HOLOWESKO DOTH PROTEST TOO MUCH

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The Board of BPL partying with their Deputy Chairman Stephen Holowesko. Meanwhile the lights are off in New Providence.

His brother Mark is the High Commissioner to New Zealand, his sister Diane is the Chair of the Town Planning Committee, his mother Lynn is on the ease of Business Advisory Committee to the Government.  The mother Lynn was just honoured in the National Honours of The Bahamas announced by the Governor General. Not bad huh for one family.

The island of New Providence is regularly plunged into darkness and the 19th century on a daily basis as a matter of fact.  The company which sells power to the Bahamian public, has a monopoly to do so.  It simply cannot produce the power needed.  Stephen Holowesko is one of the people the FNM have appointed to the Board that has failed the Bahamian people because the company they superintend cannot supply power to the Bahamian people in a reliable and cheap fashion.

As a member of the Board of Directors of the company, Stephen Holowesko is a public figure.  He is a public figure in that Sullivan vs New York Times sense.  He has the ability and the resources if something is said which is wrong or which is normally injurious to an ordinary citizen, he can defend himself adequately. The exception in the New York Times case is if the person acts maliciously in printing what they say.  Malicious means that they knew it was wrong and didn’t check to find out if they were wrong and then went ahead anyway with the knowledge that they were wrong.  It is a very difficult thing to prove malice.

So, Clint Watson, the journalist and talk show host, went on television and made certain allegations about the Holowesko family and Stephen Holowesko, the public figure.  They had to do with an alleged conflict of interest between his position on the Board of BPL and his private interest. Mr. Watson questioned the role that Stephen Holowesko played as a board member , the financing of the power generation units and the lack of power supply in the New Providence. Stephen Holowesko now says those allegations were false and defamatory. Clint Watson reviewed the matter and withdrew and apologized  for the allegation made about Stephen Holowesko being a principal of Fortress and the financing of the generators for BPL.

Stephen Holowesko issued a full statement which said that not only was Clint Watson wrong, that he was defamatory and malicious and that he is going to sue Clint Watson and the Island Luck station.  He went into chapter and verse about how this had injured him and his family and how his professional life had been adversely affected by it all.

The British law which we follow does not unfortunately offer a Sullivan vs the New York Times defence for Clint  Watson and Island Luck.  But it does offer something of a qualified privilege to public figures who comment in the public interest and although on the merits the former Prime Minister Edward Seaga lost his case when he tried to use the Reynolds Defence, the principle is available.  If you have acted responsibly in  making the comment, the  defence is available.

We think given the public role that Stephen Holowesko and this family have, his protest is overdone. The Shakespearean phrase, protesting too much comes to mind. The  public is entitled to know what influence this family has on the FNM government and its decisions and whether in the case of BPL this is of benefit or burden to the Bahamian people.  Sometimes life in the public domain is rough and tumble.  The sanctimoniousness of the rebuttal is a bit over the top and Stephen Holowesko should give it a rest.

Number of hits for the week ending Saturday, 13th July, 2019 up to midnight:  177,354;
Number of hits for the month of July up to Saturday, 13th July, 2019 up to midnight:  312,907;
Number of hits for the year 2019 up to Saturday, 13th July, 2019 up to midnight:  5,258,720