ST VINCENT-COURT-Prime Minister threatens legal action against media house and talk show hosts

KINGSTOWN, St Vincent, CMC – Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves is threatening legal action against a local radio station and two talk show hosts for statements relating to monies deposited at a state-owned bank.

Gonsalves, speaking on a local radio programme here on Tuesday night, said that he would take legal action against the two radio talk show hosts as well as the radio station which airs two advertisements sponsored by the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP).

He is promising also to sue “those who prepared the ad”, noting “every time the ad is played it is a defamation”.

Gonsalves has already won an EC$430,000 (US$164,000) award from the owners of the radio station for an earlier libel case.

Gonsalves told listeners that the parliament had passed anti-money laundering laws and had established the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), which investigates suspicious financial activities.

He said persons depositing certain sums of money must file a source of funds declaration and the financial institution, even if satisfied with the declaration, “out of an abundance of caution”, may report the transaction to the FIU.

“That is the law. That is the practice. But I was waiting on them, not saying anything, and let then talk because I know they would have overstepped the mark. Now that they have overstepped the mark, I am going to lead my counter offensive on them. I am going to sue captain right down to cook to add to my retirement fund.”

The Prime Minister accused the London-based Strategic Communications Laboratories (SCL) that conducts the NDP’s elections campaigns of engaging in “a kind of Hitler tactics” to undermine the country’s democracy in aid of supporters of the economic citizenship programme that is opposed by his government.

“We will make this country inhospitable to (SCL). The ULP is a mass political party with thousands and thousands of supporters. And when these people come here, they will feel the wrath of the ULP masses,” he said.

Gonsalves also said that SCL employees cannot work in St. Vincent and the Grenadines if they enter the island as tourists.

“…This is not a banana republic… They have to apply for a work permit and Ralph Gonsalves is the minister of work permit. They have to send it to me. Then I will decide whether I grant them or not grant them.”