December 17, 2018, 08:24:32 AM

Author Topic: Journalist Lasana Liburd attacked at football game  (Read 263 times)

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Offline Tallman

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Journalist Lasana Liburd attacked at football game
« on: December 05, 2018, 11:09:32 AM »
Journalist Lasana Liburd attacked at football game
By Gyasi Merrique (T&T Guardian)


Lo­cal jour­nal­ist Lasana Liburd was al­leged­ly at­tacked and wound­ed by a man he knew while cov­er­ing the Sec­ondary School Foot­ball League’s In­ter­col com­pe­ti­tion at the Ato Boldon Sta­di­um in Cou­va yes­ter­day.

Speak­ing to Guardian Me­dia Lim­it­ed some­time af­ter the in­ci­dent, Liburd re­called be­ing pushed from be­hind while seat­ed in the press area of the sta­di­um by some­one he even­tu­al­ly recog­nised as the sub­ject of a li­bel law­suit filed by him­self against the in­di­vid­ual in March 2017.

“I was at the In­ter­col Girls fi­nal watch­ing the game. Some­body pushed me from the back, be­cause the seats are el­e­vat­ed he was above me.

“When I turned around even­tu­al­ly, he just start­ed swing­ing. He had a weapon that he was slash­ing with and he slashed me (I have two cuts) on my chin,” Liburd said.

“A lot of peo­ple were near­by but I am not sure who saw or didn’t see. I be­lieve though that some peo­ple who were in the same row that he was in got in­volved and he walked out through the back.”

Liburd said he had no pre­vi­ous phys­i­cal al­ter­ca­tions with the in­di­vid­ual but not­ed that they had been in­volved in ver­bal ex­changes via so­cial me­dia.

“The on­ly mat­ter is that in the course of my du­ties as a re­porter I had writ­ten on a TTFA mat­ter be­fore when he was work­ing as the press of­fi­cer for the Beach Soc­cer team and had men­tioned his own be­hav­iour at a tour in To­ba­go. That was the last I re­al­ly wrote. Af­ter that he made a whole bunch of wild state­ments on Face­book which I asked him to re­tract and he didn’t,” Liburd said.

Liburd ex­plained that yes­ter­day al­so co­in­cid­ed with the sec­ond oc­ca­sion in which his al­leged at­tack­er was served in the civ­il mat­ter.

He said he sought to re­port the in­ci­dent to the Cou­va Po­lice Sta­tion and was asked to ob­tain a med­ical re­port from the Cou­va Health Cen­tre.

When con­tact­ed for a com­ment on the mat­ter via tele­phone yes­ter­day, the al­leged per­pe­tra­tor, who is a school teacher by pro­fes­sion and free­lance sports jour­nal­ist, called the at­tack an act of self-de­fence.

He claimed that ear­li­er that day he had been served with a sum­mons at his place of work de­spite sev­er­al pre­vi­ous warn­ings to Liburd and his lawyers to re­frain from such.

He claimed he had gone to the match as a spec­ta­tor where he saw Liburd and at­tempt­ed to ver­bal­ly ad­dress his griev­ance with Liburd. He al­leged it was dur­ing this in­ci­dent that he had to act in self-de­fence.
The Conquering Lion of Judah shall break every chain.

Offline Tallman

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MATT condemns attack on journalist Lasana Liburd
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2018, 11:10:34 AM »
MATT condemns attack on journalist Lasana Liburd
cnc3.co.tt


The Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago (MATT) says it has been made aware of a disturbing incident involving a former member of the executive and freelance journalist, Lasana Liburd.

According to a report, received by MATT, Liburd was attacked while performing his job at the school's Intercol finals yesterday.

"This attack is said to have been initiated by someone who Mr. Liburd had recently written an article about and initiated legal action against," MATT said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

MATT says it views this situation as unacceptable and unequivocally condemns the attack on any journalist performing their duties.

"Citizens are reminded that Freedom of the Press is enshrined in this country's Constitution and there are legal avenues of redress for persons who feel they are aggrieved by articles written about them," it added.

"Physical attacks are not one of those avenues."

MATT said that in its view, this matter has been made even worse as the attack occurred at an event in which school students were in attendance.

Liburd has reported the matter to the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service and we trust that it will be dealt with expeditiously in order to send a message that such acts will not be tolerated.
The Conquering Lion of Judah shall break every chain.

Offline asylumseeker

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Re: Journalist Lasana Liburd attacked at football game
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2018, 05:39:33 PM »
“Make peace with the Divine!” Revisiting Gordon Pierre’s attack on me at the Intercol final
By Lasana Liburd, Wired868


Alexcia Ali had not long put Pleasantville Secondary ahead in their Girls National Intercol final battle with Signal Hill Secondary at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva yesterday, when I was pushed in the back of the head by Gordon Pierre.

