Opinion: MP Jeff Sousa On Film Crew Refusal

April 11, 2014

[Opinion column written by OBA MP Jeff Sousa]

I think some Bermudians are looking the wrong way at Minister Michael Fahy’s refusal to grant a Canadian team permission to film a program about the murder of Rebecca Middleton.

There is some feeling in the community that this is an attack on freedom of expression. How could that possibly be?

The story of Miss Middleton’s murder has been told and retold many times, in the 18 years since it was committed, without hindrance, both in Bermuda and in Canada. Few Canadians will not already be familiar with it, and therein lies the problem.

When a story has been told many times, the pressure for ‘new’ information for a new program becomes very strong, and that usually translates into exaggeration and sensationalised versions of the truth. If people are being paid for their testimony, the pressure becomes even greater.

In the circumstances, Minister Fahy’s fear that Bermuda’s reputation might be harmed in a new telling is perfectly reasonable and logical.

No one is being prevented from saying what he likes about Rebecca Middleton’s horrible murder. Journalists here and in Canada are as free to tell and re-tell the story as they have ever been. Nothing prevents the Canadian film company making this newest version of the story entering into some kind of business relationship with Bermudian film-makers to get the footage they want to get. It’s worth pointing out that these are not journalists, per se, but film-makers who want to sell the story they’re telling.

So the theory that press freedom is being interfered with is nonsense – the stuff of cheap political provocation.

It is true that banning these film-makers may on this occasion generate more publicity than would allowing them to come and do their work here. It’s a moot point, because nobody knows for sure.

But will this be the last time? Will this be the last time a film program will be made about the Middleton murder? I doubt it. The serial re-telling of this story suggests to me that there are people who, for reasons one can only guess at, are making it their business to have the story told again and again.

The Rebecca Middleton murder was an appalling tragedy. A young girl lost her life in horrific circumstances. The case was handled badly by the authorities. The result was that justice was denied to Miss Middleton, her family and, I make so bold as to suggest, to the Bermuda community.

We have never made any attempt to cover up or conceal the facts. We agree that the case was handled so badly as to bring shame on Bermuda.

Why should we be forced to atone for that over and over again? Why should we enable the further notoriety of this case in Canada and elsewhere? It has been nearly two decades…

Bermuda’s system of justice is one we can be proud of. Failure is a rare event, and one that attracts a great deal of soul-searching as we try to understand the reasons it occurred and try to make sure it doesn’t happen again. In this case, we are exploring the possibility of Constitutional change to allow for the re-trial of serious crimes when new and compelling evidence comes to light, as it did in the Middleton case.

We pay attention to our responsibilities in the area of human rights. Our Constitution guarantees such things as freedom of speech. We are proud to call ourselves a democratic country in the front rank of the world’s civilized nations.

Minister Fahy was standing up for Bermuda and for Bermuda’s reputation when he closed the door to these film-makers. He was telling them, and anyone else who might be listening, that while Bermuda is a fair and law-abiding country, we are not masochists. Please treat us with a little respect.

- Jeff Sousa

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  1. Opinion: A Reply To MP Sousa On Film Crew | Bernews.com | April 13, 2014
  1. Terry says:

    Wonder who wrote that for him.
    Sorry Jeff. Your no lawyer and ….never mind.
    More propaganda from the OBA.

    • BETTTY TRUMP says:

      Stop the Spin OBAubp while you are ahead, this is not a good way to deal with this matter. You have MESSED up BiG TIME… get real and move on and reverse your decision.

      Stop trying to soften the wrong actions of the OBAubp JEFF..it sounds silly and outright wrong.

      • Mike Hind says:

        Good job addressing his points, Bettty.

        Oh, wait.

        • Terry says:

          Well Mr. Hind why don’t you address them instead of being such a attack dog.
          Shalom.

          (go have another rum rummy et al).

          • Mike Hind says:

            *sigh*

            Here he goes again, lashing out like an insane person.

            I try to ignore your posts. I do.

            Please leave me out of your nonsense.

            We’ve been doing the “Live and let live” thing. Why are you trying to start the ugly up again. It never ends well for you.

            • Terry says:

              But “ugly” does.
              “It never ends well for you”.
              Bawahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
              You wear my shoes?
              I am so happy that I laugh at fools like you.

              Embeded in guilt.
              Shalom.
              How many Rhino horns you sell today.

              Looser.

              • Mike Hind says:

                And there it is.

                Complete insanity.

                Par for the course.

