Attorney-General (AG) and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mr. Anil Nandlall, through his legal representative, Mr. Sase Gunraj, moved to the courts to file a Writ of Summons and the Statement of Claim, yesterday.
The AG, in Writ of Summons, is calling for damages in excess of $10M for libel contained in an article published on page three of the Kaieteur News, yesterday, under the headline ‘Attorney General Reveals Plan to ‘HIT’ Glenn Lall, Kaieteur News’; damages in excess of $10M for libel contained in an article published on pages six and seven of the Kaieteur News, yesterday, under the headline ‘Attorney General Reveals Plan to ‘HIT’ Glenn Lall, KNews’; aggravated or exemplary damages in excess of $10M; and other costs.
The lawsuit follows Monday’s public disclosure of a 19-minuute private conversation that occurred last Saturday, October 25, between the AG and a senior reporter at the Kaieteur News.
FALSE AND MALICIOUS
Additionally, in the Statement of Claim, Nandlall’s lawyer contends that Kaieteur News “falsely and maliciously” published, in unusually large fonts, the controversial article on its front page (Page one) and repeated the problematic assertions on page three.
The article stated that Attorney General Nandlall:
* has revealed chilling plans for the execution of Kaieteur News publisher, Mr. Glenn Lall;
* advised a senior reporter of the newspaper to get out of the Saffon Street office, which he described as a “dangerous place”;
* hinted at an intended hit on the said Lall and the establishment;
* was spying on his Saffon Street establishment; and
* would use other weapons against Lall in place of cameras, if he wanted to destroy him.
According to the Statement of Claim, “The said headline and article conveyed the clear impression that the Plaintiff (Nandlall) was engaged in unlawful and criminal acts and that he is unfit to hold the offices of Attorney-General and Minister of Legal Affairs and a Member of Parliament.”
The Statement of Claim continued:
“…the words published of and concerning the Plaintiff are untrue and were done so maliciously and is a part of an ongoing campaign to tarnish the reputation of the Plaintiff.
“…the Plaintiff will rely on several other disparaging and libelous publications of, and concerning him, by the Defendants
“…that the aforesaid libel was calculated to cause and did cause the Plaintiff great public embarrassment, held him up to odium and ridicule and to disparage him as the Attorney-General and Minister of Legal Affairs and Member of Parliament, both nationally and internationally.”
The Statement adds that the Kaieteur News article “in its natural and ordinary meaning” was understood to mean that Nandlall was: engaged in criminal acts; engaged in a plot to kill and/or cause serious harm to Glenn Lall; engaged in acts designed and intended to intimidate, scare and terrorise the Defendants and the staff at Kaieteur News; engaged in acts designed and intended to interfere with the constitutional right and freedom to publish their newspapers; is part of or has connections to a criminal gang that fire-bombed a printing press of Kaieteur News at Eccles in 2002 and killed five Kaieteur News pressmen in 2006; has committed several criminal offences; and is unfit to hold the office of Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs and a seat as a Member of Parliament (MP).
The damage, according to the lawsuit, were calculated based on these, as well as the fact that at the time the assertions were made Nandlall was: an Attorney-at-Law duly admitted to practice law in the jurisdictions of Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago; a member of the tenth Parliament of Guyana and was a member of the ninth Parliament of Guyana; the Attorney-General and Minister of Legal Affairs and the Principal Legal Advisor to the Government of Guyana; a member of the Cabinet of the Government of Guyana; Chairman of the Law Revision Commission of Guyana; an Executive Member of the Council of the Legal Education of the West Indies; and a member of the Central Committee of the ruling People’s Progressive Party (PPP).