Barbados Reporters Visit Queen Elizabeth Hospital – Arrive In Zimbabwe Courtesy Of Royal Barbados Police Force

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The Nation News’ Senior Associate Editor Tim Slinger Roughed Up By Royal Barbados Police At Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Nation News’ Photographer Antonio Miller Manhandled By Royal Barbados Police

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CBC Reporter Jimmy Gittens Roughed Up, Arrested By Royal Barbados Police

Our comments section is open folks. Barbados Free Press will be responding with an editorial later.

From the CBC… (link)

Newsman Arrested

A freelance photographer with the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation was arrested Friday night and charged with trespassing while on assignment at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Jimmy Gittens appeared in the District A Magistrate Court Saturday morning to answer those charges and is out on bail.

Thirty five year old Gittens of the Ivy, St. Michael was arrested at the QEH while covering the arrival of the injured from the bus accident in St. John.

Gittens appeared before magistrate, Deborah Holder and bail was fixed at one thousand five hundred dollars. He is expected to return to the District A Magistrates court on July 11th. Attorney at Law Michael Lashley appeared on behalf of Gittens. The law firm of Carrington and Sealy, employed by the CBC is also examining the case.

One of the attorneys says there are plans to file a counter suit against the Royal Barbados Police Force arising out of the incident.

Members of the journalism fraternity are also reportedly planning a protest.

From The Nation News (link)…

Pressmen Roughed Up At QEH

NATION PHOTOGRAPHER Antonio Miller arrived at the Queen Elizabeth (QEH) around 8 p.m. following a report that injured passengers in a two-bus collision were being transported to the A&E Department for medical attention.

He was confronted by security personnel who ordered himoff the compound, saying it was a restricted zone and there should be no photographs or video footage taken in the area.

Miller did not leave, and half of an hour later, three uniformed police officers arrived on the scene and instructed him alsoto leave the area.

“I identified myself as a media photographer and pointed out that I was not obstructing any proceedings and was just trying to do my job,” Miller said.

At this point, the police began to forcibly remove two photographers (Miller and Jimmy Gittens, a contract photographer with the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)) from the area, and subsequently arrested and charged Gittens.

Neither Miller nor Senior Associate Editor Tim Slinger –who was also on the scene and manhandled – was arrested
or charged.

Slinger arrived on the scene just after 9 p.m. when he too was confronted by lawmenabout his presence there.

“I explained to them that I was a journalist covering the bus accident. But they [police officers] completely ignored my explanation and ordered me off the compound as well,” Slinger said.

“They held on to me,” Slinger said.

Because of the police action, neither CBC nor the SUNDAY SUN was able to get any photographs of the arriving casualties. Thirteen people were injured in the accident.

When contacted, Acting Commissioner of Police Bertie Hinds said: “I am still looking into the matter. That’s all
I can say. Come Tuesday, I will be more apprised of the situation.

“If it needs an investigation one will be carried out,” he added.

Publisher and Chief Executive Officer of the Nation Publishing Company, Vivian Anne Gittens, said last night that the company was concerned that the police’s action against personnel from the NATION could possibly be seen as a threat
to Press freedom.

“My information is that our reporter and photographer were not obstructing the work of the police, but simply doing their job. I am anxious to see if there will be an internal police investigation into the matter.”

Second Article From The Nation News… (link)

ARRESTED! 

A CARIBBEAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION (CBC) CAMERAMAN was arrested and charged, while two NATION media personnel were manhandled by police officers at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) on Friday night.

The incident occurred when the media converged outside the QEH’s Accident & Emergency (A&E) Department to report on casualties arriving from a Transport Board bus accident at Bath, St John.

Jimmy Gittens, a contract photographer with CBC, appeared before Magistrate Deborah Holder in the District “A” Bridgetown Court yesterday charged with trespassing on the QEH’s compound.

Gittens, of Mayers Road, My Lord’s Hill, St Michael, was granted $1 500 bail after pleading not guilty to the offence and will return to court on July 11.

After his appearance, the photographer spoke of having to spend the early hours of Saturday morning in a prison cell before he was eventually released on personal bail around 3 a.m. at the Central Police Station.

