Dear Editor,
I would like to offer some comments on how courts, especially in the USA, would handle the request to overturn the High Court default judgment handed down by Justice Sandra Kurtzious, ordering Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo to pay the former Housing Minister Annette Ferguson more than $ 20 million in compensation for libel.
The judgment should be overturned, and a real trial conducted, on the following grounds of jurisprudence, generally classified as “negligent negligence.”
(1) The matter was not decided on its merits, and therefore cannot be said to be a valid judgment, especially as the court did not explain how the $ 20 million in damages was arrived at. Ex parte judgments, such as this one, are covered with secrecy and doubt, having been obtained without hearing the evidence and arguments of the other side and repealing the established rule of law audi alteram partem firmly there is a Judge or anyone who practices judicial. the function must hear both sides of each case. Each party must have its day in court. This was not given to Mr Jagdeo, who has since shown a strong desire to defend the case.
(2) Defendant Jagdeo may establish a mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or the negligent negligence of the party that failed to defend itself in the case. Courts in the US have been accepting the unprecedented COVID pandemic as a legitimate excuse, and allowing judgments to be reversed and / or stayed accordingly.
(3) VP Jagdeo may also argue that the delay was caused by the collateral consequences of the epic fight he employed, his lawyer Mr Anil Nandlall, SC, Caricom community, United States, European Union, Britain, Canada, The Carter Center , and other international groups, agencies and organizations, for restoring the right of the Guyanese people to freely elect a Government of their choice. Like-minded people in Guyana and around the world, Opposition Leaders, world leaders and others denied the initial results, released by the elections council. In short, it is presumed that this fundamental reversal of democracy and the rule of law permeated the legal system, and provided another valid excuse for omitting the defendant to file its defense.
(4) The fact that an injunction seeking to defeat the then Leader of the Opposition had been rejected by the High Court seems to suggest that the plaintiff’s case may not have merit.
Truth is a complete defense to an act like this. If the statement in question is substantially true, a defamation claim cannot succeed because a citizen and / or newspaper has the right to publish true information even if it hurts someone else’s reputation. The defense of “fair coverage of a matter of public interest,” may also be a possible defense.
This case can be summarily disposed of if the public records about land ownership confirm that the former Minister owned three plots of land in Eccles, Demerara East Bank (EBD), which he acquired while in Government. Of course, the acquisition of property and assets beyond someone’s wages has also triggered a successful criminal prosecution in many parts of the world, including against young people and racists.
Some prosecutors have convicted juries of criminal liability based on circumstantial evidence to show an increase in net worth that does not match an individual’s income, and therefore could only have come from poor earnings, such as bribes, thefts, misconduct and so on.
In a murder case I prosecuted in 1983, I used this type of argument to convict two men who attracted the deceased, Mr Jeeboo, to the backdam, under the pretext of “seeing how his crop develops.” When they returned at sunset without him, and could offer no credible explanation for his disappearance, his dead body was the inevitable result of murder, based on circumstantial evidence.
“Ladies and gentlemen, if two cats and a healthy mouse go into a forest, and only the two cats return, and can’t explain why the mouse was found dead, you can be sure, and reasonably concluded, that the cats killed the mouse. ”Even their lawyers, Doodnath Singh and Bernard DeSantos, SCs, could not rescue them from this logical theory.
The law can be a slippery slope.

Albert Baldeo
(Former Senior State
Counsel, Prosecutor,
Police Legal Advisor
and a Magistrate at