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Police spokesman, ASP Jonathan Nicholls.
Police spokesman, ASP Jonathan Nicholls.
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Police spokesman, ASP Jonathan Nicholls.
Police spokesman, ASP Jonathan Nicholls.

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, May 13, IWN – I-Witness News is not a media entity, says head of the Police Public Relations Department, ASP Jonathan Nicholls.

Nicholls has repeatedly refused to distribute police public information notices (PINs) to the not-for-profit public service news and current affairs blog that has been operating since 2009.

The publicist, who heads the Police Public Relations Department, on May 6 instructed journalist Kenton X. Chance, who operates IWN, to again write to Commissioner of Police, Keith Miller, seeking permission for I-Witness News to be included among recipients of PINs from the police department.

Chance had gone to Nicholls’ office seeking information about a number of homicides in this country recently.

Nicholls said that his office had received from IWN several emails asking that it be included among the police’s recipients of PINs.

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He said that he had forwarded the emails to the police chief and that he said that IWN is not a media entity and should not receive PINs from the department.

Miller has in the past granted interviews to Chance and IWN.

Nicholls further said that it is the policy of his office not to send PINs to individual media practitioners and therefore independent journalists will not be included among recipients of the PINs.

The police spokesman said that since Chance is not associated with any media entity in SVG, his office has no way to verify that Chance is in fact a bona fide journalist.

But Chance — who has a degree in journalism and mass communication and has worked in the media internationally, regionally and locally — and Nicholls have attended media training together.

And, as recently as in April, Chance received via his personal email — the only means through which he had received such communiqués — PINs from Nicholls’ department and Nicholls himself has in the past given information, on the record, to Chance.

But Nicholls said he did not know that PINs from his office were being sent to Chance and that he will “correct that”.

Further, IWN had credited the police public relations department for its PINs when they are published without major rewrite — something that some of the nation’s newspapers have not done.

The police department’s policy exists even as the office of Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, who is also Minister of National Security, invites IWN to its media briefings and circulates its PINs to the media entity.

Further, this police policy of withholding PINs from individual media practitioners exists even as the Force has attracted a trained communications professional in the person of Insp. Hawkins Nanton, who has a master’s degree in communications and more than a decade of experience as a journalist and news editor.

But while the police department refuses to circulate its PINs to new media, such as blogs like IWN, it does not have any dissemination entity of its own — such as a website — and relies on traditional media for the dissemination of its information.

25 replies on “Police spokesman says I-Witness News is not a media entity”

  1. This site is the go to source of news for a large majority of the Vincentian Diaspora. Articles are presented in a factual, professional format. As a news outlet this site is excellent.

    I can see that persons might take issue with posted comments and opinion pieces. All major news outlets such as BBC, CNN and NY Times promote opinion articles and allow comments to be posted in regard to news articles.

    What is the criteria to be formally recognized as a media entity? What documents must be filed and/or approved and by what government departments?

  2. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear!!! In which century is my friend ASP Nicholls living in? And we say we are going to make our children internet savvy? I suspect they know far more about news blogs than does dear Jonathon. Can somebody in the police force tell the ASP that a “blog” is the term for a “web log” and that a “log” is a record of events/happenings – in another word “news”? And that the term “the news media” is a general short term that encompasses all the means by which we communicate news, whether through print, radio waves, cable, video, or, in this the twenty-first century, via the World Wide Web – hence the term, web log, or blog?

  3. Mr Chance if you do as your told by this regime, don’t publish anything that they do not approve of, publish things that your told to publish, you will get PINs.

    This is an attempt to stop the democratic right of your news agency in publishing the truth to the public. This is a direct attempt to gag you and your online news media.

    Your as much a news media as any printed paper newspaper is. Refusing you because they say you are Kenton Chance and not a news media, is like naming the owner of any of our newspapers in SVG and saying they will not issue PINs to that newspaper because it has a private owner. This kind of action is actually laid out in one of the ALBA directives, ALBA want to nationalise and control TV, RADIO, NEWSPAPERS and INTERNET.

    You must remember that you get the news directly to the Diaspora, they hate that. You are such a professional person who is liked, believed and trusted, that just for that they will hate you.

    What you can be sure of, the police do nothing without the direct input and instruction of Ralph Gonsalves. The decision to bring spite and malice to your organization comes right from the top.

    You can see by some of the ULP/Gonsalves political collaborators that post on your media, the dreadful lies that they tell, the way they try and protect the regime against the truth, least it damages the regime.

    I will be sending an email regarding this matter to the US State Department for inclusion in the next CIA world report.

