By Marion V. Ali
Senior Counsel Rodwell Williams, attorney for Deputy Prime Minister, Gaspar Vega, has written to Ramon “Munchie” Cervantes this week, informing him of his intention to sue for libel if he does not publicly apologize and retract statements made last Thursday.
Cervantes and his family called a press conference last week and played the recording of a taped conversation which named Vega in a plot to kill Ramon Cervantes Sr.
The letter from Williams gives Cervantes until Monday, November 17th to meet his demands or face a possible lawsuit. The apology and retraction, the letter stipulates, should be written and signed by Cervantes, but must be approved beforehand by Vega. It is also to be given equal prominence in the media as were the allegations that came out of the press conference.
The letter from Williams quotes sections of the taped conversation and describes them as baseless, untrue very serious slander.
Publication of these have caused Mr. Vega and his family “considerable distress and embarrassment and have put him and his family in fear for his own safety and well-being”, the letter states in part.
It also states that the allegations have caused “injury to his (Vega’s) reputation and to his office as a Minister of Government”.
Cervantes told The Reporter on Thursday that he does not intend “to apologize or retract anything”. He pointed out that he personally did not make the accusation.
“It was Castillo who called us and gave us the information. All we are doing is seeking truth,” Cervantes said.
Cervantes contends that in the sequence of events since his father’s kidnapping and murder in early July, people need to realize that he and his family are the real victims.
“My father was murdered. Let’s not forget that. We are the ones who are the victims here”, the political aspirant lamented. He went on to appeal to the police to investigate with vigour, the allegations made on the taped recording.
Police Commissioner Allen Whylie, has said that the police will investigate the tape-recorded telephone conversation. Cervantes filed a copy of that recording with the Orange Walk police a week ago Friday.
The conversation between Mrs. Vilma Cervantes and the man she believes to be Manuel Castillo, provided names of persons who Castillo said were the ones behind the plot to kill Ramon Cervantes Sr.
Castillo, who fled from Orange Walk and remains at large, said that he did not take part in the killing because he couldn’t, since he knew Cervantes too well. The two were neighbours and family friends.
The younger Cervantes, who is running for public office under the PUP banner, has said from the outset that his father’s killing was politically-motivated.
He told this newspaper that his father’s death has not deterred him from running. He added that his father’s support for his political ambitions is another reason why he will not step aside.
“My father was my greatest campaigner and this is exactly what he would have wanted me to do if he were still here”, he said.
Three men have been detained by Orange Walk police for the murder of Ramon Cervantes Sr. A fourth man, Manuel Castillo, to is being actively sought by the police.