Edmond Campbell, Senior Staff Reporter
CONTRACTOR GENERAL Greg Christie says he is standing by his September 5 media release which lawyers representing chairman of the Jamaica Association of Contractors and Construction Consultants (JAC) Percival LaTouche's claim has severely affected their client's reputation, locally and overseas.
The Office of the Contractor General (OCG) boss declared on Monday that he would not withdraw the release as it was factual and did not libel LaTouche.
Lord Anthony Gifford, the lead attorney representing Latouche, wrote to Christie on September 12, 2012, demanding that he remove the release from the OCG website and tender an apology to his client for linking him to threats and acts of violence.
LaTouche's legal team, Gifford, Thompson and Bright, pointed to a media release issued by the OCG on September 5, 2012, in which Christie made reference to a serious attempt against the life of a staff member of the oversight body.
"You alleged in a later paragraph that this staff member had had threats of violence directed at him at a meeting of the Jamaica Association of Contractors and Construction Consultants on July 28, 2012," said the noted attorney, adding that LaTouche was later named as chairman of JAC.
"We ask you to withdraw this release from your website and to apologise for having linked our client to threats and acts of violence," Gifford stated.
According to him, the meaning of parts of Christie's release would be understood by the ordinary and reasonable reader that LaTouche has been making deliberately false and reckless statements, which were calculated to endanger the lives of the OCG staff and, indeed, have led to one attempt on a staff member's life.
"Such an imputation is deeply damaging and distressing to our client," Gifford stated.
He said the publication of the release had caused "many people around the world to contact our client and ask him why he is making threats to the OCG".
However, dismissing the claims on Monday, Christie, in a letter to Gifford said, "The OCG must, for the record, advise you that the contents of its media release of September 5, 2012, are wholly accurate in fact, and in substance, and that the OCG stands by same in every particular."
Christie charged that the letter from LaTouche's attorneys was "regrettably written and directed to the OCG upon flawed premise."
"It is important to note that the OCG's media release of September 5, 2012, did not, in any way, attribute the latter threat of execution on the life of an OCG staff member to Mr LaTouche, but merely stated, as a matter of fact, that the staff member in question was one and the same person at whom such threats were directed, from various elements, at the JAC's inaugural meeting," he added.