Timothy Poleon (L) and Phillip La Corbiniere
By Caribbean News Now contributor
CASTRIES, St Lucia -- Saint Lucia’s minister for legal affairs, home affairs and national security, Phillip La Corbiniere announced on Friday morning that he is taking legal action against local broadcast journalist Timothy Poleon and Radio Caribbean (RCI).
La Corbiniere also said that “this is just the first round” and that “others are also going to be included and served.”
However, in a statement released on Friday, the minister did not elaborate on what that legal action was; what he found objectionable in Poleon’s conduct; or what others are going to be included in the threatened action.
Poleon is known to have read in its entirety a recent Caribbean News Now article
on the air, which in turn created considerable local comment, but since the article itself is not actionable in any respect, it is not known at this time if this has anything to do with La Corbiniere’s threat of legal action.
La Corbiniere is known to have visited the US embassy in Bridgetown on or about Monday, July 16, 2012, in company with four other senior government officials, including Prime Minister Kenny Anthony, when they were reportedly told to provide specific information as to the nature and sources of allegations against former housing minister Richard Frederick and given a deadline by which to do so.
La Corbiniere went to some lengths to say that his threatened action was not an attack on the media generally.
“I will repeat that this is not an attack on the media… but I am no longer going to sit by and allow what is happening in this country to continue down that road under the guise of journalism,” he said.
“And so I want the country to know this is not an attack on the media fraternity. I want the media fraternity to understand it is not an attack on them. It is not an attempt to muzzle them. It is simply that, as journalists, things have to be done properly and they cannot pursue this type of agenda and feel that it will be alright in the morning. It will not be alright in the morning,” the minister added.
Notwithstanding La Corniniere’s assertion that he is not attacking the media as such, much of the social media and other online comment takes a different view, suggesting to the minister that there are far more pressing social and economic issues in the country that the government should be dealing with rather than spending time trying to repress freedom of speech and the press.
La Corbiniere claimed that over the last few months there has been a concerted attack on him in relation to unspecified matters concerning his portfolio and concerning him personally.
“However, over the last few weeks and months it is clear to me that there is a concerted effort to undermine me in my personal capacity and in my professional capacity. Clearly this cannot be allowed to continue,” he said.
“I have therefore instructed my attorneys-a-law to pursue certain legal action in relation to these comments over the last few months and weeks, and that has begun. I am advised by my attorneys-at-law that with effect as of today [Friday] that action is going to be started and served upon Mr Timothy Poleon as well as Radio Caribbean,” La Corbiniere said.