Member of Parliament Jermaine Figueira, on Wednesday, was handed down a winning judgement against Guyana Chronicle, relative to a defamatory article that was published in the newspaper headed “Fraud and Criminality”, on the January 24, 2021. The judgement was handed down by Madam Justice Roxanne George- Wiltshire, S.C., who upheld Figueira’s claim that the article was defamatory to him. In the same article, Joseph Hamilton, Minister of Labour, had made certain statements in reference to the MP.
It was reported that Jermaine Figueira had received $5,800,00 under the Sustainable Livelihood and Entrepreneurial Development Programme to be used himself and or by a Co-operative Society of which he was a member to conduct pig rearing activities and that he did not build the pens or rear pigs and had therefore misappropriated the funds. It was however his brother Jemaine Figueira, who benefited from the Programme.
The Court found that the Article had a ‘damning headline’ and that Jermaine Figueira was specifically named in it. It expressed the view that the Defendants had recklessly acted in going to print in light of a denial by Figueira and that the words “Fraud and Criminality’ do not conjure any favourable image and further that the words used were understood to mean that Jermaine Figueira was a fraudster.
The Chronicle Newpaper was represented by Attorney at Law Mr. S. A. Dhurjon and MP Jermaine Figueira was represented by Attorney at Law Mr. Roysdale Forde. Hearing for the award of damages, is set for another date.
In an invited comment, Figueira said he is pleased with the judgement and that it sets the precedent for responsible reporting. He is expecting similar judgement in the other defamatory cases that are before the court.