PORT OF SPAIN –– Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley has commenced legal proceedings against Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar over her Facebook postings in which she stated that he fabricated “emails and falsely made slanderous accusations to further his political career”.
Rowley’s attorney Faris Al-Rawi has given the prime minister until 4 p.m. on Monday to respond or face further action “to vindicate our client’s reputation”.
Al-Rawi said he was instructed to demand that the prime minister remove the offending words from her Facebook page; that she issues an immediate and unequivocal apology in terms to be approved by him (Al-Rawi) and published on the Facebook page with prominence commensurate to the original offending post; that she gives an undertaking not to repeat the offending or similar words and that she makes a proposal for the payment of a substantial sum in damages to our client to compensate him for the injury to his reputation.
Persad-Bissessar made the offending statements following her release of the letter from her Calfornian-based attorney Jack Russo, stating that there was no match in the Google-provided email exchanges between herself and the former attorney general provided by Google for the prime minister and former attorney general Anand Ramlogan in the month of September, 2012, and the emails read into the parliamentary records by Rowley in May, 2013.
The pre-action protocol letter, dated May 13, 2015, noted that the prime minister posted the following comment on May 11:
“This letter proves Mr Rowley created fake emails for bogus charges. He must apologize to all the people he lied to. At the opening of Parliament, as the entire nation watched, Mr Rowley calculated read fake emails and made shocking and dishonest allegations for the purpose of advancing his own political career. Mr Rowley believes his political advancement is more important than the truth . . . . Mr Rowley was suspended because he fabricated documents.”
The pre-action protocol letter also noted that the following day the prime minister, deflecting criticisms on the errors contained in the Russo letter, further stated: “There could be 100 days in September and it wouldn’t change the fact that Keith Rowley fabricated emails and falsely made slanderous accusations to further his political career.”
The pre-action protocol letter extensively quoted the Hansard of Rowley’s presentation during the debate at which he presented the emails, stating that Rowley had been extremely careful in his presentation in Parliament, and in subsequent presentations and interviews to set out how he came to be in possession of these emails, to point out that he had conducted a preliminary investigation before passing the said emails to those with a much greater capacity than him to conduct further investigations and thereafter by way of his motion, he called on the director of public prosecutions and the Integrity Commission to launch investigations.
“Our client’s demand has always been for an investigation to be conducted into the content of the e-mail, to date, some two years later, that investigation is still ongoing,” the pre-action protocol letter stated.
It said in total disregard of all this, the prime minister’s posts suggested that Rowley created, fabricated fake emails containing dishonest allegations for the purpose of advancing his own political career and that he was suspended from Parliament because he personally created or fabricated documents which contained serious false charges.