Tag Archives: Barbados Inquest

Arch Cot Inquest: Where are the missing witnesses?

If your name is on the following list, please contact the Coroner’s office.

Two days ago Barbados Free Press received an email from a person who said they were witness to some of the events at Arch Cot. They provided us with a lengthy and detailed account of what they saw and their contact information so we could confirm that they sent the email to us.

Their name is on the list of missing witnesses below.

We will not be publishing their statement at this time. We forwarded their email to the Coroner along with their contact information.

Friends, it is important that what was seen is testified to at the Inquest. We urge witnesses to contact the Coroner’s office with their story. We at BFP promise you this: If the Coroner’s Inquest does not hear your testimony, we will print it here. That said, we urge witnesses to contact the Coroner’s office first.

If your name is on the following list, please contact the Coroner’s office at 429-4292 as soon as possible. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Building Collapse, Disaster

Exclusive: Barbados Coroner shuns Canadian expert. Hans Machel not called to Arch Cot Inquest

Updated: November 16, 8:45pm Bridgetown

Coroner Faith Marshall-Harris says she will now “explore the possibility” of summonsing Professor Machel to the inquest. Hopefully he will be available. (Isn’t that exam time at a University?) He could have been given many months notice but the Coroner is laying this on at the last moment due to pressure from the Codrington family.

Attorney David Comissiong, who is representing the interest of Donavere Codrington, asked the court to also summon Professor Hans Machel, a specialist in earth and atmospheric science at the University of Alberta in Canada, who conducted an independent study of the cave after the apartment collapsed.

The coroner pointed out that she would explore the possibility of getting the professor here.

… from The Nation article Arch Cot Visit

Original BFP article…

BFP Exclusive: New interview with Professor Machel

BFP Exclusive: Codrington Family wants Professor Hans Machel to testify

Coroner Faith Marshall-Harris summonsed over 70 witnesses to the ongoing Inquest into the deaths of five members of the Codrington family, who died in 2007 when their home fell into a collapsing cave.

Barbados Free Press has learned that the Coroner did not summons University of Alberta Earth Sciences Professor Hans Machel (photo above) – nor has he ever been contacted by the Coroner’s staff or investigators despite Machel’s offers to provide the evidence and information he and his team collected about the Arch Cot cave-in and deaths.

Sources close to the Codrington family inform Barbados Free Press that the family is most interested in having Professor Machel attend the next inquest date on Friday, December 3, 2010, and the site visit to Arch Cot Terrace scheduled for that same day.

There is despair among some family members that “This inquest is being stage-managed like a play with only certain actors allowed to take part.”

It is obvious that the people who run Barbados do not want to see the evidence that Professor Machel and his team gathered during his publicly reported investigations into the Codrington deaths. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Building Collapse, Disaster, Real Estate

Barbados Death Boat Inquest Starts – Senegal Migrants Starved When Abandoned By Smugglers

“I would like to send to my family in Bassada (a town in western Senegal) a sum of money. Please excuse me and goodbye. This is the end of my life in this big Moroccan sea,”

… victim Diao Souncar Dieme wrote his goodbyes. (Times Online: Mystery of death boat that drifted 3,000 miles off course)

barbados-death-boat2.jpg

Drifting Boat Found Off Barbados April 29, 2006

Some three years after Bajan fisherfolk made the grim discovery of a boat full of bodies off our coast, Barbados is holding an inquest into the deaths of the African migrants who perished trying to journey to Europe. Barbados Free Press followed the story at the time of the discovery and afterwards, but nothing has been heard about the case for some time. There were reports of arrests made of the smugglers who abandoned the boat, but we have been unable to find any recent updates online. None of the original links to Barbados news media websites still work as the Nation News removed all previous stories earlier this year. (So much for the historical record!)

For background, you can start with our July 23, 2006 story Barbados Death Boat Arrest, or search “death boat” in our search bar at the top.

I hope that the Barbados news media closely follows the inquest. In this day and age, there is no reason why the inquest records should not be made available online.

Here is the Nation story – at least until they take it down: Fishermen made grim discovery

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Filed under Africa, Barbados, Disaster, Human Rights

I’Akobi Maloney Inquest Verdict On Friday, April 24, 2009 – Coroner’s Court, Bridgetown Barbados

iakobi_tacuma_barbados

“If the Barbados government and police think that calls for an inquiry into the death of I’Akobi Tacuma Maloney will just fade away, they are very mistaken…”

From the August 28, 2008 Barbados Free Press article Harvard Law School’s Global Voices Translates I’Akobi Tacuma Maloney Articles For Major Worldwide Audience

Inquest Into Suspicious Death Of I’Akobi Exposed The Low Level Of Professionalism Of Barbados Police

I’Akobi Maloney died in the custody of Barbados police officers on June 17, 2008 when he fell to his death over a 50 foot cliff and into the sea at Cove Bay, St. Lucy. The police say he broke free and jumped willingly to his death. I’Akobi’s family and thousands of Barbadians do not believe that story. All too late, the coroner was asked to hold an inquest – but no independent investigation was conducted to gather evidence to present to the coroner. The Barbados police would be the agency to investigate its own actions!

There would not even have been an inquest into the death of I’Akobi Maloney except for the outrage of thousands of citizens who signed the petition, wrote letters to newspapers and published the case on the Internet. There would not have been an inquest except for Maloney’s grief-stricken mother angrily confronting Prime Minister David Thompson in public. There would not have been an inquest except for the fear that world attention would be focused on Barbados. There would not have been an inquest except for the fear that the Rastafarian community of Barbados would eventually turn to violence if the cover-up continued and the police were allowed to investigate themselves.

Other less-publicized incidents involving potential police wrongdoing — such as shooting unarmed people in the back of the head — are not subject to independent inquiries (or any inquiries at all) when the victim does not have the benefit of a large and tightly organized community.

The inquest into Maloney’s death is not evidence of the supremacy of the rule of law in Barbados — it is an anomaly brought about by fear, and not a sense by the government that the right thing must always be done.

Nonetheless, here we are. The verdict of the coroner’s inquest will be delivered this Friday. We at Barbados Free Press did not attend any of the hearings and we must rely, like the majority of the population, on newspaper and media reports and the reports published on the Internet by the Rastafarian community.

And judging from those reports, no matter what the findings of the coroner, the big losers in this inquest are every officer of the Royal Barbados Police Force. The police witnesses and their upper-level management were exposed at the inquest as raw amateurs in many areas of policing, including evidence gathering, community relations, general investigation, note taking, report writing, and [ of course ] lying. They couldn’t even lie with professionalism.

“It is clear to a blind man on a galloping horse that the two of you sat down and word for word wrote a single statement, and the problem is I don’t really have a corroboration,”

… Coroner Faith Marshall-Harris to Royal Barbados Police Force officers Constable Wendell Walkes and Acting Sergeant Wingrove Headley

Truly, the inquest revealed that the Royal Barbados police force are the gang who couldn’t shoot straight — except when they shoot unarmed people in the back of the head.

So far, the list of unprofessional police conduct to come out at the inquest includes…

— The failure of police to obtain timely and individual statements from the officers present at I’Akobi’s death. statements were not obtained for two weeks, and then they were almost word for word copies — showing that the officers discussed and agreed to give a common version of the incident rather than their own true recollections as to what happened. Their statements contained even the same grammatical errors.

— The resistance of the police to allowing the family to have an independent doctor present at the postmortem.

— The failure of Assistant Police Superintendent Curvant Harvey to conduct scientific forensic tests on the police officers firearms and other equipment and clothes worn by them that  day.

— The failure of police to properly photograph and document the death scene until August 6, 2008 — almost 2 months after the incident.

— The failure of police officers at the scene on the day of the death to make investigative notes, or to take photos and videos of the area and the sea state.

— Releasing evidence (I’Akoi’s shoulder bag) prior to any inquest.

— Claiming that I’Akobi was wearing his shoulder bag when he jumped into the sea, when it was obvious the bag had never been into the sea.

Once again, in a very public way, Barbados is once again seen to be a country where the police are not only in charge of investigating themselves — they are obviously incapable of doing so in a competent manner.

Further Reading

AfriKa CRY BLOOD – A blog about the circumstances surrounding the death of I’Akobi Maloney

BFP, August 1, 2008 – Suspicious Death Brings World Attention Upon Royal Barbados Police Force

BFP, July 26, 2008 – Coroner’s Inquests Can Take 25 Years In Barbados – Legalities Not A Priority With Successive Governments

BFP, July 22, 2008 – Let’s Discuss This Again: Nation News Finally Discovers That Barbados Police Don’t Give A Damn About Rule Of Law

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Culture & Race Issues, Freedom Of Information, Human Rights, Police, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption, Religion