Vere Bird III has filed a claim against Prime Minister Gaston Browne for defamation and is requesting “aggravated and exemplary damages” over a Facebook post published by Browne.
Aggravated and exemplary damages are damages requested and/or awarded in a lawsuit when the defendant’s willful actions were malicious, violent, oppressive, fraudulent, wanton or grossly reckless.
Bird III filed the claim against Browne on December 12, 2019 in the High Court; a claim which states, “damages for defamation against the defendant, for words published and broadcasted on Facebook on the 5th, 6th and 8th of November, 2019”.
The Facebook post published concerned an alleged Cabinet decision giving Bird an acre of land for a purchase price of twenty-five thousand dollars.
Bird wrote a letter to Browne, dated December 4, 2019, which gave him seven days to respond with specific actions to include a retraction of his social media post.
The specific actions included, “(1) immediately retract the defamatory statement and remove it from your Facebook page. (2) provide an apology to my client in terms to approved by him. (3) give an assurance and undertaking in writing that you will not repeat the publication of these or similar allegations concerning my client and (4) provide an offer in damages (compensation) to properly compensate my client for the defamatory statement made by you and the injury to my client’s reputation, the distress caused to him and the costs to which he has been put in the matter.”
Browne, however, acknowledged receipt of the letter and responded saying there will be no apology and Bird III should seek psychiatric treatment.