Imagine causing a lawyer’s letter to be written to an individual threatening to sue that person over allegations about your involvement in extortion. But, instead of reverting, the individual responds effectively saying that your very course of action bares a striking resemblance to the original allegation.
This is exactly the reality that unfolded yesterday as the lawyers of Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Gail Teixeira responded to controversial social media commentator, Rickford Burke.
About a week ago, Burke’s lawyer, Eusi Anderson wrote Teixeira over articles carried in various sections of the media within which she was quoted as referring to Burke as being complicit in an extortion plot against a Guyanese businessman. Teixeira was also reported as saying Burke is facing a sexual assault case in the United States of America.
For those statements, Burke, through Anderson, demanded a public apology, a retraction and, $500M or an “acceptable counter offer.”
Teixeira is being represented by lawyers attached to Whitworth Chambers.
Guyana Standard saw a letter signed by Attorney Sanjeev Datadin. The letter states expressly that Teixeira has not libeled or defamed Burke but, her lawyers are ready to defend any possible proceedings.
The letter also states that given all the negativities attached to the name Rickford Burke, including the fact that he is a wanted man, Teixeira would be “hard-pressed to devalue your client’s reputation any further.”
The letter also draws a parallel to the extortion matter and his intended action to try and get an outlandish penalty of $500M.
It states, “We are obliged to note an bring to your attention that the criminal conspiracy matter for which the police have issued a wanted bulletin apparently involves and element of extortion, that is, payment to persons associated with your client in return for a matter not being published in the press.
“In this regard, your client’s preposterous demand for the payment of $500M as a forbearance to file a decidedly flimsy defamation claim against my client bears the hallmarks of such a venture.”
It was pointed out that in the letter written to Teixeira, no address was stated for Burke, nothing about his education or a job. Therefore, “no assessment of character or reputation can be reasonably made.”