August 17th 2015
Senator the Honourable Mr. Garvin Nicholas
Office of the Attorney General
Nos. 23-27 St. Vincent Street
Dear Attorney General,
RE: PUBLIC UTTERANCES MADE ON SUNDAY 9TH AUGUST 2015 AT MARKET SQUARE SCARBOROUGH
We thank you for your letter of August 13th 2015, addressed to our client, The Honourable Dr.
Keith Rowley, which has been passed to us for advice and response.
We are very deeply concerned that as the purported “guardian of the public interest”, you have,
in seeking to obtain further and better particulars with respect to the statements made by our
client on the threat to his life, wholly predetermined the matter by describing his statements as
outrageous, scandalous, false, baseless, inflammatory, provocative, slanderous and libellous.
You have also, without obtaining the facts, sought to refer our client to section 8 of the Libel
and Defamation Act Chap 11:16.
You would no doubt appreciate that as the holder of the Office of the Attorney General, and in
accordance with your oath of office, you are expected to conscientiously, impartially and to the
best of your ability discharge your duties and do right to all manner of people without fear or
favour, affection or ill-will. However, in this instance, where the Leader of the Opposition has
informed the public of a real threat to his life, which was brought to his attention by no less than
the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, you have most regrettably permitted yourself to taint
your office by permitting partisan politics to inform your judgment.
Your wholly unfair and injudicious approach to this matter as the Attorney General of Trinidad
and Tobago has resulted in our client being disinclined to involve you in what is a very serious
matter, with no room for political gamesmanship. Suffice it to say, that the threats to our client
are very real, and the statements made by him are premised on information and advice given to
him from persons at the highest levels of the national security apparatus in Trinidad and Tobago,
after their own independent assessment and action.
As a consequence of the foregoing, while you are clearly free to communicate with the Integrity
Commission and the Council for Responsible Political Behaviour if you so choose, our client
will be communicating with both the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Commissioner of
Police to express to them his very serious concern that they not share any information
whatsoever with you insofar as this on-going investigation is concerned.
Finally, as you have so clearly recognised, our client uttered the words of which you complain
during a speech at a public meeting. It is therefore somewhat surprising that we would have to
point out to you that when defamatory words (which of course, insofar as our client’s statements
are concerned, we deny as being defamatory) are spoken and not written, that would constitute
slander and not libel. Accordingly, your use of the word ‘libellous’ and reference to section 8 of
the Libel and Defamation Act is simply misconceived.
Please be guided accordingly.
AL-RAWI & CO.