The CBC photographer was represented by Michael Lashley, while legal counsel for CBC, Leslie Barrow, and Brian Barrow of legal firm Carrington & Sealy, held a watching brief.

Lashley said he was surprised by the action taken against his client by police, and called for Press freedom legislation to be enacted.

He hinted that his client would possibly pursue criminal and civil action against the Royal Barbados Police Force.

“There is some ground for cross charge and obviously we will send whatever correspondence on Tuesday to the COP [Commissioner Of Police] concerning this incident.

“I also call for a Freedom of Information Act because we definitely do need some sort of legislation to allow the Press to do what is necessary once their actions are within the parameters of the law.”

CEO and Publisher of the Nation Publishing Company, Vivian-Anne Gittens, said last night that the company was also concerned that the police action against a NATION reporter and photographer, who were carrying out their duties in a public area, could possibly be seen as a threat to Press freedom.

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31 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, News Media, Politics & Corruption

31 responses to “Barbados Reporters Visit Queen Elizabeth Hospital – Arrive In Zimbabwe Courtesy Of Royal Barbados Police Force

  1. Rumplestilskin

    Elections close. Can’t afford bad punlicity, hence the QEH Management must have been told to call the Police, who must act if Management complains of ‘trespassing’.

    Thus, blame the Management and whomever made the call to get them to move the reporters, not the Police.

    Who made the call? Elections boysee, elections in the air.

  2. Get In The Action

    “I am anxious to see if there will be an internal police investigation into the matter.”

    Where was Vivian Anne Gittens all this time? Do we really think that there will be an investigation and if not will she force the issue? Makes the Nation’s hypocritical pronouncements about press freedom in Guyana look like a farce.

    We have been traveling this slippery slope for some time where journalists are bludgeoned into submission. Where is the BAJ? What do the Editors in this country stand for?

  3. concerned

    Why armed police? Why the bullet proof vest?
    The photographers were there to shoot photos.
    This is terrorism.

  4. Bajanboy

    The last thing the government should be doing is upsetting the media this close to elections. I do not see how a public location should be off limits to the media.

  5. Seatbelts in buses?

    Seatbelts in BUSes ?
    What nonsense is this!
    Buses don’t crash! only cars and airplanes crash, but buses don’t crash, which is why recently-enacted seatbelt laws don’t encompass buses.

    But the Police will harrass car drivers and we face a fine of $500.

    Are you enjoying the logic as much as I am??
    This is not just a Bajan “phenomenon” – this is global universal.
    If you have ever travelled in a bus or coach that had seatbelts for its occupants,
    whether in Barbados or another country,
    please come forward with details.

  6. Anonymous

    All this wishful thinking and talk of elections being close: I just don’t see it.
    Hope you don’t turn blue in the face, while holding yer breath,waiting!

  7. Anonymous

    At least the policeman manhandling Nation photographer Gittens
    has a pleasant smile on his face, during execution of this onerous task of suppressing the media.

    SMILE! – you’re on Barbados Free Press!!

  8. Somebody help Barbados

    sigh…did the accident happen because the buses too big for bajan roads? there was an accident between two transport board buses in Thornbury Hill on thursday morning too…did somebody ask why not use acme buses made here in Bim? Maybe it was the benzes that came along with that bus deal for ministers…everytime i pass one of those buses my heart palpitates(trying to be good though cause i ein sure if the machine at the QEH working yet…)

    do you remember something about having the speed on the buses limited…did you hear that talk sometime ago….since they still flying i guess nothing was done…big up to the bus drivers though them men got real skill to be driving them buses everyday without more accidents…sigh…bajans will take it till they can take it anymore…

    owen say the election was not calling until after his child born…the child born now we ready for the elections…DO NOT EVEN GIVE ME THAT LOOK…he that link the child to elections not me…

  9. Yardbroom

    Seatbelts in Buses?

    I have recently returned from a holiday by coach through France , Belgium and Holland the coach was fitted with seatbelts, so were all the other coaches we saw and were encouraged to belt up after each stop.

