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Crime Watch takes another victim

Today, Lael, my 17-month-old daughter, saw her first dead body.

I always thought it would happen after she had learned to ride her tricycle; certainly after she learned to spell. But Fate had other plans.

You might think I live in a rough neighbourhood or maybe that, without considering my young co-passenger, I slowed down on the road to watch the wreckage of a fatal traffic accident. But you would be wrong.

Lael’s first sight of a corpse and wailing loved ones came at the supermarket. We were at the cashier’s in Xtra Foods Supermarket on O’ Meara Road in Arima when a loud wail came from the giant television set that loomed over us on the wall.

Probably a half-dozen sets looked down on us from directly over the shoulders of several cashiers; the volume seemed to be on full blast.

So, we looked up in alarm, just in time to see a body bag unzipped to reveal the blood-splattered face of a young man. And a female voice on the set released an unforgettable scream that seemed to stun the supermarket into silence.

Her mother, Lou-Ann, reacted as quickly as possible to block Lael’s view. But our furtive hands could not drown out the woman’s lengthy, plaintive, hair-raising wail.

By the time I found the Xtra Foods manager to demand action, the damage had been done.

So whom do I credit with introducing my innocent daughter to the horror of murder?

The owners of Xtra Foods who seem to think that this sort of action really gets customers to loosen their wallets?

The media managers who allow their channel to carry the offensive programme, Crime Watch? What would be the point of raising the issue with TV6‘s Head of News and Current Affairs Dominic Kallipersad who responded to a previous complaint about the gruesome reality television show with a quip that “viewing the show is a choice, not a requirement?”

Or should I train my guns on Crime Watch host Ian Alleyne, the self-declared “people’s police commissioner,” who clearly believes in parading rape victims, unzipping body bags and displaying mutilated bodies even when, as was the case of the late West Indies cricketer Runako Morton, no crime was committed.

TV6 Crime Watch host Ian Alleyne

For what it is worth, the Xtra Foods manager apologised. Not that he admitted to being at fault; the culprit was an unnamed employee who he alleged had turned the volume up against his expressed orders.

In Trinidad and Tobago, the buck no longer stops anywhere and everything can be justified. Or explained away.

In response to a public request from local civic watch group Fixin’ T&T, the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT) urged TV6 to show more concern for its viewers and the families of the deceased persons by not carrying images of dead bodies on the show.

TV6 did not bother to respond. And the Trinidad Mirror dismissed the request as “tatta” since there is apparently no legal ground for action against the station.

Perhaps the refusal to recognise ethical rather than legal arguments as valid took solid root when Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar disregarded the Integrity Commission’s advice that Works Minister Jack Warner should choose between his government position and his FIFA portfolio. The PM, who has since accepted silk, declared that if it was legally permissible for Warner to keep both jobs, then it was fine by her.

And look how well that has turned out.

Kallipersad’s spontaneous live scolding of Attorney General Anand Ramlogan about his lack of manners, during a live interview on the then ongoing State of Emergency was hailed by thousands, including myself, as a welcome call for decorum from those in power.

The AG had broken no law but he did violate our notion of courtesy and Kallipersad, veteran journalist that he is, let him know it. The media’s role, after all, is, at least in part, to hold public figures to widely agreed standards of accountability and responsibility.

Yet, Kallipersad and TV6 do not like it when Fixin’ T&T or anyone else demands of them conformity to the same standards. At that point, they seek refuge behind viewership figures in the same way that politicians, caught with their metaphorical trousers down, are quick to point out how many votes they received.

So, TV6 looks the other way as Alleyne indulges himself in an orgy of mutilated bodies, abused women and grieving parents. And at 6 pm, when children are still busying themselves in their living rooms, TV6 lets rip its tsunami of violence under the pretext of informing the public while Alleyne pretends that no crime would be solved unless video cameras zoom in on bloodied corpses.

And what of Lael’s premature awakening to the savagery of life in the twin-island republic?

I suppose TV6 and Crime Watch were bound to get her someday.

I can almost hear their cynical response, built on the media’s duty to inform and educate. We’re just doing our job, Liburd, just doing our job.

 

Editor’s Note: The Trinidad and Tobago Association of Psychologists stated, in a letter to the media, that:

“The violent footage in our news, the violent and graphic nature of the many television movies and popular local shows must be re-examined if we are to help children of this country become mentally healthy adults, with a sense of obligation to others in the community into which they were born.”

At the time this article was written, Crime Watch was a TV6 programme.

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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67 comments

  1. He dont care sh*t. He do anything to look good. If was my relative he not exploiting me so.

  2. no one is forcing anyone to watch this is all rubbish . you people get a life

  3. what a load of crap…first off your the adult responsible for what your child can view.turn it off?

  4. This is the REALITY on the ground. These are the savage acts that occur PUBLICLY on the highways and byways of Trinidad and Tobago. Ian Alleyne is not coming in your bedroom to shoot these horrendous photos! Clean up your savagery T&T. Then there will be NUTTEN for Ian Alleyne to show. If you can’t take the REALITY, there’s always Cinderella! Cease targeting the messenger!

