This morning, Justice Gino Persaud dismissed an application for an interim injunction against Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo and the Guyana Times filed by lawyers for Minister within the Ministry of Communities, Annette Ferguson who is claiming that the parties made libelous statements against her which are intended to damage her good character.

Minister Ferguson, through her lawyer, Lyndon Amsterdam had moved to the court where she made two applications for an interim injunctions against the parties prohibiting them from circulating words to those published on page 13 of the Guyana Times newspapers dated December 11, 2019 which states that she owns three plots of land. As it relates to Jagdeo, the Minister is claiming damages in excess of $50M for statements he made on December 5 and 12, 2019, in that regard.

Justice Persaud, in dismissing the Minister’s application held that her lawyers failed to produce case laws to support their contention of interim injunctions being granted in defamation cases prior to the claim being determined by a judge or jury. Citing a case from Barbados which is published in the West Indian Law Reports, Justice Persaud held that such an application being sought by the Minister would be refused in light of the Respondents (Jagdeo and Guyana Times) claiming justification and fair comment.

According to Justice Persaud, interim injunctions are only granted in the rarest of cases before a trial. Against this backdrop, the Judge held that the Minister failed to prove that her case is rare and more so an exceptional one which favours the granting of the reliefs being sought. In light of the foregoing, the judge dismissed the application. Attorneys-at-Law Manoj Narayan and Devindra Kissoon appeared for Jagdeo and Guyana Times respectively.

The Minister’s substantive application before the court has to do with a lawsuit in which she is claiming $60M in damages from the Respondents. She has produced documents to support that she owns a single plot of land at Eccles, East Bank Demerara, and not three as being claimed by the Opposition Leader and Guyana Times. In court documents, the Minister has debunked statements made by the Respondents which suggest that she “suddenly” became wealthy after becoming a Minister of government in 2015.

As a matter of fact, the Minister has insisted that she only owns a single plot of land which is situated at Eccles, East Bank Demerara for which she acquired through a loan from the bank. With regards to her income, Minister Ferguson has submitted to the court that she earns a monthly salary of $695,000 along with allowance for electricity, telephone and entertainment which amounts to $61, 500.

Apart from this, she says that she is paid a Duty Allowance of $1,500, parliamentary allowance of $30,000; Committee Allowance $8,289 and internet $10,000. The Minister has even submitted to the court her financial records prior to her taking up the ministerial post.


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