The sharp spike in domestic violence in Barbados has sparked the concern of an European Union diplomat.
Head of the European Union Delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Ambassador Mikael Barfod, says this issue along with the Shanique Myrie ruling and recent charges against newspaper officials were worrying.
The ambassador said today he was also uneasy about “thinly veiled anti-immigrant” sentiments expressed in the local Press after the 25-year-old Myrie won her case against Barbados.
He made the comments during a luncheon with media workers to commemorate today’s observance of World Human Rights Day.
immigrant statements that I’ve seen in some columns from attacks over the past months.
“I am very worried about the thinly disguised anti-
private citizens,” he said. “. . . Can we move on from here or can we ask all
Caribbean states to discuss further the ruling in order to find measures in accordance with human rights and freedom of people.”
The ambassador noted that free movement of people and goods across borders is very important to the EU and is vital to integration.
He expressed hope that the negative newspaper columns had merely been “glitches” rather than an indication of how things may progress in the country.
In early October, the Caribbean Court of Justice ruled that the Jamaican woman Myrie should be awarded $75,000 by Barbados for breaching her right to enter the country under the Revised Treaty Of Chaguaramas, which establishes the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
On the domestic violence matter, Ambassador Barfod echoed the position of several people that everyone needed to get involved in the fight against domestic violence, adding that this should also involve the police and the church.
“Are we going to, in a few years’ time, have a completely differently attitude towards domestic violence?” he questioned.
Several women have been killed or seriously injured in
Meantime, the EU official said the time may be right for a national discussion on the role of the media.
He said this has been brought into focus by the charges against three representatives of The Nation newspaper.
“I am concerned about the way the journalists at The Nation were charged following the publication of the article that we all know about on sexual intercourse between the teenagers in the school class,” Ambassador Barfod said.
“I think the case of Vivian-Anne Gittens and Sanka Price and Roy Morris, must be the occasion . . . to introduce a national debate on the role of the Press and the place of information and the [line] between privacy and transparency. It is clear that there are very . . . strong emotions at play here, but eventually the judicial system should cut through with a just and fair position.”
Chief executive officer and publisher Gittens, editor-in- chief Morris and news editor Price were charged last month with conspiring to expose underage children.
The charge followed the publication of an article and photograph of two secondary school children having sex in a classroom. The issue generated heated debate among residents on freedom of expression and the need to expose what is happening in society.
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