KINGSTON, Jamaica, Wednesday February 17, 2016 – With just about a week to go before Jamaicans go to the polls, another lawsuit is being threatened amid a contentious election campaign.
This time, leader of the main opposition Andrew Holness is accusing Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller and Finance Minister Dr. Peter Phillips of defaming his character.
He is demanding an apology in three days, and payment to a children’s charity, to be named by Holness, as compensation for loss and damages.
Last week, Simpson-Miller threatened to sue Holness if he did not publicly say sorry for comments he made, which she said defamed her. He has given no such apology.
Holness’ demands were contained in a letter sent to Simpson-Miller’s and Phillips’ lawyers, from the Opposition Leader’s attorney-at-law George Soutar. The correspondence stated that on February 12, the two made statements that were published in the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper that were, “by implication and/or innuendo”, defamatory to his client.
The remarks related to Holness’ construction of a house in Beverly Hills, in the parish of St. James, and Soutar said they suggested or imputed that the funds being used were obtained “dishonestly, illicitly, illegally, and corruptly”.
The lawyer said the damage had been made worse because the comments were repeated.
Holness had sought to clarify any misconceptions about his house and “dispose of the smear campaign and innuendos of illicit funding initiated by the PNP”, in a statement issued on Monday evening.
He stated that funds from his accounts at Jamaica Money Market Brokers Ltd. and stocks and securities were used to finance the purchase of the land, and the construction was financed through savings, salary, suppliers’ credits, a home improvement loan, and mortgage.