  5. Guys i believe that the population needs to see how sick our country is…. no sugar coat…. you are the one that has the tv on that station… you are the one that has your kid watching it…. dont blame Crime Watch… you could easily turn off the tv or leave the room…. i dont understand

  6. Well said miss hazel Ann brown

  7. Disgusted by this human being. ….

  8. Hmm OK Richard I agree with you. But aren’t we saying the same thing? If I take off the TV or better yet don’t even have one. Viewership goes down, ratings drop, advertising dollars drop, change will take place.

  9. Beg to disagree with Stephen John. We have control of our wallets and let our money do the talking, that is what these TV stations understand. If you affect their advertising revenue in a negative way you will get them to change the broadcasting policy.

  10. The what he does is not my concern. The idea is brilliant. The how is another matter. Very insensitive and he acts like a drama queen!!! He needs to add some class and discretion to his show!!

  11. I think he’s just giving the audience what they want.

  12. He’ll do anything for ratings Vernal…..desperate times call for desperate measures…..and how about $10 a text

  13. Why do people really watch Ian Alleyne? He and the show is pure garbage. Even reading the newspapers and watching local news is disgusting. Is best to listen to good music and watch sports and disregard all that $#@!*&€% on TV. Best way to treat them is to ignore them. Ah sorry ah write this post. I should have posted…Who is Ian Alleyne….What does he do?

  14. He is the best and wud always be the best there is.some ppl eyes are just not open enough to see the good things

  15. Ian is a great man he helps alot of people an also show people how poor citizens of this country does suffer at hospitals an for who that do not like his program just view another but i say props to Mr. Ian for the great work he is doing

  16. Especially after the disgusting, corbeau-like display he put down on the accident victims yesterday, this piece is just as relevant now as it was then!

  17. You enjoy seeing dead bodies fished out of a La Basse?
    Check Ian.
    You like watching videos of special needs adolescent girls being raped by her peers?
    Ian’s got you covered!

  18. I find both the man and the program reprehensible……don’t ask me my opion of his fans, but sufficed to say we have some true savages and degenerates in this country.

  19. This blog was written while Ian was at TV6. And Alleyne’s popularity, up to his dalliance with the UNC, was staggering.

  20. The fact that a program like Crime Watch is so popular in Trinidad speaks volumes about where we are as a people.

    That is all!

  21. I heard about it…I am glad I did not see that episode….I stopped looking at Crime Watch

  22. Ian Alleyne is now on CNC 3. He should be censored. His presence at that accident yesterday filming it and the victims were totally uncalled for. The young woman’s family shouldn’t have to witness that.

  23. This individual and this show are both disgusting. I cannot believe the television station’s producers are backing this. Instilling the very worst values in our citizens – and from a young age.

  24. Blood and gore sells. Unfortunately that’s what we have degenerated into as a society.

  25. ian alleyne that show yesterday was never about crime, and if you fool your self in believing that then you are a big JACK ASS, you have no heart what about the family of that woman how they feel, no where in the world this can happen and to tv 6 you all are no better

  26. is it a crime to show these dead victims like that on television without their family consent, or what if the family see it on tv before they are notify, do ian alleyne think about all this and the family or he just thinks about his show

  27. An organized body of concerned citizens, with legal counsel, needs to address this issue with the media. Here in the USA, gruesome murders and mortal vehicular accidents occur daily! Never are shockingly horrific scenes broadcasted at any time on any show including those crime fighting reality shows like Crime Watch. The scenes we tend to see are usually arial (helicopter), if not the closeups are blurred or the bodies are bagged and displayed for about 2 secs. The reporters do a good job on you describing the accident/crime scene and detailing the probable cause(s) etc minimizing the need for graphics.

  28. Yh I hear you. Dais the reality we only have control in our homes, cars and devices.

  29. Unfortunately, there are times when you don’t have the remote. Shopping at Xtra Foods would be one of those times.

  30. When i want entertainment I look at Tom & Jerry

  31. All boils down to greed and the mighty dollar. Same thing in the music industry in which I work.

  32. While watching television is indeed a choice. The sad reality is that there isn’t much on television these days for young children to view. I remember growing up, after the news there was, Different Strokes, Eight Is Enough, Cosby, Sent By An Angel, and others. If one wanted to view something more adult you have to wait till well after 10pm unless you had a satellite dish. These day as soon as news is over it is mainly mature programming. As I always say there is an off button on the TV for a reason. So in my house when news is over…click.

  33. You would think that they would be mindful of the feelings of the relative of these poor victim. Would Mr Ian Allen and the media like it if it was their mother/ sister who had died in that manner being displaced for all the world to see like that???… just shows how people are becoming more desensitize… sad

  34. I agree with your comment ^^^^, but the watershed time is normally used to broadcast programmes of a violent nature. We are a traumatised nation with all the violence as it is, and this is just adding to the disillusionment, despair that we feel because we have no control over these matters

  35. I don’t think it should be shown at any time because not only is it gruesome to the viewers but also a lack of courtesy to the dead and their grieving families.
    I’ve always said a body wrapped in a sheet is all you need to see from an accident. You can work out the rest yourself and use your own imagination.
    What is the point of all the gory details in death? Are we rating one death to the other?

