Local media interviewing Grenadian journalist Hamlet Mark (R) following his release without charge after he was arrested by police in St Vincent while reporting on a public protest. Photo: NDP/Facebook
By Caribbean News Now contributor
KINGSTOWN, St Vincent -- Questions are being asked regionally and internationally after Grenadian journalist Hamlet Mark was taken into custody by police while covering a public protest by supporters of the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) outside the Electoral Office in Kingstown, St Vincent, on Thursday.
Mark, who runs Caribupdate News Services and is also an advisor to the Keith Mitchell government in Grenada, returned to the Kingstown protest following his release from police custody on Thursday afternoon after about six hours detention. No charges were laid against him but he was reportedly forced to listen to a police lecture regarding him damaging the ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP).
Mark is known to have made several trips to St Vincent over the past weeks, covering the general elections and the developments that have followed, including the current protests.
The opposition NDP has accused the ULP of cheating in a number ways during and before the December 9, 2015, general elections, including giving away more than $10 million worth of government- owned building supplies to their supporters to bribe them to vote for the ULP.
The NDP has also complained that hundreds of ULP supporters registered falsely in constituencies where they did not live and had not lived for the required statutory period. But the biggest complaint is that ballot boxes were allegedly tampered with, having been left unsealed overnight in a police station.
On Wednesday, police took nine protesters into custody and charged four of them with illegal assembly, apparently citing a law that says no protest or public meeting can take place within 200 yards of a government ministry office.
Mark was filming the police reaction to the latest demonstration last Thursday when a senior officer ordered that he be taken into custody. He was reportedly filming a police officer who he had previously recorded the previous day whilst arresting Luzette King, an outspoken NDP supporter. The police officer apparently took an offence to being filmed and ordered him to be arrested.
Mark went quietly with the police officers to the Central Police Station, located a few hundred yards away.
While he was being taken to the police station, he reportedly asked the officers if he was under arrest but they told him they did not know. Others arrested were told to wait until they got to the police station and a senior officer would decide what to charge them with.
At the station, Mark was booked and his camera and microphone were taken from him; however, they were returned to him with all his other belongings including files when he was released.
Like most of those who were arrested by the police, on release he claimed he was verbally abused by police officers while in custody. He was apparently berated with verbal abuse from officers. He was told he was putting the ULP government in a bad light and embarrassing the government and that they didn’t want him at the protest, accusing him of being anti-ULP.
According to local sources, Mark was perhaps fortunate that he was not roughed up because three of those detained by the police had to attend hospital after being in custody for a short time, one man with suspected broken ribs.
The ULP won the December 9 elections and a fourth term in office by taking eight of the 15 parliamentary seats, while the NDP won the remaining seven. However, the NDP has alleged a number of offences by the ULP under the Representation of the People Act
While regional and international observers have declared the elections free and fair, they were not present on the island when the claimed giveaway of government building materials took place, which is described by NDP as election bribery.
The NDP claims that the ULP stole the ballot and is contesting the results in court.
The protest was given a big boost with its largest crowd on Thursday, its 28th day, after the police crackdown on Wednesday. The word of what happened the previous day appeared to infuriate many Vincentian citizens, including some visiting from the Diaspora, swelling the crowds.
This was apparently the first time Mark had ever been detained by police during a journalistic assignment, and besides that he has never been intimidated by police before. The incident brings into question freedom of the press in SVG as the protests in Kingstown continue.
A local political activist said, “Don’t just take the local guys’ word about intimidation; ask Hamlet Mark, he is the living proof.”
Hamlet was asked to move back a bit from where he was filming and refused. He was then asked again to move back, and again refused saying âIâm a journalist and journalist should be allowed toâŚâetc in a distasteful and contemptuous manner to the officer in charge, who then confronted him asking him âif he think he was the PoliceââŚ Well we all think we know what happened afterwards.
Nothing really! Hamlet Mark was detained for a few hours, chastised and rebuked for disobeying the officer in charge. He then apologized and was released without charge, and was allowed to continue with his coverage (all be it one-sided)
However, isnât this the same Hamlet Mark who back in 2010 Grenada PM Tillman Thomas accused âof giving Grenada a bad name in the regional and International mediaâ?
Was this his intention in SVG?
Isnât this the same Hamlet Mark who Munich Farmer accused in an âOpen letter to Hamlet Markâ of complicity in a number of instances, admonishing him for using âevery facility and faculty at your disposal in publishing scores of blog wantonly attacking the NDC administrationâ?
Was Hamlet Mark about to use âevery facility and faculty at his disposal in publishing scores of blog âwantonly attackingâ the ULP administrationâ? (Case in pointâŚ Read his, Saturday, January 23, 2016 âEyeing down âRalphâs enforcerââ and todayâs Monday, January 25, 2016 âThe hard reality of factsâ). http://caribupdate.blogspot.com/2016/01/the-hard-reality-of-facts-late-american.html
Isnât this the same Hamlet Mark that was labeled by âGrenadian Classâ as âŚâthe Joseph Goebbels of Grenadaâ.
