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Freedom Expression to be examined against ZJB Radio

Untitled-1ZJB Radio is facing a law suit from a former and recent political candidate on the Constitutional issue of “Freedom of expression” . The suit is filed against 1. Herman Sargeant and 2. The Hon Attorney General, Respondents.

Claude Gerald who has had success in challenging the Government of Montserrat for denying him his rights, has filed a lawsuit claiming that the management ZJB radio (Radio Montserrat) has denied and violated his right to freely express himself on the radio station.

Gerald is not suing from any issue arising out of the political campaign. The Montserrat Reporter (TMR) has obtained documents which show that that in early October Mr. Gerald took the first step by filing and serving an application to obtain permission to have a High Court Judge hear his claim which included damages along with:

“A declaration that the right of the Applicant to freedom of expression pursuant to section 13 of the Montserrat Constitution Order 2010 (“the Constitution”) was infringed when the Applicant’s participation on a discussion program on ZJB Radio Montserrat was terminated by the first Respondent on account of the Applicant (1) holding the view that marijuana has tremendous medicinal properties which have led some countries to legalise the use of marijuana and (2) imparting information about the medicinal benefits of marijuana.”

The agricultural economist and former Director of Agriculture, claimed that when he appeared on the Warren Cassell Show on the 24th of January 2014, he was discussing the benefits of medicinal marijuana when the station manager Herman Sargeant ordered that the discussion ceased.

The affidavit filed by Mr. Gerald states:

“Whilst on the said program I expressed the view that marijuana has tremendous medicinal proprieties and on account if its medicinal properties several countries had legalised its use. It was also made clear that it is an illegal substance and possession of it has serious consequences.

“On the said program I imparted information on the medicinal benefits of marijuana and that the plant is now back into acceptance by mainstream society worldwide. I gave a history of the politics surrounding its fall from grace, its potential and pointed out that marijuana is naturally accepted by the human body’s biological systems.

Having expressed my opinion and imparted this information my further participation on the program was curtailed by the [Herman Sargeant] and for all intents and purposes brought to an end.

“I was pulled off the program in a most unceremonious manner. It has stressed me out. I feel that my freedom to express my views on a topic which was quite current has been stifled. The convenience of sharing information about the medicinal properties of marijuana to a significant segment of the public had been severely constrained and curtailed on account of me being pulled off the station.”

ZJB’s station manager Herman Sargeant has filed an affidavit in response to Mr. Gerald’s claim. In it he stated among other things that:

“On Wednesday 29th January, I was listening to the broadcast of the Warren Cassell Show on Radio Montserrat/ZJB, when I heard the Claimant Claude Gerald being introduced as a featured presenter on a new weekly segment on the Warren Cassell Show where health related issues would be discussed. Prior to hearing this announcement during the broadcast, I had not been informed that a new weekly segment was being introduced on the Warren Cassell Show and that Mr. Claude Gerald was going to be presenting the segment. I continued to listen to the programme and the discussion on the programme moved on the topic of Marijuana.

As I listened to the programme I became increasingly concerned about the discussion which was taking place because the discussion appeared to me, to be promoting the use of marijuana in all its forms. Radio Montserrat/ZJB, being a Government owned Radio Station should not in my view be seen to be supporting or promoting the use of marijuana which is illegal in Montserrat, and I was concerned that the discussion which was taking place may be perceieved as supporting the use of marijuana. I decided that in the best interest of everyone I should stop the discussion on this topic and I sent a note to the host, Mr. Warren Cassell, indicating that he should stop the discussion immediately. The discussion on the topic of Marijuana ended shortly thereafter andMr. Cassell continued with his show.”

Mr. Gerald’s contends that the Montserrat Constitution provides in Section 13 (1) provides that “Except wthout his or her consent, no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of his or her freedom of expression, and for purposes of this section the said freedom includes freedom to hold opinions and freedom to receive and impart ideas and information without interference…”. It is this section he says that ZJB has violated.

Gerald intends to rely on the similarities of at least one previous case in the Eastern Caribbean High Courts. In that matter in Anguilla, Attorney-at-law and Radio talk show host John Benjamin sought redress for contravention of his freedom of expression when his popular talk show titled “TALK YOUR MIND” which enabled members of the public to telephone their comments was taken off the air.

The court is first expected to hear arguments as to whether Mr. Gerald would be granted leave to file a fixed date claim for Judicial Review sometime in November 2014.

