Citing possible jail time, BBC reporters staying away from SVG

By Ayo Achebe

BBC journalist Paul Kenyon.

BBC journalist Paul Kenyon.

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, March 22, IWN — The two BBC journalists alleged to have made false declaration when they visited last month do not have any plans of returning to this country anytime soon.

Prime Dr. Ralph Minister Gonsalves told a press conference in February that the journalist — Paul Kenyon and Mathew Hill — falsely stated on their immigration forms that they had come to this country as tourists.

But Gonsalves, who is also Minister of National Security and Legal Affairs, said that the journalists came to the country to work and that they had committed an offence that is punishable by imprisonment.

Hill and Kenyon, who work for BBC’s “Panorama”, visited the country as part of a programme they were making about Harlequin, the company that owns Buccament Bay Resort.

A source close to the BBC said that although Gonsalves had not say whether any action will be taken against the journalists, Kenyon and Hill are not taking any chances.

“I have no idea whether making a false declaration on an immigration form would attract a prison sentence and what crime is being committed,” the source said.

When asked whether the journalists were concerned, the source said, “The offences that are supposed to be committed will attract a prison sentence and I don’t think anyone has any intention to return anytime soon.”

Dave Ames of Harlequin is a subject of interest by the British media, that country’s Financial Services Authority and the Essex Police.

Reports say Ames collected hundreds of millions of pounds from British pensioners for the construction of holiday homes here and elsewhere in the Caribbean but has yet to build all of them.

The BBC programme about Ames and Harlequin is being billed as “The Great Savings Wipe-out,” and is scheduled to be aired on Monday in the United Kingdom, though Vincentians may have to wait a bit longer — possibly Thursday — to see the programme.

The two journalists have found that their four-day trip to SVG has dominated the airwaves with Gonsalves accusing the duo of collaborating with the opposition New Democratic Party and its operatives rather than pursuing objective journalism, a claim that the BBC journalists and the NDP have denied.



7 thoughts on “Citing possible jail time, BBC reporters staying away from SVG


    Posted by peterbinose | March 22, 2013, 10:49
  2. If the BBC reporters had RESPECT the LAWS of the SOVEREIGN NATION of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, then they would have no NEED to be WORRIED about being put in JAIL if they RETURN to this BLESSED NATION.

    Posted by VINCYPOWA | March 22, 2013, 12:00
  3. Tell them to walk with Venezuelan passports and a pack of soap powder and they would not even have to waste ink on an immigration declaration. And we would adjust the way our laws to earn – not their respect – but their moolah … or the hope of it.

    We can do all of that BECAUSE WE ARE A SOVEREIGN NATION! (God hepl “sovereign.”)

    Patrick Ferrari

    Posted by patrickferrari | March 22, 2013, 17:06
  4. I believe these men should be sited at some future time for an award. At the same time they should be invited here as friends of the nation.

    Posted by peterbinose | March 24, 2013, 17:43
  5. Peter, friends of the nation?

    Sorry COLONIAL BOY, these fellas are NO FRIENDS of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

    They’re only friends of their own ambitions…whatever those PERSONAL AMBITIONS are.

    Posted by VINCYPOWA | March 25, 2013, 00:23
  6. From a journalistic standpoint, what I find interesting is that the media in SVG seems to be waiting with bated breath for the BCC program in order to find out whether or not high-profile figures in SVG are implicated in the Harlequin matter. One would have thought that Vincentian journalists on the ground would be much better placed than BBC reporters to do the investigative journalism. For starters, Vincentian journalists would have much easier access to the public figures and other sources of information. Also, media workers in the home territory would not have the same time limits as foreign journalists. The question is, do media professionals on the ground in SVG have any interest in investigative journalism?

    Posted by peggycarr | March 25, 2013, 23:01


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