Minister for Legal Affairs, Home Affair and National Security, Victor LaCorbiniere has announced that he is taking legal action against veteran broadcast journalist Timothy Poleon and Radio Caribbean (RCI) while warning that this is just the “first round” as plans are in place to take action against other media houses/journalists.
The minister made the announcement while delivering a statement on Radio St. Lucia at around noon today.
He did not specify what statements Poleon and RCI made, but pointed out that this is not an attack against the media.
“I will repeat that this is not an attack on the media…. but I am no longer going to sit by and allow what is happening in this country to continue down that road under the guise of journalism,” the minister said.
When contacted by St. Lucia News Online on Friday, Poleon, the host of the popular News Spin programme on RCI and news anchor for Choice TV, said he will not comment on the matter.
Below is the full statement made by the minister.
My fellow St. Lucians over the last few months there has been a concerted attack on the minister with responsibility of home affairs, legal affairs and national security in relation to a number of matters concerning my portfolio and concerning me personally.
I believe it would be very fair to say that since my entry into political life in this country, I have bent over backwards to ensure that the media has complete access to me and also that they feel comfortable in the pursuit of questions directed at me, and ensuring that they are able to have those questions answered.
Indeed, there have been instances when they have clearly gone overboard. There have been instances when I have been advised that there have been clear cases of defamation, and in all such cases I have been extremely tolerant, extremely flexible. The reason for this is that I believe that good governance requires the public figures answer to the public and to the media.
However, over the last few weeks and months it is clear to me that there is a concerted effort to undermine me in my personal capacity and in my professional capacity. Clearly this cannot be allowed to continue.
I have therefore instructed my attorneys-a-law to pursue certain legal action in relation to these comments over the last few months and weeks, and that has begun.
I am advised by my attorneys-at-law that with effect as of today that action is going to be started and served upon Mr. Timothy Poleon as well as Radio Caribbean.
This is just the first round. Others are also going to be included and served. And I have also asked my attorneys to pursue this matter as vigorously as is necessary to ensure that an end is put to this.
I will repeat that this is not an attack on the media. I have had an encouraged and good relationship with the media over the years. I have made myself fully accessible to questions. I have made myself extremely flexible and as I have said even in instances where on occasion, in one instance a book was written, and in that book there was some outright lies in that book concerning my own character. I have allowed that to pass by in the wash of politics, but I am no longer going to sit by and allow what is happening in this country to continue down that road under the guise of journalism.
And so I want the country to know this is not an attack on the media fraternity. I want the media fraternity to understand it is not an attack on them. It is not an attempt to muzzle them. It is simply that as journalists things have to be done properly and they cannot pursue this type of agenda and feel that it will be alright in the morning. It will not be alright in the morning. Thank you.