The lawsuit filed by former Secretary General of the People’s United Party, Myrtle Palacio, against the “Guardian Newspaper and Editor, Alfonso Noble was heard today in the courtroom Kenneth Benjamin. Palacio alleged that an article published in the newspaper was demeaning and disrespectful and that it defamed her character. Palacio’s argument is that the published article referred to her as endorsing witchcraft and as well, the Dugu a sacred ceremony by the Garinagu. Senior Counsel Said Musa represented Palacio in court this morning.
“The case is about the libeling of my client, Mrs. Myrtle Iris Palacio. She was called, among other things, a witch, practicing witchcraft of endorsing witchcraft on a Vibes Radio show sometime ago in 2015 and that, to us is a very serious libel. Very disparaging to a person’s reputation and attacking not only her reputation as a secretary general of the People’s United Party but attacking her entire Garifuna Culture.”
Palacio believes that her culture is under attack and that the published article has affected her personal and public life.
“I feel very strongly at the time and even more so now as we come under attack as a people in Belize that particularly the headline which spoke to the Cartoon which was at the bottom which to me disparages a very important part of the Dugu ceremony, the cock killing ceremony. Certainly that cartoon was there to back up whatever nonsense was in the article and it is very disparaging to me as a Belizean and as a Garifuna Belizean and also in my work as the Secretary General of the People’s United Party so I must take a stand on this and I am taking a stand on this.”
Representing the Guardian Newspaper and Defendant Alfonso Noble is Senior Counsel Michael Young. They spoke on their defense.
“This came out of a show in which Ms. Palacio was a part host or a guest on the 23rd of December 2014. It was just before the Cayo North bi-election and some hot times in politics and there was a withering attack by her on the returning officer arising from what happened on nomination day where she saw to be unprofessional and improper. Following her withering attack on Marcel Windsor someone called in and obviously it was being heard by many and said “Well let us have his name, he should be reported to the creator.” She replies “No no bun some damn candle over his head. His name is Marcello Windsor and I will contact you later to give you the color of the candle that should be used, that is what you do with those kinds of people.” In that context and having regard to the cultural beliefs, practices, phenomena in Belize what does that mean? We raise the issue of obeah and the point of the article which was written by Mr.Noble is how could you have the secretary general of the PUP or of any party making a statement like that.”
The article appeared in the January 4, 2015 edition of the Guardian Newspaper.