Friday 17 November, 2017

A&V files suit against Opposition Leader

A&V Oil and Gas has filed a lawsuit against Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

A release from A&V's attorney Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj said Hanif Baksh, A&V's  Chief Executive Office, filed a claim for libel against the Opposition Leader in the San Fernando High Court. 

The lawsuit stems from statements the Opposition leader made on two occasions while addressing members of the United National Congress on September 10 and 18.

"The claim for damages is also in respect of the defamatory statements which she published and continues to publish on Facebook, Youtube and Social Media," the release said.

The claim seeks an order of the High Court for her to pay exemplary or punitive damages to the Claimants. 

"The claim and Statement of Case allege that the Internal Audit Report of Petrotrin upon which she relied to make the defamatory statements was on the face of the report stated to be a preliminary and incompleted Report and that the information contained therein had to be verified," the release said.

"Petrotrin had subsequently stated that the findings in the Report were preliminary and had to be verified by an independent committee which Petrotrin has appointed to find out if those findings could be confirmed."

When served with a pre-action protocol letter on September 15, Persad-Bissessar's attorneys said she had a duty to examine the actions of the Government of the day. 

"As a Member of the Parliament, and the Leader of the Opposition, our client has a public and constitutional duty to critically examine the actions of the government of the day, which includes the manner of governance, performance and transparency of the affairs and dealings of state-owned enterprises, including PETROTRIN, and any third-party contractors, inclusive of your clients," they said in response.

A&V is, however, is rejecting Persad-Bissessar's defence and asking the court to dismiss it.

"The case and Statement of Case allege that there is no legal or factual basis for the defences that are being put forward by Mrs Bissessar of Justification, Fair Comment and Qualified Privilege," the release said.