Michael in his letter attached a drafted apology and retraction that he is expecting to be included in the next issue of all the media houses that the article appeared.
“Failing which,” he cautioned, “my attorneys in St. John’s and Basseterre will commence legal action against you and the media houses in one week.”
In the article which Michael said he was “absolutely horrified at" Astaphan questioned his (Micheal's) presence during Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas' trip to India and whether tax payers monies were possibly a source of funding for his airfare and accommodation there.
Astaphan described Michael as a dear friend of Prime Minister, Dr. Denzil Douglas and said the two “love hanging out together.”
“They’re so close that they’ve celebrated birthdays together in Antigua, Las Vegas, and elsewhere,” he added.
Moreover he charged, “I can’t tell you at this time who had to foot the bills for Dr. Douglas’ air fare, accommodation and other expenses on these birthday bashes, and other jaunts, in Antigua, Las Vegas, etc. I hope that it wasn’t the tax payers of this Federation.
In the ‘Busted in India?’ piece, Astaphan asked “If it’s the Government of St. Kitts & Nevis that paid to get Mr. Michael to India and back, why? And how much money belonging to the tax payers of St. Kitts & Nevis, in cash and kind, has Denzil Douglas spent on Asot Michael to date?”
Michael in his letter addressed such an allegation. According to him, he has credit card receipts showing travel and hotel expenses he paid for himself.
“This vile suggestion masquerading as a question has maligned my professional standing as an accomplished entrepreneur and highly regarded public servant. It conveyed that I would cause the taxpayers to meet my airfare and hotel expenses. I am in receipt of all the credit card and airline receipts showing that I paid for my own travel and hotel expenses,” Michael remarked.
“The article title, “Busted in India?” dabbles in character lynching, with no consideration of journalistic integrity or professional ethics. For example, it gives the bogus impression of an arrest, or of being caught breaking the law, or the uncovering of an illegal and/or clandestine act by the subjects of your article. In stark contrast to the ordinary meaning of the term, no-one was “busted.” Clearly, your newspaper’s reputation rests squarely on its ability to provide factual information, and therefore, in tone and substance, it unleashed a host
of defamatory havoc poisoned with volcanic deception, wild innuendoes, and ambitious imprudence,” Michael told Astaphan in the letter.
Michael told Astaphan in the letter that, “Worst amongst your hurricane of personal attacks, is the error which falsely misidentified my role in the Government of Antigua and Barbuda.”
Michael explained that he has had correspondence from the Tribune (in India) which has promised to withdraw the “mistake” of saying he was “foreign Minister of Antigua “ by putting the actual designation as “member of Parliament.”
“I believe that you disregarded expectations of official protocols, which the PM Baldwin Spencer of Antigua and Barbuda would have expected me to safeguard appropriately," Michael remarked in the letter.
Michael’s Draft Apology and Retraction for Astaphan to use is as follows:
On April 11, 2012, I did write and caused to be published in the St. Kitts and Nevis online newspaper SKNVIBES.com, on April 13, 2012 in the St. Kitts and Nevis Observer, on Friday, April 14, 2012, in the News Pages in Antigua and Barbuda, and on April 16, 2012, on Caribarena’s website in Antigua and Barbuda an article that defamed and maligned Mr. Asot Michael, Member of Parliament for the St. Peter’s Constituency in Antigua. I apologize profusely to Mr. Asot Michael and repeat that I did not intend to cause him the grief and injury that resulted from the several errors of fact which the article contained. I have also directed that the article be retracted and that it be removed from the World Wide Web and from the website of the St. Kitts and Nevis Observer, the SKNVIBES.com website in St. Kitts, Antigua Caribarena.com, and News Pages in Antigua and Barbuda, immediately. Mr. Asot Michael accepts my apology in exchange for this retraction and a promise not to repeat any of the claims which I wrongly made against him.