POLITICS: Former President Granger sues Nascimento and newspapers for $2.6b over letters

-says has suffered `financial injury, constant distress, humiliation’

Former Pres. David Granger

Former President David Granger has filed a $2.6 billion lawsuit against dailies—Stabroek News, Kaieteur News and Guyana Times, which he says have all besmirched his character through letters published by communications specialist Christopher ‘Kit’ Nascimento.

In his action Granger said that Nascimento, accuses him of attempting to defy the will of the people in the March 2nd, 2020 Elections.         

The former president said that the statements, which he described as libelous by Nascimento, was published by the Guyana Times on May 23rd last year, both in its print and online versions.

He is seeking in excess of $100 million jointly and severally against the Guyana Times and its Editor-in-Chief Tusika Martin.

He then seeks damages in excess of $50 million against Nascimento whom he said also libeled him on June 5th, 2020, through the online news platform INEWS.

Against the Kaieteur News, Granger (the Claimant) is asking for damages in excess of $100 million jointly and severally against owner/publisher of the newspaper, Glenn Lall and its Editor-in-Chief Shamain Grainger.

The Claimant deposes in his statement of claim (SOC) that Nascimento on June 5th last, libeled him through a certain publication by the Kaieteur News in its print and online editions.

Against the Stabroek News, the former president is seeking damages in excess of $100 million jointly and severally also, against the newspaper and its Editor-in-Chief Anand Persaud, which he said published letters written by Nascimento.

Granger said that on June 20th of last year, the Stabroek News published a letter in its newspaper and on its website, written by Nascimento, titled `David Granger is without shame in continuing to defy the will of the people.’

In his 135-page suit, Granger goes on to reference a host of other letters published by the dailies in which he said Nascimento continued to libel him.

Exactly one month after the publication by the Stabroek News, Granger said that the newspaper again carried a letter written by Nascimento titled `Granger seeking to overturn recount that he agreed to abide by.’

All together, the former president’s suit against Nascimento and the three newspapers is pegged at some $2.6 billion.

Almost a year since the first publication complained of, the former president is now asking the court to order Nascimento and the newspapers to apologize to him and retract the statements which he said are false, malicious and defamatory and which he says impugns his character.

He also wants an injunction restraining the defendants and/or their agents from “posting, printing, publishing, sharing, recording or otherwise recreating and disseminating,” the alleged libelous statements he complains of.

He also wants the court to immediately order the news entities to permanently remove the articles from their online platforms.

Granger also wants     exemplary and aggravated damages, costs and any further order the court deems just to grant.

Granger said that contrary to what has been levelled against him, he had not lied to the country and not the APNU+AFC; nor was he “complicit in an obvious and determined decision of the APNU+AFC to remain in government regardless of the expressed will of the people” in the March 2nd, 2020, General and Regional Elections.

Through his attorney Roysdale Forde SC, the former president said, too, that he never “encouraged and or supported efforts to move to the Courts inclusive of the Court of Appeal to deny the Chairman (of the Guyana Elections Commission-GECOM) of her authority to produce the elections results;” nor did he attempt to “remain in office as President to rule without any regard or care regardless of the consequences to the country.”

The Claimant also denies that he has ever “used invented irregularities to claim a victory for himself as President and the APNU+AFC at the” election; or that he knew after the elections “that a majority of just under 16,000 Guyanese voted to elect the PPP/C,” from published Statements of Poll in the possession of his party.

Granger denies also, that he “consistently and dishonestly refused to accept the results;” or that initially or “from behind the scenes and later openly led his party to believe that they could cheat.

The former president in his statement of claim denies, too, that he ever “insisted regardless of the elections results, regardless of the recount, regardless of the CARICOM report, regardless of the universal position of international and local observers, regardless of the ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice and regardless of the ultimate consequences to his country, people and himself that he would remain in office.”

He denies, too, that he desperately held on to power in face of the defeat of his party at the Election; permitted his Attorney General to argue that the Recount Order was itself illegal or to argue that the Chairman of GECOM is obligated to accept the declaration made by Chief Election Officer Keith Lowenfield.

According to Granger, he also never attempted to throw out the recount which he agreed to abide by; nor did he fail to deliver on his promise to respect the decision of the Chairman of GECOM.

Granger said that instead, he had called in the Guyana Chronicle of March 5th, 2020 for calm where he said “Remain calm, we are awaiting a Declaration by the Elections Commission and as soon as we get word, we will make a public announcement. It is not possible right now…I crave your indulgence…patiently wait until the results come from the Commission and as soon as that comes we will be in touch with you…I cannot give you an announcement, we are all watching and waiting…right now, as I speak, verification is still taking place, so the numbers have not been verified and we cannot make an announcement until the Elections Commission make a declaration.”

He said he made several public broadcasts to the nation in which he communicated to the nation, the Diplomatic community and Civil Society that “As President of Guyana and Leader of the Government it is my policy that any declaration coming from the Chairman of GECOM will be accepted by the Government of Guyana.”

He said that on August 2nd, 2020, another candidate was declared by the Chairman as duly elected, “and the Claimant accepted the said Declaration as he always stated that he would accept any Declaration coming from the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission.”

The former president said that because of the alleged libel, his “personal and professional reputation and standing has been irreparably and severely damaged;” and that the publications  “were intended to and calculated to affect” him as a politician and a leader in the community and country “with  a  view  of  lowering  him   in  the estimation of right thinking persons.”

He argues, too, that the effect of the publications were intended to and calculated to damage his reputation and expose him to “unwarranted hatred, ridicule, vilification and contempt,” and to also disparage his record as President and as an honest person.

The former president said that the publications have caused him to suffer and he continues to suffer “financial injury, constant distress, humiliation, embarrassment, indignity, pain and suffering.”

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