So what the hell was Hamlet Mark really up to in SVG? Now we seeâŚ And so did the Police!
Thereâs an old saying âevery dog has its dayâ...well Hamlet Mark didnât have his day (way) in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and if wasnât for our no-nonsense, compassionate, full of restraint and professional officers on duty, his âassâ would have been in court facing a charge of âfailure to complyââŚ and âobstructionâ! Better luck next time Hamlet Mark!
Vincy police under Commissioner Charles, are a bunch of âsweet heartsââŚThe âregionâ could learn a lot by studying how our police treat âbelligerent citizensâ on the protest line with such gentleness, such grace, such restraintâŚ UNBELIEVABLE!
Write about these things Hamlet Mark! Write about these things!
Question of the day:
Who is "Caribbean News Now Contributor", Luzette King or Peter Binose? let me guess... Luzette King and Peter Binose is one and the same.
What a piece of NDP one-sided, shabby, anti-police and barefaced "lies like hell"! reporting, and typical 'Binose-King' style.
1. The giving of gifts to actual or potential supporters of one political party or the other has been taking place throughout the Caribbean -- indeed throughout the Third World -- since adult suffrage. In developed countries such "bribery" and "vote buying" occurs on the basis of election promises to select groups (for example, a promise to lower taxes for high income earners or increase pensions for retirees). In our semi-literate Caribbean civilization, most voters could not possibly understand many of the complex promises listed in party manifestos -- nor do they have the patience or resources to wait for their enactment -- hence the need to "bribe" them up front.
Is this "vote buying" illegal? Probably not, in terms of the way it is administered and the fact that everyone does it. Has anyone ever been prosecuted for doing so? I don't know, but have never heard of such in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
2. While demonstrating is legal, my understanding is that in many circumstances of organized demonstrations headed by a particular registered interest group like a political party it has to have a permit. Did the NDP ask for and was granted a permit to demonstrate? Not that I am aware of.
Are demonstrators sometimes roughed up in the heat of the moment when everyone, including the police, is pumped full of adrenaline? Happens all the time, all over the world. But from what I have seen on television, the police responded in a routine fashion. What happened behind closed doors at police headquarters is anyone's guess.
3. The only party to benefit from "police brutality" would be the demonstrators and their party, the NDP. The ruling ULP has everything to lose if the police get out of hand: their reputation locally and regionally; the allegiance of their own supporters; and even their power if demonstrations turn to mass civil disobedience which turns to insurrection which turns to revolution which turns to the overthrow of a duly elected, albeit wicked and incompetent, government.
4. Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of SVG, knows all this and is too clever a politician to let the police get out of hand. This is why the authorities have been relatively subdued in their crowd control (compared to other countries where the dogs, horses, fire hoses, and tear gas would have been unleashed long ago).
5. The NDP knows full well that they will lose their appeal of the election results in the courts based on the slim and circumstantial evidence they have presented; hence, their own chance to gain power rests with a coup d'etat which rests on the foundation of peaceful demonstration which turn unpeaceful as frustration grows.
6. As for the confinement of Mark Hamlet, keep in mind that the most incompetent, most ignorant, most ill trained, and most ill tempered sector of public service in SVG is the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force.
Vincyman Comrade Skank. Poofta news shooter, and safe houses for terrorists in the US may all be the same person.
I have said this so many times "I know that the truth is annoying and damaging to the ULP Party and the ULP government [one of the same thing] but it will always prevail. Vincyman your litany of lies above are just a bunch of nonsense. You cannot dispute that it happened so instead you like the police make up a cock and bull story about the man, what he said and how he reacted to the police.
Quite simply lies and more lies in an attempt to discredit one of the Caribbeans most respected and active journalist.
The top and bottom of the matter is that he as a member of the press he was taken up and threatened and lectured about the ULP in an attempt to stifle and destroy the freedom of the press.
If I have to believe how the turn of events evolved and what was said to Mr Mark, I will choose to believe him. Why? because you Vinciman whichever of the three you are today are known and proven liars.
As for who wrote this article it could not be myself or Lucette because if either of us wrote it we would most certainly put our names to it, you silly twisted little twerp and liar extraordinaire.
(1) âThe giving of giftsââŚ are not only confined to lesser developed countries but can be realized in developed nations alikeâŚ Canada, the UK and the US, to name a few. Billionaires, multi-millionaires, CEOâs of large Corporations, special interest groups, and wealthy private citizens play their parts also. What you thought you saw or heard during the election period, was just the continuation of the distributions of materials that were already earmarked for distribution to folks that had been affected during the hurricanes. ULP and NDP supporters all benefited. This act had to be completed in the event of a change of government. As the mighty Sparrow says âThatâs allâŚThatâs allâŚ Thatâs allâŚ! Purely coincidental.
