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Keod Smith Demands Apology From Tribune Publisher

Re: Retraction of Offensive Statments

My attention is drawn to your Editorial, “The Bahamas – a country in meltdown” published in your edition of Wednesday, May 1st 2013.

In the aforementioned article you write and maliciously assert certain statements and made innuendoes which, when taken in their natural and ordinary meaning, would as they now have caused me to suffer serious and irreparable damage to my professional integrity, public life and my character.

The offensive statements referenced, while not detailing exactly wherein they are found in your article, they are as follows:

(1) “Perhaps this racist seed was planted in his ear by Nation of Islam Leader Louis Farrakhan, who on a short visit here, as the guest of Mr Smith’s patron Peter Nygard…” By these words you have ascribed racism to my persona, claimed wherein I formed your alleged racism.

When taken with the following paragraph, (2) “… suddenly the evil chants of racism from the western end of our island threaten to once again divide our nation,” your maliciousness is further excoriated.

Further you continued by asserting certain serious and criminal allegations against Louis Farrakhan, Head of the Nation of Islam, whom by your article you assert as having planted “this racist seed” in me. You compound your folly therefore by viciously incriminating Mr Farrakhan so that by the natural and ordinary meaning of those words and innuendo of your earlier paragraphs herein stated, cause me further harm and damage.

Further you assert directly and by innuendo that I have directed or been involved in a claim ascribed to the Coalition to Protect Clifton Bay (affiliated with and said to be funded by Louis Bacon) (hereinafter referred to as “Bacon’s Coalition”) and repeated in your article which is that (3) “Someone has bulldozed the pond and wetlands behind the beach” and further that I was carrying on or directing certain works at Clifton which have caused (4) “ecologically important areas that were damaged during the work”. These statements are a repeat of an article appearing at page A2 in your edition of Thursday, 23rd April, 2013, headlined “Who is in charge of Clifton Bay?” which was worded as follows:-

Environmental activists are demanding to know who is really in charge of Clifton Bay as the publicly-owned area became a construction site – yet again – over the weekend.

The Coalition to Protect Clifton Bay photographed several tractors shifting and piling sand on Jaws Beach as the old public dock was torn down and construction of a new one progressed.

Pointing out that the vehicles and workers belonged to no government agency, the coalition asked if the Clifton Heritage Authority is prepared to let private citizens do whatever they please onpublic land.

The group also asked what Ministry of the Environment is doing, claiming several ecologically important areas were damaged during the work…

“Who is in lawful control of Jaws Beach?” the coalition asked. “Someone has bulldozed the pond and wetlands behind the beach.

“Who, if anyone, gave permission to build a new dock, take down the old one, move sand, and bulldoze the wetlands?

“This entire episode high-lights one of the pivotal issues of the CPCB – unregulated development – It’s not just at Nygard Cay, it’s anywhere at Clifton Bay.”

The coalition has claimed that work carried out at Simms Point/Nygard Cay, which doubled the size of the area since it was purchased by fashion mogul Peter Nygard, has damaged areas of Clifton Boy, including Jaws Beach.

Tbey called for the government to step in and protect the delicate, environmentally significant area.

Yesterday, the coalition also questioned whether the weekend construction and beach alteration had anything to do with the Occupy Clifton/Renegotiate event held on Jaws Beach on Sunday.

The event was attended by around 150 people who were bused in on five jitnrys.

The coalition questioned whether the Heritage Authority or any other official entity granted permission for the gathering, which included speeches and a junkanoo rush-out, and whether either group was responsible or connected to the construction work.

Messages left for Keod Smith, an organiser for Re-Negotiate who is also Mr Nygard’s attorney, were not returned up to press time last night.

However, while being interviewed at the event, Mr Smith mentioned that the original dock on Jaws Beach was built on sand, which he claimed contribttted to its deterioration.

Referring to reports that Lyford Cay billionaire Louis Bacon intended to repair the dock, he said: “Don’t talk! Do.

“Why is it he didn’t do it? – We did it.”

You would be aware and at the time your wrote these offensive statements, I had issued a news release, the same of which was emailed and hard copied to your senior newsroom staff before the said news conference and with an invitation to attend and ask questions; and further, I stated during a news conference on Thursday, April 4th, 2013, held at the British Colonial Hilton Hotel, downtown Nassau, that I had discovered that the wetlands and certain areas of Clifton had been bulldozed and damaged and I blamed the Clifton Heritage Authority for this serious ecological and environmental misstep.

Yet by your words, you have clearly attributed the damage to these areas as having been caused by me directly or indirectly when you as Publisher and Editor of your newspaper were properly and reliably informed that this could not be the case. Further, you have had your reporters attend the OCCUPY CLIFTON events held under the auspices of Re-Negotiate.Org and our Saving Clifton Again Campaign where I have publicly decried the destruction of these wetland areas long before any construction work even began on the dock and the ramp. Yet you choose to assert culpability on me and the organisations with which I am involved.

Your statements hereinbefore stated are the more egregious by a revelation made in this article that you have been publishing statements from the Bacon’s Coalition and lifting their offensive statements as if they are conclusions drawn by your editorial staff. Not only is this pathetically fraudulent, it also demonstrates your biasness and political agenda.

However, your damaging assertions towards me did not stop there.

You go on to say: (5) “In the meantime racially motivated clashes have occurred at Jaws Beach. The police had to go to the beach to keep the Keod Smith group and the Coalition apart.”

Once again, representatives of your news department were there and would have seen more than cordial conversations between the leaders of Re-Negotiate.Org and our ‘Saving Clifton Again” campaign and Bacon’s Coalition (namely Mr Robert Kennedy Jr, Mr Fred Smith and Ms Dianne Philips).

Yet to promote the maliciousness of your article you continue with this further excoriation of me: (6) “This country is in meltdown. Even Keod Smith is challenging Mr Christie’s authority. It is now time for Mr Christie to step up and restore order.”

Herein you assert that I am responsible for disorder in the country albeit where you also claim: (7) “leaving both Bahamians and foreigners alike to question the continued stability of the Bahamas”.

When taken together, or dissected, the words contained herein published and written by you are malicious to the core and untruthful, and further they make no pretension of the easily verifiable fact that you have allowed yourselves to become the voice of Bacon’s Coalition, which any first year journalism student would recognise has taken away your right to claim fair comment.

Nevertheless, I remind you that you prefaced your damaging article with the following statement: “WHO is Keod Smith? In fact, we know who he is.”

You were fully aware of the damage you set out to do and therefore achieved to me in my personal and professional capacities as well as my image in public life.

In the circumstances, therefore, you are required to print a retraction of each and every one of the offensive statements that are set out herein and apologise for the direct, indirect or innuendos set out therein acknowledging them to be untrue and fraudulent. Failure to so comply in your next edition (Thursday 2nd May, 2013), will result in action being taken against you before the Supreme Court for orders, inter alia, compelling you to pay damages for libel.

You should act accordingly.

Yours sincerely,
Commercial Law Advocates,
Dictated by Keod Smith and signed in his absence.

Posted in Opinions

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