Public Services Association (PSA) president Watson Duke has threatened to sue a fellow executive member, who is challenging him for the top spot in the union’s upcoming executive elections, for defamation.
In a pre-action protocol letter issued, earlier this week, Duke’s lawyer Kelvin Ramkissoon claimed that PSA 1st vice-president Ian Murray defamed him in a series of social media posts, earlier this month.
In the identified posts on Facebook, which cannot be repeated in their original form as it may constitute further defamation, Murray sought to explain why he allegedly decided to forgo support for Duke’s Game Changers slate in favour of establishing a new Labour Warriors slate to contest the election, carded for November 23.
Ramkissoon said, “You ought to have known that such erroneous statements made by you are indicative of malice and a clear intention to bring Mr Duke’s name into public scandal, odium, and disrepute and has lower his reputation in the opinion of right-thinking members of the society and the PSA.”
Stating that the allegations levelled by Murray were completely false, Ramkissoon said, “Mr Duke has always performed his responsibilities and duties as president of the PSA in the highest possible ethical standard and standards of professionalism and has treated employees and members of the PSA with due respect and as such, any allegations that Mr Duke has been disrespectful, irresponsible, and illegal are without merit and are untenable.”
Ramkissoon claimed that the posts caused him distress and embarrassment and irreparable harm to his personal and professional reputation.
“We underscore that no attempts were made by you to contact my client or otherwise verify the accuracy of the statements and allegations contained in the Facebook post and comment,” he said.
Ramkissoon called for the removal of the offensive material as well as an unequivocal retraction and apology.
Duke is also seeking substantial damages including the $7,500 in legal fees he incurred in threatening the lawsuit.
Murray was given 14 days in which to respond to the letter, before Duke files a lawsuit.