PM Gonsalves wins defamation case

KINGSTOWN, St Vincent, November 28, 2008 – For St Vincent radio station, Nice, and one of their hosts, talk has turned out not to be so cheap after all. The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court yesterday ordered them to pay a total of over EC$430,000 (US$164,122) for defaming Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves’ character.

The judgement came six years after the Vincentian leader sued Elwardo Lynch and BDS Limited, the parent company of Nice, when the talk show host claimed that he used government money to pay for a family trip to the Vatican to see Pope John Paul II.

And Prime Minister Gonsalves has insisted it should be a lesson to those who try to destroy his character: “Don’t run a campaign against me based on lies and falsehoods which damage my character. I will take action,” he told reporters after the judgement was delivered.

Both Mr Lynch and the company will each pay EC$160,000 (US$61,068) in damages; EC$33,000 (US$12,595) for Dr Gonsalves’ costs in the High Court; as well as for the costs attached to his Appeal Court case, which amounts to EC$22,000 (US$8,396) plus interest.

The Prime Minister said that he intends to give the money to charity.