  36. Lasana, Xtra Foods should be showing shoppers the range of products available in their stores.

  37. I think maybe 9 pm is a good time, that’s what I mean by watershed.

  38. Lasana, I agree he’s not well….a piece of the lady’s face (R.I.P.) was on the road and they zoomed in on it and also flashed by on the lady a few times during the clip, so viewers could actually work it all out. They even zoomed in on the passengers lying on the road and a taxi/bus driver who was bleeding. Those sorts of images is for private consumption, not public viewing eapecially @6pm. Where is TATT or even MATT in all of this.

  39. But it doesn’t matter. It should not be aired before 10 pm at the very least to me. But they want prime time and don’t care about the repurcussions.

  40. Well, that disclaimer doesn’t work too well for shoppers at Xtra Foods for instance. Who knows where else the images are beamed at you like that.

  41. Parental Guidance is Advised.

  42. And we saw what Kalipersad’s response was while he was at TV6. I didn’t see it Savitri Maharaj but I saw something posted their horror.
    I think something is not right with Ian. He seems to enjoy that stuff way too much.

  43. If T&T media governing body, if there is one, established codes of conduct relative to broadcasting content, policies etc to assure this type of scene is not shown while the majority of children are up then the media is not following the guidelines, and those responsible for monitoring, controlling and managing media policy compliance are not doing their jobs. Blaming Ian Alleyene is a waste of time. Focus on the media conglomerates in T&T, their leadership and stakeholders for their incompetence.

  44. Did you see the video of the accident yesterday? He was all over the victims like butter on bread

  45. I don’t know why people even watch this show

  46. I guess we have no watershed rules here?

  47. If T&T media governing body, if there is one, established codes of conduct relative to broadcasting content, policies etc to assure this type of scene is not shown while the majority of children are up then the media is not following the guidelines, and those responsible for monitoring, controlling and managing media policy compliance are not doing their jobs. Blaming Ian Alleyene is a waste of time. Focus on the media conglomerates in T&T, their leadership and stakeholders for their incompetence.

  48. Mr. Allegne should be ashamed to be using helpless innocent victims in this way, especially when his claim to fame is to help innocent people or "not so innocent" people get a fair hearing. His show is already popular, he doesn't need this type of sensational broadcast….or does he? Are his ratings slipping? Watch them slip some more if he continues with stunts like this. It is very sad that he did not even consider the feelings of the family before revealing their loved one to them in such a public way. Perhaps these people are like Rianna and the others above who would not mind such a private moment being televised publicly. I know I wouldn't. Allegne creates more victims when crimes like this are performed on TV. Where was the warning from TV6 before this graphic video was broadcast? We deserve at least that much. Mr. Kalipersad shows a want of responsibility. But I guess he is blinded by the dollar signs in his eyes.

  49. Geez Riannaare YOU SERIOUS. The blog seeks to highlight the fact that inappropriate pictures are shown at a time when young children are up and about and can view the pictures and not that the entire show should be banned. While I can agree that some videos and pictures can generate leads in some cases, I do not think there is a need to show dead bodies at 6pm. Maybe later in the night but not at 6pm.

  50. Seriously this post is so stupid and ridiculous! Maybe if that dead body was your mom or dad and he was trying to help u out maybe u wouldn't have made this dumb post! Geez!

  51. Any public display of crime like this, in broad daylight, should be punished. (So should parents letting their children watch all sort of horror at home) I thought TATT already had a code in place for the TV Stations to follow – to Not transmit this type of "info" before 8pm when the smaller children should be in bed.

  52. I always wonder about the psychological effect that these images have on children. Many times I see mothers at crime scenes with young children around them and even in their arms. We really need as a society to make better judgement when considering what we expose our children to. I do understand,on the other hand, that there would be situations that are out of our direct control.

  53. Wired868 1 – The Media 0

  54. Guess what it has always been like this, media is about the money. Viewers bring in numbers and numbers bring in money. Let's not pretend that media houses in TT today are about integrity. Journalism might be about the good value system, but owners are about money and politics. Kudos to Ian Alleyne for finding a great money spinner, it will make him a rich man, shame on TV for running it at a time when children are likely to be looking and shame on TATT for not forcing Crime Watch outside a watershed. Hey it's the same journalists who complaining now, they did not want a Broadcast Code and a public who stayed silent on the subject. What about protecting our children?

  55. Yes some of MrAlleyne'stv stunts are blunt and disrespectful but the reality is that there was no right way that the young individual was gonna see her first dead body, but only a dream by her guardian when she reached a certain age and be it a different circumstance who will u have blamed then? Truth in fact we are ALL to blame because crime, people's morals and the way our "imported" society is falls on us. When things happen what do we Trinis do? Talk and do nothing and accept it the way it is. Countries smaller than ours have stood up for what is right and they have control, crime is low etc. I say take a stand or like it the way it is.

  56. Spot on commentary…all of this disgusts and saddens me and I am really ashamed of people like Dominic Kalipersad. It seems like the media in Trinidad have lost sight of their purpose and have become overzealous in their attempts to draw viewers.