                • Keepin' it Real...4Real! says:

                  Both of you need to take a break this is not the Terry n Mike show…why don’t you two meet personally for your childish rants towards each other! Then Bernews can report on who debunks who, now that’d be funny ..lmao

                  • Terry says:

                    Well just to keep you up to date “Keepin’Real…4Real!” ; at least we use our names.
                    Not like you who cherry pick everything here and on other sites.

                    Now go plant a peppercorn.

                • Lone Wolf says:

                  And he can’t even spell loser properly.

      • PLOP says:

        I never thought I could agree with Betty Trump on anything but I agree, the OBA did get this one wrong. I beg you , reverse the decision and let them tell the story. It does not matter often the story is told, until we FIX the problem, FIX the double jeopardy loophole, find a way to convicted the criminals and show what we have done to the system to make sure it does happen again – they will continue to tell the story, and they have that right.

        If they were here to do a story for the 100th time about the beauty of our beaches would we stop them because that story has been told?

        Mr. Faye, I have supported most of what you have done but as difficult as I might be, do the right thing and grant this film crew the permits they need.

        • LMAO says:

          Where was Jeff educated? He needs to stick with what he knows best as his diction is obviously limited. Him and Bascome cut from the same dumb and dumber cloth. Jeez, do they just talk to hear themselves?

          SICK AND TIRED OF UNDER EDUCATED MPS

  2. Creme Brûlée says:

    Sousa, you’ve just proven what a Tow-The-Party-Line, Climb-The-Greasy-Pole guy you really are.

  3. MB - and I'm not looking at it wrong way !!!! says:

    The OBA’s defence of banning the crew is so ill thought out, selfish and naive beyond words it makes me question whether I could ever vote for a party that would offer up this!

    Do they really think the crew wil now go away. No, they will make their doc any way they can and come back to bite us hard in the a** … showing Bermuda in a farworse light than had they cooperated.
    In their defence today they say story has been told ‘over and over’. Well guess what – it should be told OVER and OVER until their is JUSTICE for this girl. Ever think of it that way, or maybe you should think of Becky as your daughter…what would you do? Stop the story being told because tourism might slip further into the toilet than it already is??

    • Mike Hind says:

      “…they WILL…”? or “…they COULD…”? (emphasis mine)

      ‘Cuz they’re two different things.

      “WILL” indicates that you know they’ll do something.
      “COULD” indicates conjecture.

      And how, exactly, does this movie bring justice to Ms. Middleton?

      • sorry says:

        Because it brings awareness to the cause.

        • Mike Hind says:

          So… not justice, then.

          Just awareness. They’re two different things.

          • sorry says:

            Well if that awareness is received by the right people in the right places then maybe, just maybe it can get the ball rolling for something bigger for Ms.Middleton. Doing nothing about surely isn’t going to get her justice.

    • Terry says:

      True MB.

      Like Dr. Carol Shuman stated there needs to be a Royal Commission of Enquiry to sort this sheet out.

      It’s all about the ‘status quo’.

      I have stated this prior in regards to the “Third Man” in the assassinations of the early 1970′s.

      Front Street and now ‘outlets’.

      Shalom.

      • Suzie Quattro says:

        What has a making of a docudrama got to do with changing the law regarding double jeopardy?
        Answer: absolutely nothing.

  4. sorry says:

    “We agree that the case was handled so badly as to bring shame on Bermuda.

    Why should we be forced to atone for that over and over again?”

    - Maybe because we haven’t righted the wrong that we made. Just give the girl’s family the justice they so rightfully deserve.

    • Mike Hind says:

      How would you suggest we do that?

      • Terry says:

        See above my comment.
        Shalom.

        • Mike Hind says:

          I tried.

        • Suzie Quattro says:

          How does allowing a large media corporation to come here and make a docudrama do anything to “give the girl’s family the justice they deserve”? It is nothing to do with giving people justice.

          The media company has no interest in ‘justice’ or ‘seeking the truth’ or ‘changing things so this never happens again’? They have no interest in any of that.

          They are a media corporation. They want to make a TV show for entertainment so that they can make money.

  5. Still Blame the PLP says:

    Some PR Advice – stop talking about this issue – it makes you look like the fools you are.

    You cannot stop people from reporting a story – we are NOT North Korea!

  6. Bermudian Momma says:

    In my opinion, Mr. Fahy should have chosen his words more carefully. The work permits could have been declined on the basis that there are qualified Bermudians who could have filmed the interviews & re-enactments. The question that begs to be answered is, why beat a dead horse – this is not a cold case file – everyone knows who did it. Everyone is in agreement that justice was not served. Let the family mourn the lost of their loved one in peace.

