Phillip Edward Alexander, the now former leader of the Progressive Empowerment Party (PEP) has been ordered to pay $850,000 in compensation to Patriotic Front political leader Mickela Panday for defamation.
The order was handed down by High Court Judge Devindra Rampersad as he upheld Panday’s case against Alexander, last Wednesday.
The matter stemmed from a live video which was posted on Alexander’s personal Facebook page and one associated with the PEP on July 17, 2020.
Alexander commented on Panday’s party reversing its decision to contest the 2020 general election.
In his judgment, Justice Rampersad ruled that Alexander’s comments were defamatory.
He said, “The court is of the respectful view that the statement was malicious and was designed to sensationalise an obvious untruth that was fabricated for personal political gain and to denigrate and disparage the claimant.”
Justice Rampersad also ruled that Alexander’s statement did not qualify as responsible journalism as claimed.
“There was no source of the information that was given in the video nor did it seem that there were any steps whatsoever taken to verify the information,” he added.
Justice Rampersad ordered $600,000 in general damages and $250,000 in exemplary damages.
His assessment was based on her family’s name she inherited from her father, former prime minister Basdeo Panday, and her unblemished personal reputation as an attorney and politician.
Alexander was also ordered to pay $97,750 in legal costs for the lawsuit.
This the second defamation Alexander has been ordered to pay.
Last month, he was ordered to pay $525,000 in compensation to Finance Minister Colm Imbert after he accused him of purchasing an exotic Swedish sports car for US$2 million using foreign exchange he obtained based on his Cabinet position.
Alexander has since announced his decision to appeal the outcome of Imbert’s case.
In 2019, Alexander was ordered to pay $775,000 in compensation to businessman Andrew Gabriel.
Gabriel’s case against Alexander centred around statements made on a radio show on February 8, 2017.
On Sunday, Alexander announced his retirement from active politics.