Home / Volley / Global Football / DJW vows action after legal review but yet to rebut specific CNC3 claims

DJW vows action after legal review but yet to rebut specific CNC3 claims

Former Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams has promised libel action against Guardian Media Limited and its investigative reporter Mark Bassant, as well as to clear his name from allegations of financial misconduct related to the Home of Football project.

However, John-Williams has done neither—not yet anyway.

Photo: Then TTFA president and W Connection owner David John-Williams (centre) greets players (from right) Hughtun Hector, Alvin Jones and Maurice Forde before kick off against Police FC in the TTFA FA Trophy final at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 8 December 2017.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

In a press statement this morning, exactly a week after Bassant’s one hour documentary entitled ‘TTFA’s Secret Panama Trail’, John-Williams declared all the allegations false. But he did not offer alternatives to the specific claims made in the CNC3 programme and subsequent Trinidad Guardian newspaper articles.

“Mr Bassant, no doubt in an attempt to immunise himself and GML from liability for their falsity, ambushed me on a golf course,” said John-Williams, “and inundated me with a series of questions and statements which I could not reasonably be expected properly to answer in the course of his ambush. I give the unqualified assurance that there are complete answers to all of Mr Bassant’s allegations.

“I have also been advised that Mr Bassant’s attempt to immunise himself and GML from liability does not have the prophylactic effect for which he and GML undoubtedly wished, and that he and GML are both liable for the false and defamatory allegations contained and made in these articles and television news stories, which they continue to publish and to carry.”

Image: A screen grab shows ex-TTFA president David John-Williams misplaces his poker-face during a grilling by CNC3 journalist Mark Bassant.
(via CNC3)

John-Williams said he has ‘engaged’ attorneys, although they have not so much as issued a pre-action protocol letter to GML—let alone initiated libel proceedings. Instead, the W Connection president said his lawyers are reviewing his documentation, after which they should ‘advise’ him. John-Williams expects to lay charges at that point.

He warned that Bassant and CNC3 will ‘pay dearly’ for the allegations.

“I have engaged attorneys-at-law to examine and to advise me on the material which I have in my possession and which is otherwise available to me,” he said, “and which lays bare the untruth, the distortions and the falsehoods contained in these articles and television news stories.

“Once my attorneys-at-law have completed their due diligence, I will be instructing the filing of legal proceedings against GML and Mr Bassant for these odious and contemptible allegations which have caused my family and myself incomprehensible distress.”

John-Williams suggested that his attorneys will decide how much of his supposed defence to Bassant’s allegations will be shared with the public.

Photo: Then TTFA president David John-Williams (far right) oversees work at the controversial Home of Football.
(Copyright CA-Images/Wired868)

“To the extent that I am permitted by my attorneys-at-law to do so, I also propose to make publicly available the material which I have in my possession and which is otherwise available to me,” he said, “which will show all of these allegations to be baseless.”

John-Williams might also have to show his ‘material’ to the Fraud Squad, as the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) opened an investigation into his conduct this week.

Former TTFA president David John-Williams’ full response to TTFA Secret Panama Trail:

Over the past few days, Guardian Media Limited (GML) has published several articles in its Guardian Newspaper and has carried several news stories on its television station, CNC3, all created by Mr Mark Bassant, and in the course of which allegations of wrongdoing have been levelled against me in connection with the construction of the TTFA’s ‘Home of Football’ during my tenure as TTFA president. All of the allegations made against me are false.

Prior to publishing these allegations, Mr Bassant, no doubt in an attempt to immunise himself and GML from liability for their falsity, ambushed me on a golf course and inundated me with a series of questions and statements which I could not reasonably be expected properly to answer in the course of his ambush.

Photo: (From right) FIFA official Veron Mosengo-Omba, Sport Minister Shamfa Cudjoe and TTFA president David John-Williams inspect the TTFA’s Home of Football in Couva on 20 August 2018.
(Courtesy MSYA)

I give the unqualified assurance that there are complete answers to all of Mr Bassant’s allegations.

I have also been advised that Mr Bassant’s attempt to immunise himself and GML from liability does not have the prophylactic effect for which he and GML undoubtedly wished, and that he and GML are both liable for the false and defamatory allegations contained and made in these articles and television news stories, which they continue to publish and to carry.

I have engaged attorneys-at-law to examine and to advise me on the material which I have in my possession and which is otherwise available to me and which lays bare the untruth, the distortions and the falsehoods contained in these articles and television news stories.

Once my attorneys-at-law have completed their due diligence, I will be instructing the filing of legal proceedings against GML and Mr Bassant for these odious and contemptible allegations which have caused my family and myself incomprehensible distress. Further, after their review thereof and to the extent that I am permitted by my attorneys-at-law to do so, I also propose to make publicly available the material which I have in my possession and which is otherwise available to me, which will show all of these allegations to be baseless.

Photo: Fifa president Gianni Infantino (right) and then TTFA president David John-Williams at a press conference at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 10 April 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

In the meantime, I deprecate in the strongest terms possible GML’s and Mr Bassant’s attempts to elevate sensationalism and character-assassination to the ranks of journalism and I await my day in court when I will clear my name and cause GML and Mr Bassant to account dearly for their libel.

About Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor
Want to share your thoughts with Wired868? Email us at editor@wired868.com. Please keep your blog between 300 to 800 words and be sure to read it over first for typos and punctuation.

Check Also

What ‘embarrassment’?! TTOC president suggests how T&T’s high court and appellate court validated Wallace

“[…] If you look at the high court judgment of Madame Justice Carol Gobin and …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

3 comments

  1. Courts of law are not about semantics or staged shams and therefore evidence will have to be presented in order to deny or uphold any cases brought before the court. So we await these court battles, should they even occur.

  2. During DJW’s tenure as President of the TTFA he seemed to have lost most of the TTFA matters that ended up in the local courts but maybe he will end the losing streak in the courts now that he is no longer the President.

  3. Earl Best

    If DJW has his way, Mark Bassant is one man in T&T who will not be able to spread any COVID-19.

    Not with this size gag over his face!

    Fortunately, Bassant and GML have lawyers too so Bassant will still have to wear a mask.