Skerrit and ministers sue US-based blogger and local journalist
ROSEAU – Lawyers representing Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and two other government ministers as well as a senior police official have called on a United States-based blogger and a local radio journalist to apologise and retract a statement made on a local radio programme about them earlier this month.
In addition, Kenneth Rijock and journalist Matt Peltier are also being asked to pay compensation and costs associated with the legal action.
The lawyers claim that Rijock, who resides in Florida, made defamatory accusations against Prime Minister Skerrit, Foreign Affairs Minister Francine Baron, National Security and immigration Minister Rayburn Blackmoore and Police Inspector Pellham Jno. Baptiste, who is in direct charge of immigration and passports.
The lawsuit alleges that Rijock was aided by Peltier, the host of the radio programme aired on April 20, this year.
The lawsuit stems from the on-going controversy here regarding the Citizenship by Investment (CIP) programme through which foreign nationals are afforded citizenship in returning for making a substantial investment in the socio-economic development of the island.
“Our clients instruct that it is transparent that your lies which you seek to dishonestly and maliciously disguise as premised on ‘alleged sources’, which simply do not exist, are grave and manifestly and maliciously calculated by you to paint our clients . . . in a bad and negative light.
“It is also clear that you have also calculated that your lies will cause considerable harm to Dominica and the Government’s Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP), and to expose the country, the CIP, and citizens of Dominica to possible retaliatory actions or sanctions by the international community,” the pre-action protocol letter noted.
The lawyers also said that the US-based blogger “acted intentionally and or with extreme recklessness because you made absolutely no attempt to ascertain the facts from our clients”.
They said that his allegations on the radio programme which he said “emanated from inside the government and later corroborated by an unnamed and unknown source of the United states is utter nonsense . . .”.
“In the circumstances our clients demand a prompt retraction and apology, and the payment of compensation and costs”.
“Any judgement which our clients may secure from the High Court will be enforced against you in the United States of America,” the lawyers added.
They said they their clients have also legal advice “on whether criminal proceedings can also be instituted against you and those who facilitated your grave and malicious assault on them and their reputations” through the radio programme. (CMC)