Members of the media today staged a walk-out at a press conference called by Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley who reportedly refused to admit one media representative into the conference.
The media personnel who the Premier sought to bar was Cindy Rosan of Guavaberry Media.
As members of the various media entities (including Rosan) sat and waited for the Premier to commence the conference, which was scheduled to start at 2pm, Chief Information Officer at the Government Information Service (GIS) Desiree Smith approached Rosan to have a private conversation.
As Rosan got up, Smith instructed Rosan to bring her belongings but Rosan refused. After her conversation with Smith, Rosan shared her account of what happened during the conversation.
“She (Smith) was trying to say to me that the Premier doesn’t want me here. So I said to Desiree, ‘can you present me with GIS policy?’. She said it hadn’t been updated in a while. I said I need to see it as of right now because if you’re asking me to leave, I need to see the terms on which you’re asking me to leave,” Rosan recalled.
And according to the outspoken media personality, Premier Wheatley’s lawyer had previously served her with a “letter in urgency” — the spirit of which, Rosan said, was to prevent her from being on any forum he is part of. BVI News has not yet been able to independently verify the contents of any such letter.
In the meantime, Rosan expressed that she would not be bullied or intimidated by the leader of government business.
“If you want to issue legal proceedings against me or Guavaberry Media, you go and you file something in the court. It goes through a process, a case is put forward to the judge, it’s heard and the judge makes a decision. So unless you can give a court-issued judgement [and] GIS can issue their policy unedited … then I am going to sit here. And if they want to remove me, then they are just going to have to bring the police and have me arrested so the territory can see how much of a threat Natalio Wheatley is to democracy and free press in the Virgin Islands
,” Rosan declared today while still waiting for the press conference to begin.
After waiting for nearly an hour for the conference to start, members of the media walked out as they did not receive any update from GIS or the Premier — both of whom were already at the location.
Premier Wheatley later made his statement via a live Facebook
broadcast without the benefit of members of the media who would traditionally be present for a question-and-answer session.
BVI News sought to get a comment from Premier Wheatley on the matter. However, he requested some time to respond. Our news centre will bring the Premier’s response at a later time.