New GPC seeks to have its documents remain confidential in New York libel case
In a libel case brought by Dr. Ranjisinghi Ramroop’s New GPC against Kaieteur News, the attorney for the New GPC requested confidentiality for any documents produced to support its case. The idea is to keep out of the public glare any invoices, statements, accounts, and purchase orders among other relevant documents.
Attorney at Law for Kaieteur News James Sullivan objected to the oral submission in court today that the documents be kept private. Sullivan said that the court deferred on the submission and instructed the New GPC that if they want confidentiality then it has to come by way of a motion and the court will rule. Kaieteur News is contending that it is a newspaper with wide circulation both in Guyana and among the Guyanese/Caribbean Diaspora in the US and the documents must be produced for the public record.
Today’s court session was essentially to set the schedule on the libel case. Kaieteur News has given the court the assurance that by January 20th it will produce several documents to support the news reports it has published that the New GPC engaged in alleged over-pricing of items supplied to the Ministry of Health. The actual trial may not begin until next year that is if the New GPC does not withdraw or the court does not throw out the case on the contention that the Newspaper had the right to publish all that in did in interest of the public’s right to know.
In a preliminary ruling Judge Joan Kenny telegraphed the court’s position last year when she ruled that the New GPC failed to make any showing that the articles published by Kaieteur News constituted fault as judged by, at a minimum, a negligence standard. For this reason alone, New GPC failed then to make a prima facie showing in that specific regard
According to the court documents the defamatory statements alleged by New GPC do not constitute “mere gossip” and they are not “directed only to a limited, private audience,” which would support the conclusion that they involve a “purely private concern.” Rather, the statements involve New GPC’s alleged collusion with the Guyanese government, and the use of “taxpayer” funds to subsidize New GPC’s alleged price-gouging scheme, thereby clearly relating to matters of “political, social, or other concern of the community.
In that November 4th 2013 Decision and Order, Judge Kenny declared that as example New GPC failed to submit invoices, bank statements, or evidence of prevailing market rates for the pharmaceuticals, to support New GPC’s conclusion that newspaper’s statements were false. She noted that absent clear abuse, the court defers to the news editor’s determination of whether the portions of the article to which a plaintiff objects are reasonably related to matters warranting public exposition
In court today were the company secretary of the New GPC and the Publisher and editor of Kaieteur News.