It was a knee-jerk reaction. That’s how a 30-year-old visitor of Barbadian heritage described an assault on a man on August 1.
In a prepared speech Kimberley Laurel Thompson, who is staying at Apartment No. 3 Kingsland, Terrace, Christ Church, explained what occurred before she threw beer into the face of Clifton Roberts last Thursday.
In reading the facts Police Constable Kenmore Phillips said Roberts works at a bar in St Lawrence Gap, Christ Church and on the day of the incident karaoke was in session and Thompson requested a song but Roberts informed her of the rules and regulations about closing time. Thompson who was holding a bottle of beer became “aggressive and boisterous” throwing the liquid in Roberts’ face wetting his clothing.
However, reading from her statement, Thompson said after she voluntarily appeared at the police station she was informed that, “We tourists come to Barbados, think little of the country and look down on the people and think we rule the world”. She said that while she did not doubt that tourists come here with that mindset, she did not as she has been coming to the country since she was a child. She revealed that her mother is from Black Rock and her grandparents are from St James.
“Never in all my life visiting Barbados have I ever felt so threatened or under sieged as I did the night that Mr Roberts stepped right to me, in close proximity, and started shouting and gesticulating aggressively like he was going to put his hands on me,” she read adding that the incident stemmed from a one-on-one conversation with another woman whom she later came to realise was Roberts’ wife.
“I expressed my displeasure at her customer service [and] even when Mr Roberts interjected himself into the conversation, I delivered my opinion in a calm and respectful manner. What I said, and how I said it, did not warrant being verbally attacked or physically intimidated,” Thompson said as she expressed remorse over how the entire “ordeal” unfolded.
“My action was a knee-jerk to . . . get him to back up . . . It happened in the heat of a frightened moment and to this day I have no idea why it escalated . . . If I could change it I sincerely would,” she added.
But when Roberts took the stand he said he did not have his hand in Thompson’s face as she alleged.
“I was behind the bar . . . I am tall and she is short,” Roberts said as he belatedly accepted the apology.
However, he explained that he was seeking compensation because as a result of the beer “ my whole eye went dark. I got blurred vision. I can’t even face the sun sometimes especially at my age . . . my concern is for my eyes,” Roberts said even as he went on to say that he noticed the blurry vision only yesterday (Kadooment Day) and admitted that he worked into the wee hours the day before and was very tired.
After hearing the two sides Magistrate Kristie Cuffy-Sargeant reprimanded and discharged Thompson.
“I hope you continue to enjoy the country . . . lovely people, beautiful country,” the magistrate told the woman.