In a brief statement yesterday, the Office of the President said His Excellency and his wife, Reema, had engaged in a “private and confidential relationship with Senior Counsel concerning matters that (had) arisen recently in the public domain.”
“Their Excellencies have been advised by Senior Counsel not to disclose the nature and content of those discussions emanating thereof. The action of Their Excellencies will be guided by Senior Counsel’s advice on said matters,” the three line statement concluded.
On Wednesday, the President’s House, in a media release, disclosed that the Office of the President had obtained legal advice from senior counsel, “regarding certain offensive statements recently made by a radio talk show host.”
President’s House stated a pre-action protocol letter was issued to Price two Fridays ago, “in respect of certain defamatory statements.” This, President’s House said, was done, “on behalf of Her Excellency Reema Carmona and the Office of the President.”
The full text of the letter from the President has not been released by President’s House. The allegedly defamatory remarks have also not been identified. Up to yesterday, Price, on her morning radio programme on RED 96.7 FM was adamant that she received no lawyer’s letter.
Questions sent to the President’s House information officer Theron Boodan on the issue were not answered and instead the three-line statement was issued indicating the President and Mrs Carmona will not be speaking on the matter, on the advice of Senior Counsel.
On Thursday, former President George Maxwell Richards described as “highly unusual” the decision of the President to issue the legal letter threatening lawsuit against Price.
Questions were also raised on whether the State is funding the intended legal action and whether the alleged defamation against Mrs Carmona extended to the President and the Office of the President.
In its statement on Wednesday, President’s House said, “Unwarranted attacks which cross the line into defamation and which seek to bring members of the family of His Excellency the President and by extension the Office of the President into disrepute will not be tolerated.” Legal sources said for defamation to be proved, the words complained of must be “untrue.”
“It is difficult to say if criticisms of someone’s dress can be construed as defamation unless we know what are the words complained of,” our legal sources concluded.
Price did not respond to calls and messages.