    Thank you for your service to all Vincentians, at home and abroad.

    Thank you and God Bless you.

    Peter Binose

  4. I am sure is saw PUBLIC mentioned in the department Nicholls works. He should take the word PULIC out if he’s not going to disseminate news to the PUBLIC. The world over, except countries controlled by dictators, the public is informed by a spokesman/woman of events that take place. No one has to go to an office to get that news. It is in the open and any one present can ask questions. Many folks lives are caught up in many of these issues, and it’s their right to be informed. An informed public s an aware public and this can help the police in their investigations. There are far too many unsolved murders in SVG, because folks don’t talk to the police.
    It would be wise for Nicholls to talk to the public or folks may start asking what the police knew, when did they know and were they involved in the murders?
    He should not mess with the operators of BLOGS and TWITTER. They have a broader audience and can reach many more people with influence in seconds, not minutes. He should get out of his cubby hole and smell the roses. There is no public relations in his approach to his job, if he keeps this attitude. I presume he’s taking orders from Millar and probably Ralph, both losers in public relations situations. There are too many murders on this government’s watch. One should ask the question, why?

  5. Mr. Nichols is 101% CORRECT.

    I-WITNESS NEWS is just a BLOG on the Internet and not a LEGITIMATE MEDIA HOUSE in SVG, thus should be TREATED as such until FURTHER NOTICE.

    Next thing you know, you’re going to have other VINCY BLOGS on the Internet asking for Public Information Notices, if this BLOG is granted PINs.

    1. So why should not other blogs ask for public information notices? Why should not ANYONE ask for PUBLIC information notices? I am assuming that the PUBLIC INFORMATION office of the SVG Police Force has a computer with internet access so these notices could be sent by e-mail to whoever wants them. Or perhaps they don’t have internet access (as I said in my previous comment – what century are they living in?) and the Public information office is not actually meant to inform the public. I would have thought that the police would want to get their public information to as wide a public as possible, but it seems that I am mistaken! I have worked in Public Relations and my job was to get information to as many people as possible by whatever means available.

      And dear “Vincypowa”, the word,”Media”, in this usage, is an English word adapted from a Latin plural and it means “channels through which information is communicated to the public”. So do we have legitimate and illegitimate channels? I would remind you that printed pamphlets were once a new invention, and there were people who thought them disruptive, the telegraph was once new and is now out-of-date, radio was once new and so was television. I once read of the horror of some people in the 1940s (like you and Mr Nicholls today), at the prospect of that new medium, television, carrying a live broadcast of the then Princess Elizabeth’s wedding. Shock and Horror!! That’s not a “legitimate” thing to do! Get with it. This is 2013 and the internet is here to stay as are blogs; and blogs do communicate with the public whatever you or Mr Nicholls might think. I live in SVG and I get much of my information not from SVGTV or radio (which I hardly view or listen to), or the newspapers that I sometimes get late, but from sources like IWitness News. And I am NOT one of the much maligned “young people” – I’m 72 when last I checked.

  6. There you are, straight from the mouth of Gonsalves, VINCYPOWA is his online press secretary, collaborator and paid to attack anyone who exposes the truth that may damage the regime.

    In the name of true democracy, we have to tolerate people like VINCYPOWA, despite him being a very nasty little Marxist operative. He would like nothing more than to destroy I-Witness News.

    Of course I-Witness News is a legitimate media house and outlet. They report the news, not just locally, but worldwide.

    I sent the whole of this matter to the US State Department, just as I said I would.

  7. The Gonsalves regime have decided to try and gag, I-Witness News, and in doing so have shown outright disrespect for Kenton Chance.

    You will never convince me that this action didn’t come right from the top, Gonsalves himself. Its the same with Nice Radio, they are refused information by the police.

    If the narcissistic view is taken that they are his enemies, they will get sqat s..t from the police, or any ministry. Its then time for spite and malice.

    Nice Radio, unlike other stations, get no paid advertising from the Lottery or from any government department of corporation.

    Of course they will both be allowed into press conferences, because face to face he is in my opinion a coward. Very brave when surrounded by his 20 police officer protection and bodyguard squad. Doesn’t want to totally appear to the US and the rest of the world as a narcistiss.

  8. This could have been addressed is so simple, the statement should have read:

    “This blog is not recognized as a legitimate media entity by the police department as the following documents ……..have not been submitted and/or Approved by the government. As such PIN’s can not be issued as required under section ……….. of the law.”

