KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Feb. 24, IWN — A cheque for EC$199,600 will be written Monday morning to pay Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves the monies the court ordered in a lawsuit against Nice Radio
“We can report that tomorrow morning we would be able to provide the necessary funds to cover the Prime Minister’s judgement, to cover the $40,000 for the legal cost, and the 5 per cent interest that was decided on by the court. It amounts to $199,600,” social activist Junior Bacchus told I-Witness News on Sunday.
“It is really amazing that the Vincentian public can be so receptive in protecting democracy. Sometimes, we are all critical of people for not doing enough. But, this time, Vincentians put their money where their mouth is,” said Bacchus, who, along with lawyer Kay Bacchus-Browne, last October launched an appeal to raise the money.
The money was raised through a serious of radiothons, that saw Vincentians at home and in the diaspora, and other listeners to Nice Radio, contributing to preventing the station from going into receivership.
Nice Radio was implicated in the lawsuit because of statements that Eduardo “E.G.” Lynch, then host of the New Democratic Party’s “New Times”, made about Gonsalves on NICE Radio nine years ago.
The defendants lost three appeals and were ordered to pay the monies and another court appearance is scheduled for Monday – Feb. 25.
“This time, they felt there was a need to protect democracy. We see the demise of Nice Radio as a treat to democracy and they came forward, putting their money where their mouth is. To do this in this kind of economy at this time, within four and a half months is really a tribute to our people. I am really please by it,” Bacchus further told of the contributors to the Save Nice Radio appeal I-Witness News.
Bacchus said some people have been asking about what the organisers of the appeal have done with the money raised.
“Tomorrow at 9 o’clock, I will go to the RBTT Bank … [and] will have a manager’s cheque written to satisfy the judgement, the legal cost and interest to the prime minister,” Bacchus said.
He said lawyers will advise him about the name in which the check is to be made out and where it to be delivered.
“But I know there are a lot of disappointed persons in this country as well that we have raised this money. They are disappointed that Nice Radio will survive. Nice Radio will continue to live on and God is always with us.”
Asked about pending judgements in other defamation suits the Prime Minister has brought against Nice Radio and whether he would be willing to raise money to settle those, Bacchus said:
“God is with us. We will take each step at a time. We will cross each bridge as we enter. God is with us and we are confident. There is no fear. When you are about to protect democracy, you can’t be afraid. You have to just move on.
“These judgements can fall, because there are many appeals as well. But we take each day at a time and that is how we will move forward. This thing tomorrow morning is a tribute to the Vincentian people at home and abroad for their determination to maintain freedom in this country,” Bacchus told I-Witness News.