Speaker of House threatens to sue Trinidad Express newspaper

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, Thursday November 28, 2013, CMC – The Speaker of the House has threatened to take legal action against the Trinidad Express newspaper following the publication of articles questioning his qualifications.

Wade Mark’s attorney, Larry Lalla, on Wednesday issued a pre-action protocol letter to reporters Denyse Renne and Camille Bethel.

The articles which are the centre of the issue were published on Sunday, November 24, headlined “Question over Mark”; and on Tuesday, November 26, headlined “A trail of urgent e-mails”.

In a five-page letter, Lalla pointed to Mark’s professional career from 1991 to present, and said he had always “conducted himself with the highest integrity and has always taken care to ensure that his conduct in public office and in his private life was above reproach”.

Lalla is contending Mark’s “reputation” as a person in public life “has been severely compromised by the articles”. 

According to Lalla, his client “maintains, that at all times he was concerned to abide by and did abide by all of the UWI’s (University of the West Indies’) regulations for students reading for his degree and at no time did he solicit leniency from the UWI or seek any illicit concession from the UWI”.

Mark, who was elected Speaker in 2010 after the People’s Partnership Government assumed office, is also threatening “an injunction to restrain” the Express newspaper from “further publishing the said or any similar slander” against him.

Lalla is also contending the newspaper “displayed a reckless and wanton disregard for the truth” by publishing the articles, which he felt “constitute a flagrant act of irresponsible journalism”. He warned of possible High Court action, costs, damages and an injunction to restrain the newspaper from writing anything about Mark. 

On behalf of his client, Lalla is asking for an unqualified apology, an undertaking not to repeat the allegations or any similar allegations, compensation for injury caused to his reputation and the payment of legal costs. 

The Trinidad Express has 14 days to respond. Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)