  9. I’m not saying that the police are right to do this to kenton, but this is an easy fix. Just ‘cuz everyone knows who you are, doesnt make u a legal entity. If the policy is that they provide this info only to “entities” and not “individuals” then kenton needs to establish that he is not asking as kenton chance, but as IWN. Just Incorporate IWN (if not already), then make the request as the company called IWN, which would be separate from individual journalist kenton. This is not a conspiracy, just a bureaucracy. Sheesh. Everyone get over yourself.

  10. I just re-read this article and realized that I made the cardinal error of relying on a headline. It’s not the police spokesman who says that IWN is not a media entity. What the article actually reports is that “He said that he had forwarded the emails to the police chief and that he said that IWN is not a media entity”, not the most felicitous way of reporting, but I take it that the “he” in the second part of this sentence “he said that the IWN is not a media entity” refers to the “police chief” to whom the emails were sent. In other words our esteemed and learned Commissioner of Police. All is now revealed and I apologize to ASP Nicholls.

    It just seems to me like we’re trying to take part in a Formula 1 race while driving an original Model-T Ford and we cannot understand why everyone else is whizzing past us.

  11. ARPEJAYS, you have made another blunder, Miller could not make this decision, it had to come from the very top, only he could make this decision.

    All the police are yes men, they just look up the chain, and the first link is Gonsalves.

  12. ZAH GOU, in Saint Vincent you do not need to be a company, or to be a business entity of any kind, you can be a partnership, a sole trader, a none profit organisation, a trust and many other things. If you had to be a company they would not be able to VAT register individuals, because as the police have told Mr Chance he is a none entity.
    Mr Chance trades as what I have seen written some where as a none-profit organisation known as “I-Witness-News” I do not know if its incorporated or not, but that does not matter in the slightest.

    Mr Chance is carrying on the business of an online news and event information provider, many of his articles are passed on and/or used by other news agencies Caribbean and World wide. He provides the opportunity to the public to make comments to what appears on his news site, just like news papers will print letters of their readers.

    I believe this is a spite and a control matter, and an attempt to gag this news site and as such I have again submitted it to the US State Department. I hope that the Human Rights representatives also send this as a report to all relevent authorities so as it is recorded internationaly as a human rights breach, which I am sure it actually is.

  13. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference, and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers”

    This philosophy is usually accompanied by legislation ensuring various degrees of freedom of publishing, press and printing the depth to which these laws are entrenched in a country’s legal system can go as far down as its constitution.

    The concept of freedom of speech is often covered by the same laws as freedom of the press, thereby giving equal treatment to spoken and published expression.

  14. I agree with the questions asked in the first comment:

    “What is the criteria to be formally recognized as a media entity? What documents must be filed and/or approved and by what government departments?”.

    It’s unfair what was done to Mr Chance but before we jump the gun, did he do everything he was suppose to do to be recognized as a media entity? Also, is it because not enough information is being made available? So as you can see both sides need more inquiry.

    When those have been answered then and only then can one build a case because right now it’s speculation. The majority of the comments I’ve read have been politically biased and I hate that us Vincentians feel the need to bring politics into everything.

    It’s this kind of mentality drives young people away. Although I love SVG, I honestly cannot wait to leave because instead of Blue, Yellow or Green. It’s either, Yellow, Red or Green.

    1. You know, I come back to a basic question. Why do I have to be a “media entity” however that is defined in order to get a Public Information Notice? Why cannot anyone who asks for it get such a notice. Notice the name – we are not talking about a state secret. It is a PUBLIC Information Notice. Once the information is given to whoever are defined as “media entities” and they broadcast it either tonight or next Friday when the newspapers are published, it will be public knowledge. So why do we have to wait until tonight’s radio or TV news or Friday’s newspaper publication to get the PUBLIC information which the Police (or anyone else for that matter) wants to have disseminated? Why does anyone have to file documents or get approval (from whom?) in order to get public information?

      We now live in a world in which someone in New York can text relatives in SVG (this happened) and working in Kingstown, to ask “How come you haven’t told me that someone was shot in a court building?” – before the news reached said relatives. Relative tells some else , “X just told me there was a shooting in Kingstown”. Other person says, “X is in SVG?” “No, X is in New York.” “How come she know before you?” “Twitter”. And we are concerned to define and certify who is and who is not a “media entity”. And if the Police Public Relations Department is then instructed to issue a PIN about the issue, it can go only to those defined a “media Entities” . Meanwhile, Twitter will be full of it, BBMs will be flying back and forth and YouTube will in all probability have a video before the PIN is even written, typed, sent for approval, amended and finally issued to “media entities”.

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