Dominican PM files lawsuit against Florida blogger and local journalist

Dominican Prime minister, Roosevelt Skerrit

Lawyers for Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit of Dominica and two senior government ministers as well as a senior police officer have filed a lawsuit against disbarred US attorney Kenneth Rijock, local journalist Matthais Peltier and Q95fm Radio.

The lawsuit was filed in the High Court on Monday after Rijock refused to retract, apologize and pay compensation for alleging that 2,000 blank Dominica passports were issued to Moroccan Ambassador to all of the East Caribbean States in 2016.

On April 24,  a demand letter issued to Rijock by Attorney Lennox Lawrence on behalf of Prime Minister  Skerrit; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Senator Francine Baron; Minister responsible for National Security and Immigration, Rayburn Blackmoore, and Senior Police Officer in direct charge of Immigration and Passports, Inspector Pellam Jno. Baptiste stated that legal action could be taken if the demand was not met.

In his emailed response to the demand letter, Rijock wrote: “Please be advised that I will neither retract my articles, nor any of my recorded statements. Florida law recognizes my [sic] as a journalist, and any suit you choose to file on behalf of your clients will be turned over the Reporters without Borders, and to the United Nations, and Organization of American States”.

Accordingly, the lawsuit was filed with Rijock named as the first defendant while Matthias Peltier and West Indies Communications Enterprises Limited (Q95) named the second and third defendants respectively.

The four claimants are seeking damages including aggravated damages, for slander for the words spoken, uttered, published and or caused to be published and broadcast or disseminated by the first and or second defendant and by the third defendant.

They are also seeking an injunction restraining Rijock, Peltier and Q95 whether by themselves or through their agents, servants, directors from further publishing or causing to be published the said or similar defamatory words about the claimant; costs on the indemnity basis and or wasted costs against the defendants or each of them and further or other relief.

The lawsuit will be served on Rijock, who is based in the United States, via email and an order will be sought from the court to serve him in person.

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