by Linda Straker
- Claudette Joseph currently serves as NDC’s public relations officer
- Named as defendant in defamation lawsuit filed by Prime Minister Mitchell on Thursday, 30 July
- NDC calls for solidarity
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has described the decision taken by Prime Minister, Dr Keith Mitchell, to file a defamation lawsuit against Claudette Joseph who currently serves as the party’s public relations officer, as frivolous, vengeful, vindictive, sinister, and vulgar.
“We find it rather unfortunate that our Prime Minister would choose to waste precious time and money to advance a frivolous and vindictive lawsuit instead of focusing on the socio-economic issues facing the nation at this time, especially those brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic,” said a statement of solidarity from the party. “This sinister and vulgar attempt is solely to subdue someone whom he perceives as a formidable political opponent standing against public corruption.” The NDC is considered to be the main opposition despite not having a seat in the House of Representatives but was able to receive a little more than 20,000 votes in the last general elections.
In the statement issued via the party’s social media page on Facebook, the NDC urges the Prime Minister to “cease the vengeful practice that he has promoted for years during his time in public office and to use his position of leadership to unite and to bring our people together during this challenging period.”
“We call upon every reasonable, fair-minded, freedom-loving Grenadian to stand up in solidarity with Sister Claudette Joseph and the NDC. We must protect our freedom of speech and defend our fundamental rights and liberties,” said the party.
Joseph is named as the defendant in the defamation lawsuit filed by Prime Minister Mitchell on Thursday, 30 July 2020. In December 2019, she was given 7 days from 13 December 2019 to respond to a pre-action protocol letter from Prime Minister, Dr Keith Mitchell. The letter warned that if she fails to comply with the demands of the letter, a defamatory lawsuit will be filed against her in the civil court.
The letter to Joseph said that on 2 December in a live news conference from the headquarters of the NDC, she uttered words that can have negative effects on the Prime Minister who is the Minister for Finance, and is also the person under whose ministry the Citizenship by Investment programme falls. “You made certain statements on behalf of the NDC about our client which we believe are defamatory in nature and geared to impugne on his good name, his standing and reputation,” said the letter from the law firm of Nigel Stewarts and Associates. “These statements are therefore completely false and malicious in all respect and were intentionally made by you to cause damage to our client’s reputation.” The letter is demanding that Joseph, who is a lawyer by profession, cease and desist from repeating the claim; apologise and pay compensation in the amount of EC$350,000.
In that news conference were former Political Leader and Prime Minister, Tillman Thomas, and Joseph who was elected to the PRO role in early November 2019. They expressed concern about the Al Jazeera production called “Diplomat passports for Sale” a documentary which claimed that several Caribbean islands with Citizenship by Investment programmes are selling diplomat passports.
The segment about Grenada focused on the failed Grenada Sustainable Aquaculture Project which was to be located in St Mark. While speaking on the matter, Joseph said that the Prime Minister was also an investor in the project and directed members of media to watch a Youtube video where he is disclosing the information.
“Our client denies uttering those words but merely to say that he has invested in the parish,” the letter informed Joseph. The letter ended by informing Joseph that failure to comply with the demands of the letter will give the firm no choice but to proceed with legal action.
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