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Trinidad: PM files lawsuit against opposition legislator


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Moonilal (left) and PM Rowley

(CMC) – Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley has filed a lawsuit against opposition legislator, Dr. Roodal Moonilal, following statements posted on social media regarding what has been dubbed here as the “fake oil” scandal.

The attorneys for Prime Minister Rowley, who is seeking damages for slander and libel and a retraction of the allegations, filed the claim form and the statement of case on Tuesday.

The attorneys are claiming that Moonilal last October had repeated outside of the Parliament, where he enjoyed parliamentary privilege, statements regarding the transfer of funds to a United States bank.

They said the statements were made on Facebook and that as a well-known politician and attorney, Moonilal knew, or ought reasonably to have known, that the defamatory words would have attracted maximum attention in the major news networks, locally, regionally and internationally, and that they would have been re-published.

“The defendant uttered the statements in a calculated attempt to bring the claimant’s integrity, honesty and honour into disrepute while knowing that there was no truth to what was being said by him and /or with reckless disregard of whether the words were true or not,” the lawyers said in their statement of claim.

The prime minister’s attorneys, which include Senior Counsel Douglas Mendes, say their client is also seeking a personal apology from Moonilal and an acknowledgement that it has been agreed that a substantial sum in damages will be paid to their client.

In addition, they are also seeking an injunction preventing Moonilal or his servants from further speaking, writing, printing, broadcasting or circulating any similar defamatory words about Prime Minister Rowley.

In the statement of claim, the attorneys say that their client has been “gravely damaged in his character and reputation and has suffered considerable distress and embarrassment” and that Prime Minster Rowley is “well known and respected both nationally and internationally as a politician and a leader”.

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