Chaguanas West MP Dinesh Rambally has threatened to sue the chairman of his constituency executive Wesley Pancham for defamation.
In a pre-action protocol letter sent to Pancham this week and obtained by Guardian Media, Rambally’s lawyers claimed that Pancham made the defamatory statements about Rambally in the run-up to the United National Congress (UNC)’s internal elections, last year.
Rambally claimed that he was informed that in September, last year, Pancham, a teacher at Munroe Road Hindu School had approached several constituents and informed them that Rambally was supporting a slate that was challenging Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar in the election. Persad-Bissesser and her team eventually won.
“The imputation made by publishing the said statements in their ordinary meaning was that the Claimant was an extremely dangerous man possessing tremendous influence and potential to organise and form cliques and to bully, coerce and betray the Political Leader of the party (as he had previously publicly voiced his support for her on several occasions) and also the Party and to act in bad faith and engage in behaviour that was inimical to the best interests of the political leader and the party,” Rambally’s lawyers said.
They claimed that when he confronted Pancham over the allegedly false statements, he (Pancham) reportedly admitted that he was merely repeating statements he overheard from someone in the hierarchy of the party.
They claimed that despite Rambally’s intervention, Pancham continued to repeat the statements.
“The subject statements were made by the Defendant and are maliciously false and defamatory and exposed the Claimant to contempt, ridicule, and obloquy,” they said.
In the letter, Rambally’s lawyers indicated that he was willing to forgo pursuing the proposed lawsuit against Pancham if he agreed to issue a public apology and pay $150,000 in compensation.
“The Claimant proposes to immediately donate the said sum of monies to various charitable organisations and persons in need,” they said, as they noted that he (Rambally) reserved the right to make a report on Pancham’s alleged conduct to Teaching Service Commission and the Ministry of Education.
Rambally is being represented by Jagdeo Singh, Kiel Taklalsingh, Stefan Ramkissoon and Rhea Khan.