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Facebook Pictures Land You in Jail in the Bahamas

Banana Republic Police Chief Ellison Greenslade.

Taken from the Tribune of the Bahamas.


Tribune Staff Reporter

POLICE Commissioner Ellison Greenslade has warned the public not to post “lewd” or “obscene” pictures on social media and has vowed to pursue such cases and bring charges.

He said yesterday that technology should be used for “positive reasons, not to malign persons’ characters,” and called on the public to report any published photos of such a nature.

“I send a clear message to all and sundry: have your fun on social media, send your messages to your friends; but this issue of posting lewd pictures of people, obscene pictures of people – whether they are alive or dead or injured – is an area that’s going to get you into grave problems.”

Calls to The Tribune following the commissioner’s announcement noted that earlier this week, a 17-year-old girl attempted to commit suicide by drinking bleach after an ex-boyfriend posted a nude video of her on 
Facebook, yet there have been no reports of charges in connection with this.

And, they asked, if Mr Greenslade intends to focus on social media – which in most cases a member of the public has to agree to view – what will he do about more public websites?

When asked if any charges have been made in connection with recent instances of nude photos or recordings being posted on-line, the commissioner said: “If we haven’t, then I intend to. I am going to pursue every single one of them.

“We have looked at charges already for any number of cases but I am saying particularly to persons who are grieved – the commissioner has said it – I am available to speak to them. If you don’t feel that we are moving quickly enough in the CDU or any other department, bring it to my attention. Bring it to my attention and we are going to move to deal with it.”

Mr Greenslade added: “There’s one thing to have the pictures – if it’s an adult, you are doing some things in the privacy of your own home as a consenting adult with some other adult – that has absolutely nothing to do with me, you, or the police department.

“However, where you are manipulated as a citizen to take those images and to post them – in any form – to the extent that they are now infringing upon the rights of a person and causing them undue harm and damage to their reputation, you are now on a very, very slippery slope.”

The commissioner called upon the public to report any instances to police and affirmed the police are in a position today where they can “hold the line” – or uphold the law – as it relates to the Internet.

“I don’t want to be overly aggressive with my comments other than to say, I’d like to see some improvements,” he said. “I believe we need to afford the best protection to our people.

“It’s a beautiful thing to be able to use technology but we need to use it for positive reasons, not to malign persons’ characters, not to steal monies from their bank accounts, not to cause them undue harm – or any harm for that matter. I am so pleased that I have an opportunity to say to the public, we stand with you and I’m not going to stand by. But you must let us know so if you’re surfing the net and you come across it. Trust me and send it to me and let me as commissioner give a directive.”

Despite democracy, there are some things that “you cannot do,” Mr Greenslade said, if those things contravene the law.

Many callers mentioned tabloid websites that regularly publish false and damaging content of a political nature, but have never been prosecuted.

Mr Greenslade added: “I sound that clarion call this morning and I demonstrate by action, how serious I am about that. I am prepared to speak to it again and again, until that message is clear. If you post on Facebook or any other social media anything that is contrary to law, that is obscene or indecent, and it infringes upon the rights of any other citizen, this commissioner and all members of the RBPF – I daresay all of us in public safety – are going to take action because we have a problem with that. We are not going to ignore it.”

Background Context:  The Bahamas has one of the highest murder per capita rates in the world.  The islands are rife with drug running, human trafficking, shootings and robberies.  Tourists are robbed at gun point.  The unsolved murder rate is incredibly high.  There was an extra-judicial killing of an escaped prisoner by a prison guard who has never been brought to justice.  There has been two high profile murders of prominent gay men that are unsolved because of "special involvement" with the men on a personal level by the Prime Minister.  A British banker was putatively killed by his ex-partner and never been brought to justice.  The first Prime Minister's son killed his girl friend.  And yet they are going to prosecute Facebook picture postings.  This came about when an activist posted Facebook pics of a prisoner who died in custody.  This police chief arrested that man yesterday.  Someone should call Amnesty International.

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