Talk show host and government critic, Christopher Hunte will appear in court on the 23rd of next month to answer to charges that arresting officers say contravened Section 14 (C) of the Public Order Act.
Hunte was arrested last Sunday after the vehicle he was travelling in was stopped by police in Canaries amid a mass crowd event police say permission was never sought for nor was permission granted.
Hunte was identified by police as the organizer of an ‘anti-Chastanet’ motorcade which was first advertised by former government minister and now talk show host Richard Frederick. However on the day of the event Frederick was told by police that the event was illegal and that he, as the organizer, had to do something to disperse the crowd.
According to police, Frederick did as instructed by them hence the reason why he was not arrested however Hunte and other person were also spoken to by police that same Sunday prior to the start of the motorcade.
Frederick, THE VOICE learned, left the area on Sunday on his own volition, allowing someone else to drive his vehicle while he took a ride in a police vehicle to remove himself from the scene. He also did explained, via social media, why he left the area on Sunday.
Sources within the police department explained that the crowd that Sunday did dispersed when Frederick told them to do so, however some assembled at another point, urged to do so by someone other than Frederick.
Efforts by us to enquire from Hunte his role in the motorcade were unsuccessful, however he has been recorded elsewhere saying he is considering legal action against the state, vowing that another Saint Lucian would not have to go through with what he went through with police this past Sunday.
Hunte’s arrest continues to reverberate with Saint Lucians at home and in the diaspora with one theory circulating that he was targeted not by police but by persons in the highest echelons of government with police simply carrying out orders emanating those in these high places. In fact, a voice note suggesting this is circulating on the WhatsApp social platform.
Acting Police Commissioner Milton Desir was quick to dismiss such a theory, noting on an NTN Live Midday Broadcast yesterday that no one has to tell him who to arrest after almost 36 years of service in the force.
Home Affairs and National Security Minister Hermangild Francis last night on the show ‘Police Insight’ also denied giving instructions to arrest Hunte. He even said that PM Chastanet would never do something like that.
Section 14 of the Public Order Act Hunte was arrested under states that a person commits an offence who (a) Leads; (b) organises or attempts to organise; or (c) incites any person to organise or take part in any public march or exhibition in contravention of any of the provisions of this Part. Hunte was charged under section (C).
Bail condition for Hunte was set at $500. He is also to report to the Gros Islet police station every Wednesday before 7:00 p.m., surrender his travel documents, not to interfere with the prosecution’s witnesses, etc.
The case is down to be heard in the First District Court.