Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar through her lawyers says she intends to make a claim against the paper for “substantial damages” for libel as the “unfounded allegations” have hurt her personal, national and international reputation.
In a 12-page pre-action letter sent by her lawyers to the newspaper, Prime Minister Persad Bissessar claimed the front page article entitled “Neighbours Flee”, was libellous and damaging to her character.
The article, published on March 27, stated the Prime Minister’s neighbour, Leon Achilleous, had put up his house for sale because of noise disturbances and the construction of a chain-link fence at her private residence in south Trinidad.
But the Prime Minister, through her attorneys, is denying there was ever any noise emanating from her private residence, and the construction of the chain-link fence was to protect and to prevent any possible harm to the Achilleous children.
The pre-action letter claims that the content of the article was “falsely and maliciously published and calculated to damage and defame the Honourable Mrs Persad-Bissessar in her personal and prime ministerial reputation and as Leader of the People’s Partnership Government”.
The Express reported Saturday that the letter extensively spelled out the Prime Minister’s academic and political accomplishments and stated the publication of the article brought the Prime Minister’s “good name and reputation into odium and disrepute have sullied her personal and political reputation and have disparaged her in the eyes of the public”.
It said that the Prime Minister through her lawyers also claim that the article in question represented “a continuum of a spate of publications…which has castigated the personal and professional conduct of the Honourable Prime Minister”.
The attorneys wrote that the words of the article could have led to a number of inferences, including that the Prime Minister was engaged in improper activity by the commission of acts of public and private nuisance at her residence.
The lawyers said that the article could also be understood to mean that the Prime Minister frequently hosted late-night parties and social events at her private residence, repugnant to her office and stature.
The pre-action protocol letter also emphasised there was no noise coming from the Prime Minister’s residence