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Letter: Threat of bodily harm and wrongful arrest by police
Published on January 7, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

Dear Sir:

Sometime after 7:00 pm on the evening of Friday, 3rd January 2014, I was taking pictures of a public protest that was taking place outside Larry’s Fine Jewelry store located on Port Zante in St Kitts. There were police security personnel exercising crowd control just outside the store, but I also noticed there were security personnel inside Larry’s Fine Jewelry store, along with Port Zante business persons, Dr Denzil Douglas, Dr Asim Martin and Mr Arthur Sharpe, all of whom were seated close to a counter draped with a patterned red and yellow table cloth that had on it what appeared to be packages in white cake boxes, wine glasses and at least one opened bottle of wine that was about a quarter-full.

I spent some 45 minutes to an hour taking pictures without obstruction by the security personnel. As Denzil Douglas’ party and security entourage exited the store, I continued to take pictures, which I have every right to do. It seems Dr Douglas, a public servant who is paid by the taxpayers of this country, for some reason known only to him, does not appreciate the citizens’ right to see what he is doing and hold him accountable. And so his response to my efforts that night to document his activities as a public servant, was to threaten me with bodily harm.

As the Douglas party got closer, I retreated in an effort to get better quality pictures. I noticed when he was about ten metres away Dr Douglas placed what looked like glasses in his pocket and took off his jacket whilst walking towards me in a threatening manner. I took pictures of this sequence of events and have posted them on my Facebook page. When Dr Douglas got to about two metres from me he said, “Move from in front of me before I kick you,” and I feared that he was going to kick me. Even as some of his bodyguards restrained him, Dr Douglas continued to attempt to come towards me and threaten to do me bodily harm.

In Dr Douglas’ party, there were some 15 to 20 persons, including a police superintendant and about 12 bodyguards and other security personnel. At no time did any member of Dr Douglas’ security detail demonstrate that I was a threat in any way to Dr Douglas. It must have been obvious to them that I was there just to take pictures.

I was shocked that the person occupying the office of prime minister of this country, Dr Douglas, would threaten me with bodily harm.

In that regard, on Saturday, 4th January 2014, I made a formal complaint to the police at the Royal St Christopher and Nevis Police Force Headquarters on Cayon Street, Basseterre, with regard Dr Denzil Douglas’ clear threat against me.

Some four hours after making my formal complaint against Dr Douglas, I was taking pictures of a public protest outside the St Kitts Marriott Resort located at Frigate Bay. At about 8:00 pm, whilst on the sidewalk opposite the resort’s exit gate, Commissioner of Police CG Walwyn stormed onto the scene that, for more than an hour, was being adequately and peacefully controlled by his junior police officers, and ordered my arrest. I was held in police custody for some 14 hours overnight despite the fact that the Senior Magistrate had granted me bail sometime after 9:00 pm. I firmly believe that my wrongful imprisonment and the violation of my constitutional and human rights were a direct response to me making a formal complaint to the police about Dr Douglas’ threat to do me bodily harm.

What Dr Douglas does not seem to understand is that this is St Kitts and Nevis, not North Korea! We are a free people. Our freedoms, which many of our forefathers and mothers bled and died for, are now in jeopardy under the leadership of this illegitimate prime minister. With this escalation in an attack on the rights and freedom of our people, all citizens and residents of St Kitts and Nevis should be concerned and should act now to prevent further deterioration of our now fragile democracy.

I want to make the point pellucid that at no time did I threaten Dr Douglas in any way because I have respect for the office which he occupies, notwithstanding that I have no confidence in the way he has managed the affairs of this country. I am persuaded that he does not now possess the constitutional authority to be prime minister and thus he is illegitimate. But I will never threaten the person that sits in that office.

I believe that the federation is now headed in the wrong direction, that our people can no longer endure the pain and hardship this illegitimate Douglas administration continues to impose on them and consequently, a change of government is needed now. Our people must be given the right to have a government of their choice and that opportunity must come without delay. As a responsible citizen and resident of St Kitts and Nevis, I will always promote and defend my sacred right to advocate for good government and better governance for this country.

For the avoidance of doubt I wish to say clearly that I will continue to fight, along with all citizens and residents of goodwill, for a St Kitts and Nevis where ALL our people can live in peace, prosperity and harmony.

Clecton Phillip
Reads: 4019

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The Caribbean Writer 2014

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