Pierre is a Tranquility Government Secondary school teacher and a representative of the Morvant Caledonia United football club—although the Pro League team suspended him today pending an investigation into the incident.

He was a row behind and standing over me. I was sitting with my laptop opened in front of me, facing the football field. I had not seem him arrive as my attention was on the unfolding Intercol action.

There was no conversation or argument—in fact, Pierre and I have not spoken in well over a year. Yesterday, there was only an attack; an ambush.

Roughly two hours earlier, Pierre tagged me in a Facebook post:

“Lasana Liburd… I want to send you on the trip fast stop sticking!!! I have passed point of no return!!!”

And then, in a comment to media colleagues including James Saunders, Kent Fuentes and Nigel Simon, he continued: “… He will get want (sic) I have for him u know!!!”

Yesterday afternoon—presumably before his Facebook post—Pierre was served court documents in relation to a libel suit I initiated against him. Pierre’s response, according to my attorney, was allegedly a foul-mouthed, threatening phone call which left her shaken up.

Then, he drove to the Ato Boldon Stadium and snuck up behind me in the press area, with what appeared to be a short blade—or certainly something sharp enough to slice me across my chin.



Pierre was accompanied by Morvant Caledonia co-founder and former Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team head coach Jamaal Shabazz, on his trip to the Ato Boldon Stadium.

Shabazz subsequently said he knew nothing of the impending attack and issued a statement condemning the incident.

Roughly two weeks ago, Pierre was Shabazz’s guest at the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association’s (TTFA) AGM where he was allowed in as an ‘observer’. And he appeared as a guest on several occasions for TV6’s sport news or Joel Villafana’s sport show ‘Halftime’.

On almost every television appearance, Pierre either defended TTFA president David John-Williams’ controversial Home of Football project or attacked John-Williams’ most outspoken critic, Trinidad and Tobago Super League (TTSL) president Keith Look Loy. It was a mission he also continued with relish on the social media.

Differences of opinion are fine and even healthy. And nobody should be above reproach, including journalists.

But now that such zealous fanaticism has led to a practising journalist being attacked in a crowded media centre at a national stadium during the biggest game of the Secondary Schools Football League’s (SSFL) calendar, who is willing to look at their own role in egging on this disaster-in-the-making?

On 16 March 2017, I wrote an article about the poor standards being set by the TTFA in terms of the behaviour of its officials. Pierre, in his then capacity as press officer for the National Beach Soccer, was one of the TTFA representatives named.

Ironically, Pierre’s response to criticism of his behaviour was to launch into a tirade against me with a host of outrageous personal allegations. I asked him to retract his statements. He refused. And I initiated libel proceedings against him on 21 March 2017, so he his claims would be either proven or disproven in the High Court.

Pierre and I have not spoken since, although he has tagged me occasionally. Sometimes with threats.

Last week, below a story on John-Williams’ stewardship of the TTFA and in response to me advising another reader to steer clear of his temper, he posted: “… If you know I waiting for you!!! Better make peace with the Divine!!!”

On Tuesday afternoon, he stepped out from behind the computer screen with a violent response to a legal procedure that will not soon be forgotten.

To threaten an attorney with violence—as he was accused of—is a shocking lack of respect for the judicial system. To attack a journalist at an event is an appalling disregard to the profession, the police officers present, basic civility and law and order.

 

Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith was at the Ato Boldon Stadium and, once alerted, offered his regret over the incident and an assurance that the TTPS would do its best. That did offer some degree of comfort in the six hours it took between the Couva Medical Centre and Police Station before reluctant officers would finally took my statement.

I was the person assaulted. However, in a way, Trinidad and Tobago’s judicial and law enforcement arms are the ones on trial, if they can be treated with such scant courtesy by not ‘Mr Big’ but a short-tempered school teacher.

As a journalist with over two decades’ experience, I know my job. It is to provide the public with the information they need to make better life decisions; and to hold accountable the people responsible for delivering services to us all.

I will not shirk that responsibility now. Hopefully, the officers of the TTPS will also do their jobs.

And hopefully those who try to exploit aggressive pawns for political gains, television ratings or whatever perceived benefits they hope can be derived, will also consider their roles.

Pierre is by no means the only angry young man, desperate to be led towards the gravy train.

« Last Edit: December 05, 2018, 05:44:18 PM by asylumseeker »

Offline asylumseeker

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Re: Journalist Lasana Liburd attacked at football game
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2018, 10:37:43 PM »
M’vt Caledonia suspend Pierre, pending investigation, after altercation with Wired868 journalist
Letter to the Editor, Wired868


The following is a press release from the Morvant Caledonia United technical director Jamaal Shabazz, after an attack by club member, Gordon Pierre, on Wired868 owner and journalist, Lasana Liburd:

One of our members, Mr Gordon Pierre, was in an altercation with Mr Lasana Liburd on Tuesday 4th December. Morvant Caledonia United wish to make it clear that our club does not promote this action as a form of solving disputes and differences of opinion.

