Archive for ‘Bartica’

February 24, 2008

Guyana Update 24/02/08

Guyana police have released pictures of 6 of the men wanted in connection with the Bartica and Lusignan massacres. An ieNews television report has been posted on my other site. Click here to see the video ( requires Quicktime)…Guyana news Sunday 

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February 23, 2008

Heart of Darkness

Melissa Williams is back from Guyana and was able to shed some light on events there. There are now three people detained over the matter though it seems two of them are being held for assisting the killers get to Bartica. Interestingly enough, a police officer who is part if the special elite squad investigating the two massacres was arrested on drug charges. Strange goings on in Guyana. President Jagdeo has still not held a press conference to discuss the event and has been laying low for some reason.

Other than that I came close to boarding a plane and heading to Seattle to give Bill Gates a good tongue lashing. I do not like Windows in any way shape or form but we use it in the office and thus I hold my nose and deal with it. I usually have my Apple Powerbook on my desk as well and while it plays well with the network it cannot talk to the ancient news printer so i work in MS Word. Today, while building the news script the programme decided to crash taking with it several stories, the headlines and the script. After relaunching the wretched thing it defaulted to the Oct. 2007 news folder and I realized that autosave was another cruel MS joke…rather like everything about MS. I cursed like a trooper eliciting stares from everyone in the newsroom. I am pretty sure I mentioned the body parts of everyone in Bill’s family going back at least 3 generations.

Recovering from that fiasco and making sure i clicked “save’ after every word I typed I managed to get the script done and send it to the prompter. Great…I printed the hard copies and headed into the studio to read the 6:30 news. The theme starts and then I press the bar to activate the prompter roll…nothing..nada…the wretched thing was frozen. I switch to the script and read what i have to read…then reboot the system during a news story…still zilch..the script will not load. During the commercial break I run to my desk to discover that the script has vanished. The name is there and I can open it..but it is a blank page. I curse Bill and his family again and run back to the studio to finish reading from the script.

Had I been using a Mac with Pages or Appleworks ( RIP) or NeoOffice I can assure all involved this would not have happened. All I can say is that if Mr. Gates ever finds himself wandering the halls of ieTV I will have to be tied down to prevent a violent incident…possibly involving a flying PeeCee.

February 22, 2008

A criminal shame

I  had the pleasure of having Professor Ramesh Deosaran on the programme again today. He is a complete gentleman and always an interesting guest. With most of my guests I can get through everything I need to ask in half an hour, sometimes 16 minutes seems too long for some guests but  with Professor Deosaran i always feel there is never enough time. We did two back to back interviews today ( as is our normal custom) and yet afterwards i felt we could have done six back to back interviews and  still  kept it interesting.

We spoke for the first half hour about the situation in Guyana which he felt was symptomatic of a lack of government planning and a failure to address the concerns of communities. I am not sure how that fits into dealing with a gang of rampaging murderers but i gather he meant the response to Lusignan should have prevented the second incident. I don’t doubt he has a good point, not because I understand everything he was saying fully, but because the man spends his every waking hour thinking about crime and government.

We spent the second programme discussing how crime leads to a sense of civil powerlessness and how the Westminister system contributes to the state of affairs. As he rightly pointed out, in our present system the Prime Minister is essentially an elected dictator who is under no obligation to heed the concerns of the public for his 5 year term. He is hoping that we will one day have constitutional reform to allow for a dissemination of power throughout parliament. As I told him, though, it is unlikely anyone who has unbridled power will give up some of it for the greater good.

My second interview subject was a complete change of pace in every imaginable way. Peter Elias is National Director of the Miss Universe/Miss World. My views on beauty pageants is well known but I will say he answered my questions with good humour. If nothing else he is certainly the most energetic guest i have ever had on the programme.

So thanks to Heidi artfully arranging 3 interviews I have programmes to cover me till Tuesday next week which also means I can take tomorrow off. That should give me a chance to take my time at the gym and also do some house cleaning.


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February 21, 2008

Latest news from Georgetown, Guyana.

Despite having serious problems getting video from our team in Guyana yesterday we managed to get a report today. A 19 year old man has been charged with 11 counts of murder. The video is hosted on my alternative site. Click here to see it at: Guyana Report 

February 20, 2008

Guyana Update Wednesday

Our crew on the ground in Georgetown has just attended press conferences held by the Police Commissioner and President Bharath Jagdeo. It seems certain at this point that both the Lusignan and Bartica atrocities were committed by the same criminal gang.

A speedboat containing military uniforms was located about 20 miles from Bartica along the Essequibo River and Guyanese military forces are now combing the area in search of the men. In the meantime a strong military presence has been stationed in Bartica and will remain there for the while. President Jagdeo has vowed to find the men responsible and ensure they are no longer able to continue with their rampage across Guyana.

Melissa Williams and cameraman Mookish Harrypaul have also visited survivors in hospital. I am hoping to be able to bring you some of that raw video when we receive it. The process of digitizing and sending video footage from Guyana via internet is still problematic but we should have some footage in the next couple of hours.

