Griffith threatens to sue PM over “baseless” statements on political platform

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Griffith threatens to sue PM over “baseless” statements on political platform

Political leader of the National Transformation Alliance (NTA) Gary Griffith is seeking compensation from the Prime Minister and the People’s National Movement (PNM) for “baseless” and untrue statements Dr Keith Rowley allegedly made about him on the political platform.

Griffith also wants an apology from the Prime Minister and the immediate removal of a live-stream video on the PNM”s YouTube channel of the party’s public meeting in St James on June 29th.

The former top cop made the demands via a pre-action protocol letter sent to Dr Rowley on Wednesday.

The letter was sent by attorney Shivanand Ramoutar, who represents Griffith along with Larry Lalla, SC.

Griffith wants compensation for the “injury to his personal, national and professional reputation and an undertaking that the statements will not be repeated.

At the public meeting, Rowley quoted the contents of the Stanley John report on the granting of firearm users’ licences.

John, a retired judge, was commissioned by Police Service Commission then led by Bliss Seepersad. John, also a retired judge, was tasked with inquiring into allegations of corruption in the issuance of FULs during Griffith’s tenure as commissioner.

Ramoutar reminded Rowley about the injunction which restrains him from revealing a similar firearms audit by retired police officers.

Ramoutar said the John report was also prepared in a similar manner, as Griffith was not given an opportunity to respond to adverse findings against him if there were any.

The attorney described the Prime Minister’s speech as a “defamatory, scandalous and unfounded attack with reckless indifference to the truth.”

Ramoutar said there was no basis, in fact, or law, for Rowley to publish, or cause to be published, the defamatory statements.

“You were aware at all material times that your speech would be broadcasted (sic) and that its republication would be widespread.

“The said defamatory statements were made with a view towards attracting public attention, encouraging mass republication by the media causing widespread damage to Mr Griffith’s reputation.”

The Prime Minister was told Griffith gave “firm instructions” to file a claim in the High Court against him, which will include asking for compensation and an injunction.

Griffith’s lawyers also contend Rowley’s statements were understood to mean Griffith was someone who could not be trusted and deserved to be condemned by voters in the upcoming local government elections.

The Prime Minister was given seven days to acknowledge the letter and 14 days to respond.