Last update: 09-Dec-2013 1:43 am
Monday, December 09, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
You are here
Cops ticket movie crew for parking in square
A misunderstanding over parking restrictions at Lord Harris Square, Port-of-Spain, yesterday threatened to derail the shooting of a local film on the history of the steelpan. Shortly after midday, filmmakers shooting “Pan! A Modern Odyssey” were confronted by three police officers from the Port-of-Spain City Police who informed them they were parked in the Abercromby Street square illegally. The film is being sponsored by the Ministry of Arts and Multiculturalism, Ministry of Trade and the Tourism Development Corporation (TDC).
Filmmakers and production staff said they had received permission from the police to use the square on Monday and Tuesday but were unaware they were not allowed to park inside. They said, however, that rather than ask them to removed their vehicles, the officers immediately began issuing traffic tickets for illegal parking and threatened to wreck the vehicles. In the end, seven members of the production staff who parked in the square were issued with $1,000 tickets.
The crew also claimed when lighting engineer Selwyn Henry began taking pictures of the lawmen, the officers arrested him and took him to City Police headquarters, Knox Street. Henry was eventually released and production resumed. When a news team from the T&T Guardian visited the scene, the lawmen, led by ASP Charles, were seen issuing the tickets to the filmmakers.
Producer of the film, Jean-Michel Gibert, said the officers were “extremely aggressive.” He said even though his staff was willing to move their vehicles as soon as the officers informed them they were there illegally, they were still issued with the tickets. He said: “We are not bandits. We are doing something good for Trinidad and they (the police) are jeopardising the entire operation. Something is absolutely wrong.”
Gibert noted that the film’s organisers had received “tremendous support” from the police in pre-production and yesterday’s issue could have been peacefully rectified. “We support the police to fight the wrong things in the society. This is a disservice to the society,” Gibert said. Writer of the film, Kim Johnson, also questioned the police action and said it was a hindrance to the film as filming could not continue without Henry. He said in foreign countries entire train stations were sometimes shutdown for filming.
Johnson asked: “This is a multi-million dollar project. People will close Grand Central Station to make a movie but because we park in the wrong place you going to arrest members of the crew and take them to the station?” “That is madness. That says our priorities are hopelessly skewed,” he added. Actor Errol Fabien, who has a part in the film, spoke briefly with the lawmen and afterwards described the situation as unfortunate.
“We were in violation but we could have calmly dealt with it. I am sure in future this will be avoided,” Fabien said.
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.