  10. North Star

    Interesting stuff Yardbroom and while all that is going on we in Canada are still and recently debating whether to put seat belts in School busses after two accidents.

    Many claim and how they can support it God knows that seat belts in school buses are no or little help to alleviating injury

  11. North Star

    Isn’t the CEO of the Nation News named Gittens too?

    I wonder if the reporter is family to her!

  12. reality check

    the real story here should have been the lives of 13
    Barbadian citizens, how the accident happened and how to prevent future accidents.

    Instead we find we have become a police state!!!

  13. Fred

    Lets replace Arthur with Mugabe and we will have everything sorted.
    Control of the media, abuse of private citizens rights, control of the business houses, no opposition and if you do find them getting vocal beat them into submission.
    All the trademarks of a dictatorship in the making here.
    This remind me very much of the same Antoino Miller’s encounter with Eddie Fearless where he was abused by Fearless the two actions funny enough have the blessing of Owing Arthur as Fearless is a loyal supporter and financial supporter of Owings gang of goons and crooks.

  14. This is why I am careful to deal with Art | Entertainment & Sports or Regional | Foreign Politics – I am neither fish nor fowl!

    My Invasion of Strathclyde series fell on deaf ears – even though I sent the story-links to Dr Duguid and the PMs official e-mail address! All I got were dirty looks from Atherley at the VIP opening of Hit For Six at the Olympus…

    Press Freedom here is not only limited to Politicians nor Elections, it can be linked in one way or another to advertising…

    I know at CBC a former Biz reporter was gonna do an expose on the REAL Barclayscard and its charges, and the bank took no qualms in squeezing the GM of the day to stop it!

    In my personal case , just before CWC this year, I saw a tv commercial being made on Westbury Road and asked the Germans making it if I could photograph it and they were threatening to sue!

    I told them I did not have to ask, I could have used my zoom and shot from the other side of the street, and again they threatened legal action – what do you do?

  15. reality check

    Ian Bourne

    help gather a group of citzens who are more concerned with the reality of transparency and accountability than the power of politics and work from within.

    With enough like minded citizens, sooner or later you control your own destiny. The DLP and BLP yardfowl may try to neutralize this movement with their own brands but by that time they will have not be believable or credible.

    The OECD will help you when you reach stumbling blocks within each party organization.

    Adrian and others appear to have integrity above blind party affiliation. Give him a phone call.

  16. North Star

    Yardbroom I hope when you were in Holland you did not go down to the Red Light District and behave like a “Yard Fowl”. Amsterdam is not a very clean City is it? Or I should say it wasn’t about 12 years ago whether they have cleaned it up since then, only people like you having recently visited would know. Dog poop all over the place and drug centres were very depressing! In many of the Downtown areas.

    Belgium is very nice but I have never gone to France. Austria, Germany and Switzerland too are beautiful and clean destinations.

    However, no more traveling for me because the security hassles, frustrations and the long flights I cannot take. Just traveling for four hours to get away from the winter almost kills me now! Plus as you get older travel health Insurance gets more costly.

    I recently had a friend who returned from a vacation in Bim and who lives on the West Coast of Canada. He flew right through with a brief stop in Toronto which is about a 10 hour flight. Within a week or so after his arrival he began to feel tired and on going to the hospital they found he had several embolisms on his lung/s. The doctors felt it was the long flight that possibly contributed to the condition. Evidently they have found sitting on an airplane for prolonged periods and even if you are able to stretch your legs a little bit given your environment can still trigger embolisms in many people. As you know embolisms are very serious and life threatening.

  17. Yardbroom

    North Star

    I enjoyed my stay in Holland, I have been there before – when I visited Anne Frank’s house as I did this time – and it has certainly changed particularly in Amsterdam. I was told The Red Light district is the fourth most popular tourist attraction after the Anne Frank House, Van Gogh Museum and the Rembrandt Museum, I did go there – with a party- at my age all I can say it would be interesting for young unmarried men of a certain age, even as “eye candy” only, it would be a nice experience.

    I did find the Keukenhof Gardens in Holland delightful, depite the tulips having been cut, they came early this year, some say that has something to do with global warming.

    France is as usual nice, I still cannot get to grips with the topography of Beligum and Holland, the flatness of the countryside is amazing, but there is good order and structure to it.

    I lived in Germany for five years some time ago, but did not make it this time, I have been to Austria on several ocassions, similar to Germany in many respects, I have never visited Switzerland.

    In previous years I enjoyed the peace and tranquility of the Southern Germany particularly Bavaria, the Castles perched on the mountains are a delight to see and the wild flowers in spring enrich the soul.

    There is a lot going on in Amsterdam at the moment, a new tube system is being constructed. When one considers the terrain of Holland the Dutch who are very industrious, have achieved so much.

    I was in Canada, New Brunswick in 1967 doing some engineering work when I was in the Military, but that was only for five weeks.

    On a lighter note the ladies of the Red Light District in Holland, now have their own magazine, it is called The Red Lantern, some would say, hope it shines brightly.

  18. Yardbroom

    North Star
    I hope your friend has recovered, long haul flights can be a bit tricky, and the frustrations of security these days – a necessity – makes travel very trying. I recall the days when customs were only looking for that extra bottle of rum in your luggage, travel was then a most pleasant experience, not it seems hassle for people who simply wish to travel from a to b.

  19. North Star

    Sounds like you did it right. Travel to me is an eye opener and it is too bad children cannot do it with parents at a younger age to open their minds about other countries, cultures and customs.

    My friend dodged the bullet as they say and is slowly recovering.

    Cheeeeers

  20. The Phoenix

    Poor journalists in Barbados !

    Are we any different from what obtains in Cuba , Venezuela & Zimbabwe ?

    I am yet to hear the Minister responsible for CBC express his views on this one !

    I look forward to Albert Brandford next article….now that his journalistic colleagues have been treated this way under an Owen Arthur & Clyde Mascoll BLP party !

  21. Rumplestilskin

    But wait, we frequently hear of thugs on the loose in the QEH, chasing down opposing gang members, no?

    So does this effective security that we have witnessed mean that thugs will no longer be able to raom the QEH, terrorising legit patients, or is this effective treatment only applicable to the quiet and harmless?

    Hmmph.

  22. Jerome Hinds

    The media houses in Jamaica also expressing concern about treatment and comments expressed by the political directorate and its supporters .

    http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/html/20070612T230000-0500_124270_OBS_IF_A_CAMPAIGN_NEWS_BLACKOUT_BECOMES_NECESSARY_.asp

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  24. Wishing in Vain

    Here again we have the heavy hand of the law at work once again.
    I am left to feel that these actions are the result of instructions from higher authority and I sincerely hope they are not coming from Mr Dottin as that would be a real let down for me.
    Why in heavens name are they so aggresive in recent times?

  25. K

    I can sympathise with what the cops were trying to do – I wouldn’t want pictures of dead loved ones taken by reporters. But taking emotion out of consideration, this type of police action is inexcusable – outrageous in fact. Surely they can find other methods by which to keep bodies out of view of the media.

  26. Wishing in Vain

    Have we become a police state, it seems to me that we have.

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  28. Cheryl S.

    I think this is outrageous. It is neccessary for the press to cover imprtant news events such as this tragic accident. It seems as though there my be something to hide or some political motive for not allowing the media on the QEH grounds. My uncle was also involved in a serious accident on Saturday. He lost a large amount of blood, has suffered a multitude of broken bones and the Lord only knows how many internal injuries. It is tuesday and he has yet to be scheduled for the surgery doctors said he would need nor has he received any blood. My self and my family would like to a full investigation as to the medical practices occurring in QEH. It is devasting to the families of victims transported to QEH in need of emergency medical care who are not receiving adequate treatment. Something needs to be done and I am joining the fight for better patient care.

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  30. Reporters Arrested Again?

    Well now 2 photographers have now been arrested for trying to get pics of the policeman accused of cocaine possession.
    Details BFP.

    *****************************
    *****************************

    BFP george say: post what you know here. When? Where? Who was arrested? Tell wa you know pls.

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