The Urban Development Company of T&T (Udecott) has threatened to sue Progressive Empowerment Party (PEP) leader Phillip Alexander for defamation.
In a pre-action protocol letter sent to Alexander, yesterday, Udecott’s lawyer Deborah Peake, SC, stated that Alexander defamed the State project management company in a video posted on the party’s social media accounts on January 3.
In the video, titled “A PEP Special Investigation into the cost of President’s House Part 1”, Alexander and a guest identified as Stephan Reis discussed the $89 million in renovations performed on the building for approximately one hour and two minutes.
Peake said: “Notably, throughout the video you made it clear that you were speaking from a lack of knowledge and did not even know the size of President’s House but nevertheless proceeded to make a number of false, ill-informed statement concerning the project and my client’s handling of same.”
Peake stated that the “egregious allegations” were wholly unjustified and malicious.
“You knew and/or ought to have known that the false statements made by you are indicative of malice and a clear intention to bring Udecott’s and its officers and employees into public ridicule, scandal, odium, contempt, and disrepute and lower the reputation of my client in the opinion of right-thinking members of society, its clients, contractors and consultants, Her Excellency, the President of the Republic herself as the end-user of the facility and the public at large,” Peake said.
Peake requested that Alexander publish a complete retraction in at least two daily newspapers, give an undertaking not to repeat the allegations, and pay Udecott’s legal costs and compensation for the defamation.
In the letter, Peake noted that in May, last year, High Court Judge Carol Gobin made strong statements on Alexander’s conduct as she ordered to pay businessman Andrew Gabriel $775,000 in compensation for defamation.
Alexander was given until tomorrow to respond to the letter before Udecott files the lawsuit.
When Guardian Media checked PEP’s Facebook and Youtube pages, there were no videos posted on January 3 but one which appeared to be a second installment, posted on January 7.
On January 10, Alexander and his party wrote to acting Udecott chief executive officer Tamica Charles-Phillips under the Freedom of Information Act for the scope of works for the project and copies of invoices for work performed.