Security officers attack T&T journalists

(Trinidad Guardian) Security officers at the San Fernando General Hospital attacked members of the media yesterday, trying to stop them from covering a protest by the hospital’s maintenance staff. The media workers, including T&T Guardian reporter Radhica Sookraj, CNC3 cameraman Ivan Toolsie, Newsday’s Richardson Dhalai and Lisa Scotland, as well as Express photographer Trevor Watson, were surrounded by guards who tried to block them from taking photographs. Toolsie was struck on the head and legs and suffered a cut to his left hand, while Sookraj was shoved by a security officer who wore a tag with the name Margaret Glasgow.  Protesting workers defended members of the media and the security personnel eventually backed down. Toolsie later sought medical attention. Chairman of the National Union of Government and Federated Workers (NUGFW) Roger Roach condemned the media attack:

He said: “We want the hospital to investigate this. It is ridiculous what happened here. We have press freedom and the media has a right to cover our concerns. “If the doctors were protesting, you would never have seen an attack on the press. It is only because it is the daily paid workers that they behaving so.” Several passers-by also criticised the security officers for the attack, advising media workers to file reports at the police station. Sookraj and Toolsie made reports at the San Fernando Police Station and an officer was assigned to investigate the incident. Contacted for comment yesterday, acting chief executive officer at the hospital, Anil Gosine, said he would speak to the head of security to get a report on the incident. He said discussions and meetings would be held with the media regarding the incident.

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