(2) âWhile demonstrating is legalââŚ demonstrators âmust have a permitâ, and be confined to a given area or areas supervised by the Police. Those outside the set parameters would be breaking the law, and subject to arrest.
(3) No demonstrators were once âwantonlyâ roughed up by the police. There are no recorded instances of brutality, or persons being treated for any injuries at hospitals inflicted on them by any Police officer to wit.
(4) I agree whole heartedly. âAuthorities have been relatively subdued in their crowd controlâ, owing to the goodness, the fastidiousness of our Commissioner Michael Charles and his office. And to the competent, well trained, and outstanding officers of our esteemed RSVGPF .
(5) The NDP and its party strategists know full well what their intentions are, and that is to try and destabilize this government and the country, in the hopes of bringing down the incumbent ULP through acts of unwarranted and illegal political protests, harassment of government officials, sabotage of government property, arson, defamation etc. And with the help of local and foreign agents, anti-ULP proponents all, to engage in the nastiest form of propaganda and lies to sully the name of PM Ralph Gonsalves and the ULP.
(6) âAs for the confinement of Hamlet Markâ keep in mind that Mr Mark brought this upon himself by not following the instructions of the police officer in charge. Furthermore I vehemently disagree with your remarks about our Police Force. Unlike the force of yesteryear under the old NDP government, this new breed of officers are better trained, and better equipped in all aspects of law enforcement, to attend to the needs of this nation and all its citizens as a whole ; as witnessed by their exemplary behavior towards the protesters. Moreover you yourself have indicated that their (the police) response was nothing more than âroutineâ and ârelatively subdued in their crowd controlâ (compared to other countries where the dogs, horses, fire hoses, and tear gas would have been unleashedâŚ). We as Vincentians should be proud of our officers and the RSVGPF for the humility and restraint exacted under these most debilitating circumstances. I know I am!
â Labour Loveâ on display???!!!
@ Peter âde Punkâ Binose:
Binose-King did you put on your "attorney at law" hat today? Are you speaking on behalf of your client? Well tell your client to publish the clip (Video or Audio) that has the police voice and his voice on it, so we can hear what was said on the day he was detained. I bet he wont!
As to his reputation which you pretend to rejoice over, I say âBSâ. One just has to Google Hamlet Mark and see how his reputation precedes him. There are journalists and there ARE journalists! The former reminds me of historians like Dr Adrian Fraser,(NDP) Lawyers like Kay Bacchus-Brown,(NDP) and Bloggers like Peter Binose (NDP)(Caribbean News Now Contributor). The latter, wellâŚ.! You get the point. On the other hand, I canât stop reading your âFarewell letterâ and laughing at how youâre such a "frigging liar" a "fraud" and a despicable King without a throne. GO AWAY! You need to be thrown to the dogsâŚPUNK! I think I will call you Luzette Ting' from now onâŚPUNK! Goodbye miss Ting' ah ling ling !
Vincipratt, I know you hope that if you tell enough lies and big enough lies, someone somewhere will believe you.
What comes through is your anger at being beaten up every time you come here, and how you have found it increasingly difficult to present wrong as right in the attempt to protect the ULP regime and the Gonsalves/Francis family dynasty, the want to be owners of Saint Vincent as their private plantation.
Your anger comes through in the way you stoop into telling lies and fabricating stories and then calling the names of decent Vincentians in the hope of sullying their good names and reputations.
None of the people that you name have been accused of sexual assault or rape. None of them have been known to fraudulently organize giving away assets and belongings of the state. The use of punk also tells me exactly who you are on this occasion you are the Vincentian realtor living in Florida who has the Chihuahua dog who you take to the park whilst you frolic and cottage incognito.
You see you should not write when your angry, you should write poetry.
Any way you simpleton every time you write such nasty crap it causes more damage to the ULP than it saves them from being in the wrong all the time. So carry on and you will eventually destroy the scum for us, thanks for that.
Luzette Binose-Ting, what kind of Lawyer are you? Is this how you're defending Hamlet? You should be thrown to the dogs!
Instead of writing that "Farewell letter from Peter Binose" you posted not long ago on this site, go back and write a "Last Will and Testament" then come and beat up Vinciman; come on, ah waiting outside! "Leh dem run into me en play stupid..."
Speaking about "beat up", you should know, you should know! This "alleged" rape thing you always try to peddle when cornered, didn't get the accused any "jail time". How about you? Did you get any jail time for YOUR beat-up? Well! Did you?
Come better prepared next time you come to plead one's cause or to advocate on behalf of. Punk!
Can anyone tell me who owns this site please? http://nakeddeparture.com/2015/12/02/
Jenny,I'm sure I can be of assistance."Who owns the site? You forget? It's Jenny Binose!
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