IN what might come as a relief to many, the Acting Prime Minister gave a stern warning to individuals who engage in taking photographs of victims of violence and accidents and circulating them via social media, taking specific aim at emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and police officers.
During a press briefing on Tuesday, Lenard Montoute spoke on the issue while paying his respects to the victims’ relatives following a vehicular collision over the weekend which claimed two lives and has left one hospitalized in stable condition.
Montoute was told there was a photograph of one of the deceased female’s body being circulated via social media.
When asked what his thoughts were on the issue, he said it was an ongoing matter that he will make recommendation for Parliament to look into legislation to govern and control such activities.
Montoute said: “Perhaps the time has come where legislation will have to be put in place to force people to become a little more sensitive. I’d hate to think that to appeal to someone’s humanity, you have to pass laws. But it appears that this is where we are headed right now because time and time again these things happen and until and unless we are probably directly impacted by such circumstances, we will not appreciate what it is that we’re doing. But I’m saying that it is a practice that we should desist from and ensure that we show a little humanity to others.”
Montoute revealed that he had spoken to the father of one of the deceased teenage girls after finding out about the incident but the father had not yet known of his daughter’s fate. He said it would have been unimaginable if that father had to find out about his child’s demise via photos on social media.
When asked specifically about legislation to deal with EMT and police personnel who engage in such practices, Montoute said: “Quite apart from being unprofessional, I think that it’s very inappropriate that you have people in those positions carrying out such acts. That has to be discouraged if it’s being done, and I would like to believe that if there is any legislation to control such activities, that they are severely harsh on especially those people who are in those positions such as emergency workers and police officers and so on. Because I think it is totally unacceptable and totally inappropriate and we should do everything to discourage it.”
Montoute expressed condolences on behalf of himself and the government to the families and loved ones of those involved in Saturday’s collision. He also called on the nation to continue to pray for the male accident victim who is still alive but in stable condition.
Montoute said: “For me personally, one of the young ladies who passed away is the daughter of my Permanent Secretary, Mr. Donavan Williams, and I’ve also worked with his wife, Jackie, and I know how they must feel having lost their only child in such tragic circumstances. I also want to, as part of the cluster of ministries that include Creative Industries, express our deepest condolences to Jah-T, who was a part of that industry, who lost his daughter in that accident as well and also Mr. Ames Amos, who is a public servant, and is now dealing with the critical condition of his son. We want to express our support and condolences for those who passed.”
Montoute went on to say that government stands ready to provide any form of support it could, adding a special message to the youth whom, he disclosed, are the typical victims of such incidents.
Montoute said that while he did not know the details of the accident, he would like the youth in general to practice more caution on the roads.
He said: “I just want to say that if all of us drivers recognise the highway codes, speed limits, avoid texting, using the telephone and so on while we drive and be a little more vigilant on the roads, I think we can probably minimise such occurrences.”