February 19, 2008

Bartica update.

Not much to report today as there is something of an information blackout. I was not in the office today owing to a stomach problem and had no power for 5 hrs ( lest i start to think we are a developed country T&TEC brings me back to earth).  Checking with the newsroom the latest we have is that Bartica and surroundings are under something of a military/police lockdown. There is apparently some searching going on in the surrounding area but given most accounts indicate the killers fled by boat this seems more a precautionary measure. Our crew is en route to Guyana and will attempt to get as much information as they can in conjunction with Kaieteur News. Any further information from our ieNews crew in Guyana will be relayed here. If any blog readers have interesting ideas for story angles feel free to let me know and I will consider them and relay them to our crew. 

February 18, 2008

Reflections on the massacres in Bartica and Lusignan

It would be impossible not to be stunned by last night’s massacre in Bartica, Guyana especially as it somes so soon after the chilling events in Lusignan only a few weeks ago. Here in Trinidad we have become somewhat inured to death and killing given our disturbing murder rate. Those of us who work in news are even more hardened to the daily reality of murder but the events of the last 24 hours were disturbing to all of us at ieTV. Death is a fact of life but when it happens on such a large scale and in such a brutal and chilling way it is disturbing.

Guyana is a large and wild country with a small population spread across a great swath of land so to be honest, even the best policing would have a hard time preventing such carnage. It is sad that a band of deranged criminals cake can shake the psyche of a nation and a region. The events in Guyana are a reminder of the thin line that all societies walk between civility and anarchy. I suppose we have traditionally looked to Africa for such examples of carnage. Rwanda and the current crisis in Darfur are horrifying examples of what happens when evil elements start to rip apart the fabric of civilized society. My thoughts are with the people of Guyana and  the Guyanese community worldwide.

At time like this we all want to do something and yet most of us are powerless. Those of us in the media are fortunate that we can at least provide information to the public. It doesn’t make the horror go away but people want to know – it is part of the human condition. ieTv has sent our crew to Guyana to work with our contacts there to try and get as much information as we can for our viewers. It is, of course, costing us a bit of money and, given we are a smaller station, takes a bit of a bite out of our news budget, but we feel it is important for the information to be known and the best way to do that is to be on the ground.

As a blogger I felt it was imperative to do what the internet allows best; to get information out as quickly as possible. My WordPress blog was devoted to disseminating information to the public as quickly as I could get it. I like the way the internet is able to fill a gap between TV and print. Anyone concerned about what was happening could just Google the subject and find any number of sites ( including my blog) providing information on demand. Even knowing that I am still shocked at the number of hits my site on WordPress got today. Monitoring the traffic as I type this there have been 200 hits in the last 2 hours. A testament to the power of the internet and the  public’s need to know.

I had not expected such a demand but I will certainly continue to use this blog for news purposes whenever the need arises.

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February 18, 2008

Last pictures of Bartica events for 18/02/08

Arrival of plane carrying bodies and departure from Timheri.bartica-massacre-011.jpg ogle-shots-002.jpg

February 18, 2008

Latest pictures

Bodies arriving.bodies-being-moved.jpgFamilies grieve. ogle-shots-005.jpg  PICTURES HAVE BEEN UPDATED. CLICK RECENT ENTRIES LIST ON THE RIGHT FOR LATEST. 

February 18, 2008

Bartica Massacre update 6pm

The following is an excerpt from the ieNews report written by Melissa Williams who will be in Guyana as our chief reporter on the ground.__________;”According to Kaieteur Newspaper from around 9:40 twenty heavily armed gunmen entered the Transport Harbour, at Bartica located in the Essequibo region, and unleashed a wave of terror ordering five boatmen to lie on the ground then brutally shooting them in their heads. The gun toting gang then made its way over to the Bartica Police Station, where they forced the eight officers who were in the station at the time to hide in cupboards and other areas as they opened fire on the station.Reports say the gunmen then casually moved through the station in search of the frightened officers, opening cupboards doors and executing them. In the end three police officers were shot dead with two others seriously injured. The gunmen also cleared the station of all weapons and ammunition as well as raw gold which was lodged there and escaped in three police vehicles. As they drove through the mining town in the stolen police vehicles, unsuspecting residents believing them to be police officers on patrol looked when suddenly the gunmen began to indiscriminately fire at them . Even the officer in charge of the Bartica Police Station, who was unaware of the massacre of his colleagues, was almost fooled as he approached the vehicles, but was pulled back by alert residents.Six more people were killed as the gang rode through the township, with reports surfacing that they placed a man in a freezer and shooting him in the head. After their reign of terror in the quiet town, the brutal gang then calmly left in boats.”__________________PICTURES COMING IN NEXT POST CLICK ON RECENT ENTRIES ON RIGHT TO ACCESS THEM.copyright ieNews 2008