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Angostura serves Waithe with pre-action letter

Published: 
Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Fixin T&T head Kirk Waithe has been served with a pre-action protocol by attorneys representing Angostura Ltd and its chairman Dr Rolph Balgobin, over a “highly offensive” and “defamatory image” published by the watchdog group on its Facebook page.

The letter, dated December 1, was sent by JD Sellier and Company attorney Andre Rudder to Waithe on Monday.

Waithe told the T&T Guardian yesterday he has since engaged his attorneys who are reviewing the letter, but refused to comment further.

Three weeks ago, Waithe called for a national boycott of Angostura products after Balgobin was cleared by Justice Rolston Nelson in October of sexual harassment claims levelled against him by a female executive who was fired last Wednesday. Waithe also called for Balgobin to be removed as chairman pending a thorough and independent investigation.

In the five-page letter, Waithe was accused of publishing the defamatory matter on Facebook in a mock-up of Angostura’s product on November 30.

The words and image in the publication, the letter stated, were meant to hurt Angostura’s trade and calculated to lower “our clients’ respective reputations in the eyes of right-thinking individuals and subject them to scorn, ridicule, odium and contempt.” It noted that “there has been no finding of impropriety against Balgobin, he is not known to be the subject of any active police investigation and has in fact recently been exonerated by an independent investigation carried out by Justice Nelson.”

The letter advised Waithe to immediately remove from his Facebook page the publication, publish an immediate retraction and apology, pay damages and give an undertaken to not further publish this or any similar publication concerning their clients.

Meanwhile, Angostura’s senior manager - hospitality and communications Giselle Laronde-West yesterday admitted Fixin T&T’s call for a boycott has not affected the company.

“We have not witnessed any significant changes to our revenue stream at this time,” Laronde-West said.

She also confirmed Angostura has been experiencing above normal demands for its products.

“Our production lines are currently working overtime to ensure we meet our market requirements. We expect that these products will be available for our valued customers early next week,” Laronde-West said.

Her comments came one day after several supermarkets had complained that despite placing their early Christmas orders, they have not been getting Angostura products on their shelves.