END

 

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Untitled-1ZJB Radio is facing a law suit from a former and recent political candidate on the Constitutional issue of “Freedom of expression” . The suit is filed against 1. Herman Sargeant and 2. The Hon Attorney General, Respondents.

Claude Gerald who has had success in challenging the Government of Montserrat for denying him his rights, has filed a lawsuit claiming that the management ZJB radio (Radio Montserrat) has denied and violated his right to freely express himself on the radio station.

Gerald is not suing from any issue arising out of the political campaign. The Montserrat Reporter (TMR) has obtained documents which show that that in early October Mr. Gerald took the first step by filing and serving an application to obtain permission to have a High Court Judge hear his claim which included damages along with:

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“A declaration that the right of the Applicant to freedom of expression pursuant to section 13 of the Montserrat Constitution Order 2010 (“the Constitution”) was infringed when the Applicant’s participation on a discussion program on ZJB Radio Montserrat was terminated by the first Respondent on account of the Applicant (1) holding the view that marijuana has tremendous medicinal properties which have led some countries to legalise the use of marijuana and (2) imparting information about the medicinal benefits of marijuana.”

The agricultural economist and former Director of Agriculture, claimed that when he appeared on the Warren Cassell Show on the 24th of January 2014, he was discussing the benefits of medicinal marijuana when the station manager Herman Sargeant ordered that the discussion ceased.

The affidavit filed by Mr. Gerald states:

“Whilst on the said program I expressed the view that marijuana has tremendous medicinal proprieties and on account if its medicinal properties several countries had legalised its use. It was also made clear that it is an illegal substance and possession of it has serious consequences.

“On the said program I imparted information on the medicinal benefits of marijuana and that the plant is now back into acceptance by mainstream society worldwide. I gave a history of the politics surrounding its fall from grace, its potential and pointed out that marijuana is naturally accepted by the human body’s biological systems.

Having expressed my opinion and imparted this information my further participation on the program was curtailed by the [Herman Sargeant] and for all intents and purposes brought to an end.

“I was pulled off the program in a most unceremonious manner. It has stressed me out. I feel that my freedom to express my views on a topic which was quite current has been stifled. The convenience of sharing information about the medicinal properties of marijuana to a significant segment of the public had been severely constrained and curtailed on account of me being pulled off the station.”

ZJB’s station manager Herman Sargeant has filed an affidavit in response to Mr. Gerald’s claim. In it he stated among other things that:

“On Wednesday 29th January, I was listening to the broadcast of the Warren Cassell Show on Radio Montserrat/ZJB, when I heard the Claimant Claude Gerald being introduced as a featured presenter on a new weekly segment on the Warren Cassell Show where health related issues would be discussed. Prior to hearing this announcement during the broadcast, I had not been informed that a new weekly segment was being introduced on the Warren Cassell Show and that Mr. Claude Gerald was going to be presenting the segment. I continued to listen to the programme and the discussion on the programme moved on the topic of Marijuana.

As I listened to the programme I became increasingly concerned about the discussion which was taking place because the discussion appeared to me, to be promoting the use of marijuana in all its forms. Radio Montserrat/ZJB, being a Government owned Radio Station should not in my view be seen to be supporting or promoting the use of marijuana which is illegal in Montserrat, and I was concerned that the discussion which was taking place may be perceieved as supporting the use of marijuana. I decided that in the best interest of everyone I should stop the discussion on this topic and I sent a note to the host, Mr. Warren Cassell, indicating that he should stop the discussion immediately. The discussion on the topic of Marijuana ended shortly thereafter andMr. Cassell continued with his show.”

Mr. Gerald’s contends that the Montserrat Constitution provides in Section 13 (1) provides that “Except wthout his or her consent, no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of his or her freedom of expression, and for purposes of this section the said freedom includes freedom to hold opinions and freedom to receive and impart ideas and information without interference…”. It is this section he says that ZJB has violated.

Gerald intends to rely on the similarities of at least one previous case in the Eastern Caribbean High Courts. In that matter in Anguilla, Attorney-at-law and Radio talk show host John Benjamin sought redress for contravention of his freedom of expression when his popular talk show titled “TALK YOUR MIND” which enabled members of the public to telephone their comments was taken off the air.

The court is first expected to hear arguments as to whether Mr. Gerald would be granted leave to file a fixed date claim for Judicial Review sometime in November 2014.

END