    • well says:

      Govorment choose not to hide its actions or try to fool people. they made a call for Bermuda.

  7. Jasmine says:

    Don’t impact and deny my freedom of speech based on assumptions that what I might say may not be entirely truthful. The last time I checked being honest is not a requirement to the speaking of my mind. By all means disagree with what I say. But don’t for a second think that your beliefs are more important than mine. And don’t lot my rights based on your thoughts/assumptions.
    J

    • Mike Hind says:

      Who is impacting freedom of speech?

    • Suzie Quattro says:

      No one is stopping anyone from expressing their opinions Jasmine.

      • Jasmine says:

        Correct. Instead, they are trying to control the medium via which the sharing of opinions takes place. These guys are making a documentary. Who wants to watch/hear recorded phone interviews? At the end of the day unless people are inciting hate/violence, nobody should be barred from expressing their opinions in whatever media they so choose. The truth is the truth. And just because you don’t like the consequences (if any) of said truth does not mean you can attempt to control the media…

        • Mike Hind says:

          No one is being barred from expressing their opinions.
          No one is controlling the media.

        • Sandy Bottom says:

          No one is controlling the media or stopping a tv show being made. They can even do it here, if they hire Bermudians. No one can stop them, and no one is trying to stop them.

          Nobody is stopping anyone from expressing their opinions.

  8. WTF says:

    To quote Sousa: “It’s worth pointing out that these are not journalists, per se, but film-makers who want to sell the story they’re telling.”

    Sorry, Geoff, but they ARE journalists, and they are doing exactly what all other journalists do…investigate, record and tell their story and then sell it to a media outlet. You raise the question of why does this particular group want to investigate, film and broadcast the Middleton murder case again? Good question, and I wonder if Fahy or anyone at Immigration or anywhere else in government asked it. You, Fahy and many others appear to be working on the assumption that their prime purpose is to sensationalize the case with no regard for how it makes Bermuda and Bermudians appear. Rather than saving Bermuda from a possible sullying of its reputation, this ill-conceived decision has made Bermuda look paranoid and self-absorbed.

    I have wondered what would have happened had the film crew been allowed to proceed in Bermuda…would they have had to hand over their final product for editing by Fahy so that any the negative bits about Bermuda could be cut?

    • Mike Hind says:

      Nothing but assumptions in here.

    • Sandy Bottom says:

      They are not journalists. They are making a tv show for entertainment.

      • Gotham says:

        SB, I believe that is what journalists are paid to do… This ban is not a whole lot different than EFB going after the Mid Ocean a News/Royal Gazette over their reporting of the Bermuda Housing scandal, nor for that matter the UBP’s pulling the work permit of the RG reporter who broke the Bermuda Fire and Marine story (he now publishes Offshore Alert and various other rags out of Florida – not a nice character in any way and he has a permanent you know what on for Bermuda ever since…).

  9. Truth is killin' me... says:

    Jeff Sousa, I was with you until I saw “Bermuda’s system of justice is one we can be proud of.” The judge’s sentencing here is a JOKE! Puisne’s…the lot of them. The whole system needs a complete overhaul but nobody including the AG has the money, balls or time to do it!!

  10. Unbelievable says:

    I am tending to agree with Minister Fahy’s decision, as hard as that may be.

    We don’t know at all what these film makers were planning to do. Documentary film makers look for a story to tell (despite this one being told already a few times).

    Who is to say that they won’t slate the Bermuda Police Service and in particular individuals? Who is to say they won’t slate Govt Ministers from that time? Or judges? Or even the press? We just have no idea that Bermuda would be treated fairly in their film. I’m not accusing them of anything but we just don’t know.

    Now you can argue that Rebecca wasn’t treated fairly. And that is true. That is very true. This case should have resulted in a solid conviction but it didn’t so tempers and emotions will be high. But as the press release above says, what more do we need to know about this case? Maybe there is more so someone please tell us.

    When we see these pictures on Facebook about all sorts of things, good and bad, and there is a caption that leads you to comment, you really have no idea what actually happened before or after it was snapped. Same for a doc film. A filmmaker can get you to believe (or at least try) what they want.

  11. clearasmud says:

    This piece was a waste of space. It does nothing to validate the Minister’s decision and merely supports which we expect!

