoal of fish, its indeed to wide a net to cast would not catch any fish and would indeed be unconscionable to do so the court of law. Accordingly, if the writer has nothing better to do he should not do like the monkey by exposing his rectum the higher up he climbs the tree.

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