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Defence Force also to probe Tobago brawl

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Defence Force has launched an independent investigation into a brawl which took place at a bar in Tobago last Friday. The incident left a Coast Guard officer, a soldier and a civilian in hospital. Contacted yesterday, civil military affairs officer of the Defence Force Major Al Alexander said the investigation would be done simultaneously with the one being done by Tobago police. 



He said the parallel procedure was normal for the Defence Force in instances where enlisted men were accused of criminal conduct and its investigators would supplement and assist their counterparts in the Police Service. Alexander said as of Tuesday evening, the two Defence Force officers who were injured in the brawl were still warded at the Scarborough General Hospital. “The soldier (Lance Cpl Virgil Gervais) is doing well and the sailor (Philroy Douglas) has been taken out of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU),” Alexander said.


Around 3.25 am last Friday, a group of military personnel were liming at a bar in Tobago when the fracas broke out. Gervais, 33, of Black Rock, Tobago, suffered serious head injuries, and Douglas, 28, of Black Rock, Tobago, was shot in the chest. A 24-year-old civilian, Nicholas George, a TTEC employee from Mary’s Hill, Tobago, reportedly intervened in the melee and suffered head injuries. He too remained warded in hospital up to late yesterday.  


In an interview on Tuesday, Lt Commander Kirk Jean-Baptist, of the Coast Guard said the Defence Force was waiting for the results of the police and internal investigations before deciding on possible disciplinary measures, if any, for officers who were involved. Jean-Baptiste noted that despite the details of the incident that were reported in the media, the Defence Force could not confirm who instigated the brawl. 



“We have to let the police do their work. At this time we don’t know if it was an officer or civilian who did the shooting,” Jean-Baptiste said. He said the incident was captured by CCTV cameras at the bar, but Defence Force investigators were yet to view the footage.


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