We wish to state emphatically and without any fear of contradiction that Mr Pierre was not acting on behalf of the club or its leadership in his actions.

Morvant Caledonia United do not promote violence, antagonism nor any form of intimidation, be it verbal, written or physical. Therefore we condemn Mr Pierre’s participation in this altercation in the strongest possible terms.

In light of this unfortunate incident, Morvant Caledonia United has asked Mr Gordon Pierre to step down from representing the club pending an investigation into the matter.

Offline Tallman

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Crossing the line
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2018, 08:10:56 AM »
Crossing the line
T&T Express Editorial


Another dangerous line has been crossed against press freedom with Tuesday’s attack on journalist Lasana Liburd.

Mr Liburd, owner-editor of the online news site Wired868, was at the press bench at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, engaged in the routine assignment of covering the Intercol Girls Final football match, when he was assaulted by a man sitting behind him. The attack left the journalist with a gash across the chin.

It was a brazen assault on one of the country’s best known sports journalists occurring, as it did, in full view of others at a public event carried live across the region. The fact that it was a school event with hundreds of pupils present merely amplified the brazenness of the act. The assailant, allegedly someone against whom Mr Liburd has filed a libel suit, was not deterred by the presence of the police which, as it turned out, made no difference since the assailant was able to walk away from the scene of his crime.

The danger in this latest attack on a journalist is that it undermines all the assumptions with which journalists approach their work. The press bench or table is assumed to be protected and safe even in volatile situations. While there have been incidents where journalists covering political meetings were turned on by members of the crowd who had been worked into an anti-media frenzy, this may well be the first time that a journalist at a press bench has been physically attacked to the point of blood being drawn.

Unlike other public figures, from national leaders to gang leaders, journalists do not walk with bodyguards, armed or otherwise. From time to time they are verbally accosted by individuals angry over one report or another. As unacceptable as that is, many journalists have come to accept it as a distasteful part of the territory. Often, members of the public who appreciate the critical role of the media in telling their stories, would rush to the defence of media personnel on assignment. However, given the tenor of these times, when people are killed for a bad drive or an imagined hurt, Tuesday’s assault cannot be allowed to pass into history. Left unchallenged it carries the danger of opening the floodgates against media personnel on whom the public depends to carry out the democratic mandate of keeping them informed.

We urge Police Commissioner Gary Griffith to investigate the lack of a prompt response by officers who were on the scene when the incident occurred. The assailant should have been held on the spot.

This incident comes on the heels of the physical assault of a Guardian photographer while on assignment at AV Drilling in south Trinidad. That matter is now rightly in court. Not so long ago, a crew from our sister station, TV6, was threatened with jail by police officers who attempted to block them from covering a completely newsworthy incident in Port of Spain involving the daughter of a businessman.

Put together, these incidents describe a dangerous trend for all media workers as well as the democracy of this nation which must not be underestimated. It must be stopped now.
The Conquering Lion of Judah shall break every chain.

Offline soccerman

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Re: Journalist Lasana Liburd attacked at football game
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2018, 01:47:29 PM »
Swift action by M'vt Caledonia, in taking a stand.

Offline asylumseeker

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Re: Journalist Lasana Liburd attacked at football game
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2018, 02:29:43 PM »
“Make peace with the Divine!” Revisiting Gordon Pierre’s attack on me at the Intercol final
By Lasana Liburd, Wired868


...

Pierre was accompanied by Morvant Caledonia co-founder and former Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team head coach Jamaal Shabazz, on his trip to the Ato Boldon Stadium.

Shabazz subsequently said he knew nothing of the impending attack and issued a statement condemning the incident.
...


What does this "mean"? They drove there together? Happened to walk in the gates together?

The statement seems designed to raise the question of knowledge, prior to acknowledging the disclaimer of knowledge.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2018, 02:42:36 PM by asylumseeker »

Offline Thomo

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Re: Journalist Lasana Liburd attacked at football game
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2018, 03:48:56 PM »
And the TTFA stays mute...

Offline Deeks

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Re: Journalist Lasana Liburd attacked at football game
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2018, 06:15:26 PM »
And the TTFA stays mute...

They don't like him.

Offline Anbrat

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Re: Journalist Lasana Liburd attacked at football game
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2018, 09:06:12 PM »
Swift action by M'vt Caledonia, in taking a stand.
Kudos to Morvant Caledonia for its principled stand!  :applause: