By Latrishka Thomas
February 20th is the new trial date for defamation matter for which Prime Minister Gaston Browne filed against renowned calypsonian, Lena “Queen Ivena” Phillip back in 2017.
The case was called in the High Court yesterday but was adjourned to facilitate the filing of important trial documents.
In July of this year, the prime minister sued Antigua and Barbuda’s first female Calypso Monarch over lyrics in her song,‘Nasty’, which he said were defamatory. But Queen Ivena had since maintained that there were “no slanderous lines whatsoever” in the song.
The calypsonian was also asked to sign an indemnity agreement with the Festivals Commission. The agreement was put forward to Ivena by Festivals Commissioner, Maurice Merchant with the condition that she might only perform upon her signing. The agreement outlined that the artist would accept liability in the event that the commission, which oversees all carnival competitions and production, were to be sued.
The artist refused to sign the waiver and subsequently refused to perform at the much anticipated 2017 Calypso Monarch Quarterfinals at the Barrymore Hotel dubbed ‘Tent City’.
Queen Ivena and her attorney, Ralph Francis, were present in Court but since Browne was off island, Chief of Staff in the Office of the Prime Minister, Lionel “Max” Hurst attended on his behalf.
Browne is being legally represented by attorney Rika Bird.