State Minister Joseph Harmon has sent a Lawyer’s Letter to the Kaieteur News, threatening legal action should the Publication refuse to correct a series of articles that the Minister has deemed libelous.
Minister Harmon confirmed on Thursday that his Attorney, Mr. Roysdale Forde, has sent Kaieteur News’ Publisher Glen Lall the letter.
Harmon confirmed too that he is seeking damages for libel.
When asked about the exact amount that he may be seeking, Mr. Harmon said “I cannot recall the exact amount but it is a sum that is going to be paid to a charity of my own choice.”
When further quizzed on the likelihood of a success in the matter, Harmon told reporters “I don’t want to deal with feelings, I am telling you now what has happened and I’m dealing with facts. That is about all I’m prepared to say,” he added.
Efforts to contact Kaieteur News Publisher Glen Lall were unsuccessful. However, when Editor-in-Chief, Adam Harris was contacted, he confirmed that the Publication had received the letter but denied that the company was faced with an immediate lawsuit.
Mr. Harris said “We have the letter and we have to study it. Mr Lall is not in the country and I don’t want to do or say anything that would create a situation that we would regret.”
He said when Mr. Lall returns the company will talk about its defence.
Harris said Minister Harmon is contending in the letter that a series of articles were published by the Newspaper which have caused damaged to his reputation. He said the Minister is asking that corrective action be taken, or failure to do so would result in him suing the publication.
Harris would not confirm whether one of the corrective actions would be to issue retractions to the articles named in Harmon’s letter. “I don’t know if we can publish retractions to all the articles he has deemed libelous,” he added.
Kaieteur News came in for criticism from Harmon following several articles on a trip to China and his dealings with Chinese logging company – Bai Shan Lin.
The Newspaper was also the first to release a photograph of Harmon aboard a private jet in China with a representative of Bai – Shan – Lin, which later led to calls for his resignation amid allegations of corruption.
Harmon had claimed that the articles were erroneous and issued several statements clarifying his dealings.