Writ filed against Stabroek Newspaper

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, February 28, 2007 – The issue over the withdrawal of government advertisements from a private newspaper became a lawsuit yesterday with Permanent Secretary of the Office of the President, Dr Nanda Kishore Gopaul filing a writ against the Stabroek News.

The court order was reportedly served on Monday and calls for an interim injunction retraining Stabroek News from printing or naming the permanent secretary in the withdrawal of the advertisements.

In the summons, the PS stated, “I have been embarrassed both locally and by persons from overseas calling me about their concerns over my role as portrayed in the said publication.”

Dr Gopaul said notwithstanding the Government Information Agency’s and head of state’s statements that he was not involved in the decision to withdraw the ads, the newspaper continued to maintain its stand. This, he said constitutes libel and brings his character into disrepute.

A statement said the legal action was taken by Attorney Ashton Chase on behalf of Gopaul since a written request to Stabroek News requesting that it issue an appropriate apology to have an amicable settlement was ignored.

A supplementary affidavit was also filed in which Gopaul denied the allegations made by David De Caires, editor in chief of the Stabroek News, that he was misusing government finances to penalize the newspaper by withdrawing government’s advertisements.

The presiding judge in the case is Justice William Ramlall. Both Dr Gopaul and the defendant – the Guyana Publications Incorporated – will stand before Ramlall to plead their case next month. (Copyright Hardbeatnews.com)