PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — The former chairman of the Caribbean New Media Group (CNMG), Brian Stone, has been ordered to pay Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley TT$350,000 following a defamation lawsuit.

In October 2019, Rowley sued Stone, an activist with the main opposition United National Congress (UNC), for statements he made in 2017 and posted to Facebook.

Stone’s comments regarded allegations that the prime minister received bribes from a particular segment of the population.

He also accused Dr Rowley of engaging in corruption for the construction of a building in the western end of the country.

According to a post on the prime minister’s Facebook page, the court ruled that the defamation “was of utmost gravity and aimed to do maximum damage to the reputation of the claimant”.

The ruling includes damages, aggravated damages plus costs.

The prime minister had taken to the stand last year where he spent 15 minutes giving testimony before being excused.

Stone sought to have Rowley cross-examined but was denied due to his failure to file an application as per the court’s rules.

CNMG was rebranded the Trinidad and Tobago Television (TTT) channel in 2018, three years after the People’s National Movement came into power.

Stone has indicated that he will appeal.