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Gumbs seeks legal advice on Rowley’s book

Published: 
Sunday, September 25, 2016
Anika Gumbs

Rosemarie Sant 

A former journalist who has been immortalised in a book written by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley titled From Mason Hall to Whitehall is seeking legal advice on the contents in a chapter of the book in which political allegations have been made about her. 

Eight paragraphs of the chapter “Institutional Failure and Political Nastiness” have been dedicated to former journalist Anika Gumbs and detail a visit to Rowley’s Diego Martin home for an interview. 

Gumbs told the Sunday Guardian she had “informed her attorney Nizam Mohammed about the matter” and referred all questions to him. 

Mohammed confirmed he had “a phone conversation with Ms Gumbs” whom he is also representing in a matter between Gumbs and the Sunshine newspaper over similar allegations. He gave no further information, only adding that he has a heavy workload at this time. 

In August last year, Gumbs, through her attorney, initiated legal action against the Sunshine newspaper for what she described as malicious attacks designed to deliberately defame her character. 

The pre-action protocol letter to the newspaper demanded an apology, a sum in “exemplary” damages for injury to her reputation, and legal costs of $15,000. Mohammed confirmed there has been no case management hearing in this matter. 

In his book, launched on September 17, Rowley made claims about contracts, a mansion and a luxury vehicle. He also goes into detail about a visit by Gumbs to his home in April 2015 at her request to discuss a story she was working on. 

He said he asked his trusted assistant Cleveland Howell who was at home with him to let her into the family room when she arrived. He said, “She fidgeted and nattered without engaging me in any serious conversation. She asked me a couple of nondescript questions about nothing that I found particularly interesting.” 

Rowley said he found it curious that “nothing that was being said was so sensitive that it could not have been raised over the phone,” but he said he thought nothing sinister about it at the time. 

That is until the Express carried a story in which Gumbs reported to her editor-in-chief that she had been to his house in pursuit of her job and he had made comments to her that were “so inappropriate and that so traumatised her that she had to enter a counselling programme.” 

Rowley said she indicated that “when she arrived at my house I greeted her bareback at the gate and upon hearing that she was being stalked I offered to guard her bedroom.” 

He said, “According to her I was also interested in knowing about some tattoo she had on some exposed part of her body. She also alleged that I praised her sucrose or saccharin levels when a bee inadvertently landed on her.” 

According to him, “This was too much.” 

He alleged that the incident was linked to the NO ROWLEY campaign launched by the then PP government. 

He said he felt she came to his home “with a plan to accuse me of something very serious which would have seen me possibly being arrested and certainly scandalised for some sexual assault and in which case I most certainly would have been out of the election race.” 

But he said the “unexpected presence of Cleveland caused her to concoct an unbelievable tale." 

In her resignation letter to Express Editor-in-Chief Omatie Lyder in early August 2015, Gumbs detailed three meetings with Rowley—one at the office of the then Opposition Leader in January, and two other meetings at his private home on April 9 and April 21. 

She alleged that at the April 9 meeting he touched her on the back while asking about her tattoo and on April 21 Rowley asked about being a bodyguard outside her bedroom. She also said he was bareback during their meeting. (See Page A8)

Rowley responds: 

Tell her to read Nike ad

When told last evening via text message that Gumbs was contemplating legal action with regard to comments he made in his book about her, Rowley’s response was, “Contemplate? Tell her to read the Nike advertisement! I would welcome her return from under whichever stone she has crawled out from under.”

(With reporting by Kalifa Clyne)