Thursday, 15th February, 2018 – Master of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, Fidela Corbin Lincoln has ruled that statements made against Prime Minister Gaston Browne by the United Progressive Party Public Relations Officer, and Senator Damani Tabor and aired Observer Radio Station can be submitted to the courts for defamation.
In the judgement claim, the Prime Minister is suing for defamation for statements made on Observer Radio on January 4, 2017. The judgement states that during a live broadcast, the Senator made libelous statements inferring criminal corruption, misfeasance in public office and a breach of fiduciary duties. These inferences, the judgement claims, were by way of innuendo directed to the Prime Minister.
The filed documents state that “this claim concerns alleged defamatory statements made by the 1st defendant (Senator Damani Tabor) on Observer Radio which are alleged to have defamed the claimant.”
Master Fidela Corbin Lincoln stated in the Judgement filed in the High Court of Justice that “I bear in mind however that in considering what the words are capable of meaning the court is not determining what the words mean to the court but rather what they could possibly convey to the ordinary person that a “lay person will read into words an implication more freely than a lawyer and may indulge in a certain amount of loose thinking”. I also bear in mind that the court should refrain from an overelaborate analysis and that the pleaded defamatory meaning is treated as the most injurious meaning the words are capable of bearing. More importantly, the court’s task at this stage is not to determine what the words actually mean but rather whether they are capable of the pleaded meanings…”
The Prime Minister and his legal team intend to move forward with his lawsuit for defamation.
Though the judgement claim is being brought against both Senator Tabor and Observer Radio, it was revealed that an indemnity agreement was made between Senator Tabor and Observer which some say, debatably, would safeguard Observer from any lawsuits resulting from his assertions on the radio.
In July 2017, the media group banned the UPP PRO until he furnished the company with a waiver and indemnity.”