MP Figueira suing Hamilton, Kaieteur News, Guyana Times over pigpen reports
Kaieteur News – Opposition Member of Parliament (MP) Jermaine Figueira has filed a lawsuit against Labor Minister Joseph Hamilton, Kaieteur News and the Guyana Times Newspaper claiming more than $ 50M each for libel.
The lawsuit is in response to articles published about his alleged involvement in a pixel expansion project under the Sustainable Livelihoods and Entrepreneurial Development (SLED) program.
The articles claimed that Figueira collected over $ 5M for the project but never completed it.
However, the Opposition MP had denied the allegations. He had informed that the money had been collected by his twin brother Jemaine Figueira instead. He promised to sue the media and Minister Hamilton for pedaling the wrong information.
As such, Figueira outlined in the lawsuit that he sought, among other things, more than $ 50M from each of the three parties for the defamatory and libelous statements issued to thwart his character.
The Opposition MP quoted the articles and a letter, published by the Kaieteur News and the Guyana Times Newspaper. He noted that media outlets and the Minister, the source of the ‘misinformation,’ intended to use the stories to undermine his reputation.
In addition to his claims for millions in damages, Figueira also seeks withdrawal, a statement apology for the articles and statements issued.
Labor Minister Joseph Hamilton was quoted by several media outlets as saying that Figueira, the Green Jaguar Environmental and Community Development Co-operative Society, received the funding in 2019 to build the pigpens, which are part of a pig – a rearing project for the Wisroc community in Linden.
It is one of several community projects funded under the SLED program in 2019. The groups receiving project funding are required to be registered as Co-operative Societies before any payment is paid. But Figueira’s company was never officially registered.
In fact, Hamilton said that the documents submitted by his “co-operative society” failed to meet the criteria. He also said that although Figueira had applied for registration, it was still pending when the funds were paid. To date, the co-operative society is not registered with the Co-operative Department.
The Minister also highlighted that the pig rearing project was being implemented on private lands. Kaieteur News understands that the Minister even visited the area, where he got a first-hand look at how the money collected was used. It was during this time that the officer discovered that the project was incomplete.
However, on Saturday via a post on Facebook, Figueira responded to Hamilton’s revelations in what he called “wild, irresponsible and callous.” The young politician claimed that Hamilton’s utterances were intended to tarnish his reputation and gain “cheap political points.”
He also denied receiving any money, saying, “I will take this opportunity to publicly state and make it absolutely clear that I, Jermaine Figueira, a Member of Parliament for the Region of Fair, has never received any refund of money from sustainable livelihood and entrepreneurial development (SLED) program in 2019 or any other year in that regard. ”