Prime Minister Gaston Browne says he is today retaining lawyers to sue the United Progressive Party and its PRO Senator Damani Tabor for libel.
According to a press statement from the government, the libel was contained in a press release issued by Tabor in a letter in his capacity as Public Relations Officer of the UPP.
It is alleged that the press release falsely and maliciously states in its headline, “Gaston Browne implicated in Bribery Scandal”, and proceeds to attach a document written in Portuguese from a Court in Brazil, along with a crude English translation.
However, nowhere in the documents according to the government was there any reference that “implicates” the Prime Minister as claimed by Tabor and the UPP. The documents say no more than that Casroy James presented officials of Mienl bank to the Prime Minister.
This presentation is alleged to have taken place at the September 2015 opening of the new VC Bird Airport terminal where the Prime Minister was greeted by hundreds of people.
Prime Minister Browne in the press statement issued on Friday said “this is not the first time that Tabor and the UPP have attempted to demean my good name and reputation in the eyes of the people of Antigua and Barbuda and the international community”.
He continued, “While I encourage political dissent and I am tolerant of political criticism, Tabor and the UPP have been going beyond acceptable cut and thrust of politics by manufacturing and spreading libelous statements designed, with malice, to scandalize my government”.
The Prime Minister said that this is where he draws the line at such malicious libel indicating that Tabor and the UPP will now have to answer for their actions in the Court. Prime Minister Browne also warned the media that they should be careful not to repeat the libelous content of Tabor’s press release since they would be opening themselves to similar legal action.
Prime Minister Browne noted that while the material produced by Tabor and the UPP speaks of an alleged attempt in September to persuade authorities in Antigua and Barbuda not to assist the Brazilian Attorney-General in his investigations, his government had been giving assistance to Brazil since the previous July, as confirmed by the Director of ONDCP, Lt Colonel Edward Croft, in a full press statement on 29 December 2016.