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Nice Radio’s DeFreitas arrested

Nice Radio’s DeFreitas arrested

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One of this country’s media bosses was arrested last week, as police commenced investigations into statements the businessman is alleged to have made on radio station, following the annoucement of the results of the December 9 general elections.

Douglas DeFreitas, managing director of BDS Ltd, operators of Nice Radio, was arrested at the ET Joshua airport last Thursday, as he was about to board a flight out of the country.{{more}}

Early on December 10, the day after the general elections, DeFreitas, on his radio station, called on supporters of the New Democratic Party (NDP) to go to Layou, where there was to be a recount of the ballots in Central Leeward. DeFreitas told listeners that a great fraud had been committed on the people of the country and expressed the view that the ballot boxes had been contaminated.

“So, supporters of the NDP, you need to go to Layou and let your presence be felt and known. A great fraud has been perpetrated on St Vincent and the Grenadines…”

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, speaking at a victory rally of the Unity Labour Party (ULP) at Argyle on Saturday, said that while he is of the opinion that the words DeFreitas uttered offended the criminal law, he had no involvement in DeFreitas’ arrest.

“I went on the radio and said that those words spoken by Douglas DeFreitas, that those words offend the criminal law and though I am not the police or the prosecutor, I was talking as a citizen and as a lawyer, and that something should be done about this. Well, apparently the police were thinking the same thing…”

The Prime Minister, who also holds the office of Minister of National Security, reiterated to the crowd that he did not interfere and was not planning to get involved in matters of the police.

“I am not getting involved in that because the police manage their business the way they want to manage it, without my interference and I don’t interfere with those matters. I never interfere with those matters; they use their own judgement.”

Giving more details, Gonsalves said, “On Thursday, Douglas Defreitas was on the radio from early in the morning…and he was saying that a ballot box was missing; that they win by six votes; that we thief the election and that people must come out, block the road, go down to Central Leeward and you have persons follow that kind of a stupidness.”

The Prime Minster said he was told that the police apprehended DeFreitas at the ET Joshua Airport, trying to get a flight out of the country.

“…What he did, he went to the airport to buy a ticket to go away after he did his mischief. He going run and when they ask him, I am told, where he’s going, he say he’s going to go to friend in St Lucia. Well, they held him … on the reasonable suspicion of having committed one or more offences.”

Gonsalves stated that, according to reports, DeFreitas later told police that he was travelling for medical reasons and was asked to produce a medical statement before he was released.

SEARCHLIGHT understands that DeFreitas was released the next day, Friday, December 11, without being charged. He is, however, required to report to police by January 4, by which time he should have returned to the country.

The Prime Minister asked the huge crowd gathered at the site of the Argyle International Airport if the person involved had been a regular man on the street if the police would have been so lenient with him.

“But the police were very kind to him and I don’t know if the police would be so kind to a working class man who made those statements, or the police would be that kind to a farmer in North Central Windward or in Greiggs or to a Rasta brethren from Fitz-Hughes or Chateaubelair or Rose Hall,” he asked, to rousing applause. (CM)

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