5th July, 2018
Mr. Evan X Hyde
Amandala Tuesday Issue
3304 Partridge Street
We are instructed by Mr. Alberto August who, as you are aware, is the chairman of the United Democratic Party and a political figure in Belize.
In the Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018 No. 3191 of the Amandala, Tuesday Issue, you caused to be published on page 23 under the headline article “Say no to the ICJ” words purportedly spoken by Derek Aikman, the following defamatory words:
“The founder and leader of BUFERAD, former UDP politician and former Cabinet Minister, Derek Aikman opened the press conference explaining that “there is potential poison in the re-registration process.”
“The re-registration process is being undertaken by the Elections and Boundaries Commission, whose chairman is also the chairman of the UDP, Alberto August. That is the first thing that should cause every citizen of this nation concern,” he said.
Aikman said that “next is that over 300 workers have been hired as temporary workers to act as registering officers in the next two months, all of whom, I have good evidence to substantiate, are loyalists of the party in government.”
“So if you believe that the re-registration is going to take place on an even keel, without corruption, I want to dissuade you of that notion,” Aikman added.
In their natural and ordinary meaning, the words meant and were understood to mean that Alberto August as chairman of the UDP and of the Elections and Boundaries Commission is overseeing a corrupt re-registration process in a bias (sic) partisan manner and that he is thereby guilty of corruption.
You are well aware that Mr. Alberto August ceased to be the chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission since 2012 and is not involved in any way or at all with the processes of the Commission.
These statements about our client are untrue and inaccurate and amounts (sic) to a gross libel and have caused him demonstrable distress and anguish. Not only are these assertions wholly devoid of truth, they import that Mr. Alberto August is guilty of corruption.
Our client values his reputation and the publication of the offending words were calculated to disparage him.
In the circumstances, our client requires from you as a matter of urgency, a full and unequivocal public retraction and apology in terms to be approved by us, and an undertaking not to repeat these or any other similar allegations. The apology, as approved by us, is to be published in your newspaper with equal prominence and circulation given the offending words.
We have also advised our client that he is entitled to substantial compensation for injury to his reputation and feelings. As to this compensation, we invite your immediate proposal. Our client will also require payment by you of all legal costs that he has incurred in this matter.
We are to await your prompt reply, and in any event, should we not receive a satisfactory reply by close of business on July 13th, 2018, our instructions are to file suit and we will so do without any further notice.
In the meantime, our client reserves all his rights.
BARROW & WILLIAMS
RODWELL R. A. WILLIAMS S.C.
cc: Mr. Derek Aikman