  12. Salli says:

    @ Unbelievable. I was thinking similar thoughts. I can see the logic in his words. I am not an OBA supporter, and to me it does
    not matter who made this statement. I cannot say that I totally agree with allowing or not allowing. However, I do enjoy reading comments that make sense. To who? Me.

    @ Mike Hind, I agree with your question of how would this bring justice. That opportunity came and went so unfairly. Hopefully out of all this is to teach our children to look out for each other and to be careful. Our children travel all over the world and need protecting.
    Bermuda will continue to feel the pain and sadness of this tragedy and how the case was dealt with. Still cannot believe it.

  13. nuffin but the truth says:

    FAHY should Reverse his bad decision and then RESIGN..

    ANYONE that tries to stifle FREE SPEECH should not be in any country’s Government.

    RESIGN FAHY!…take the AG with you too.

    • Mike Hind says:

      How is he trying to stifle free speech?

      And why does our Government have any responsibility to provide rights to foreign citizens?

    • jt says:

      I don’t agree with the decision. Mainly because I think it is the wrong pr move. But it does not prevent free speech, so let’s stop saying it does.

  14. Family Man says:

    On the basis of this logic, the OBA should ask the US Consul General to leave immediately as his sensational warning about Bermudians pumping raw sewage into the ocean and having it wash up on Bermuda’s beaches might harm Bermuda’s reputation.

    Obviously, we only want people here who say nice things about us. If you dare raise unpleasant facts we either won’t let you in or we’ll frog-march you on to the next plane out. Oh, wait, that was the Col. Sometimes its hard to tell one party from the other.

    • Mike Hind says:

      Nope. That does not follow the logic at all.

      You’re comparing apples to oranges.

    • well says:

      Yes the sewage thing is on the same level however there is not much you can do to USA in this regard. This film think is something they could do something about and they did. They did not hide it, they did it. And it’s the People of Bermuda’s call to make not anywhere else.

      I read something above, maybe at a later date the film maker can be bound by contract so that the government has to approve the final edit of the film. I am sure that will be a good option. but for now rain check let Bermuda do what it has to do.

  15. faith says:

    It’s a DOCU-DRAMA, not a documentary. And again, as someone who has viewed every episode to date Bermuda should stop worrying about having part of the story be that filming wasn’t allowed on island.

    Cooperation on non-compliance with the filming on each episode is in no way ever discussed or mentioned.

    We really do have other things to be focusing our attention on.

  16. Ex-reporter says:

    These are not “journalists”. Journalists covering a story don’t need work permits.

    These are so called “documentary” or “docudrama” film makers – who are in the business of sensationalism. They are not covering a story. They are filming a story for a show called “Mystery in Paradise” . There is no mystery here. We know who the killers are, we know who bungled the investigation, we know everything there is to know. No new information will come of this…unless someone lies.

    They were going to do “re-enactments” of a brutal rape and murder – that is not journalism – it is sensationalism. Imagine the scene – two black men butchering a pretty white girl in Bermuda.

    Is this what we want? Is this going to do us any good in rebuilding our tourism and our economy?

    • Stella says:

      Totally agree with you and think so many people are missing the point on this. This is NOT a documentary – anyone who has watched episodes of this programme knows that their portrayal of events\stories are sensationalized. These people are in the business of “entertainment” – they are not journalist and they are certainly not interested in ‘justice’. They’re in it to make money – period!

    • Evie says:

      Bermuda justice system has not changed nor is it better Stop defending this nonsense shame on minster Fahy n Sousa we should b talking about compensation for the Middleton not making excuses SMDH

    • Unbelievable says:

      Ex-reporter is absolutely correct.

      I would like to hear from the film makers that they would treat the story fairly.

  17. watching says:

    Mike Hind – the unofficial PR arm of the OBA.

    • Mike Hind says:

      No. I’m not. It’s simply not true.

      Please stop posting lies.

      • Independent says:

        @ Mike

        Lol, Mike you still up here pretending to be a straight shooter lol?

        • Mike Hind says:

          And you’re still hiding behind a fake name like a coward, pissed off because I ask questions that you don’t have answers for.

          Why is asking for integrity such a challenge to you?

          And, while your at it, why don’t you show some evidence that I’m not being straight?

          Not everyone is a party puppet like you. Some… No, most… Of us use our brains and question when lies are being spread. Most of us don’t base every post on our party affiliation… Or lack thereof.

          My problem is that I keep thinking that folks like you are like me and are serious about having an honest conversation.
          Your problem is that you keep thinking that folks like me are like you and are just spewing out whatever lies will protect your party and get them back in power.

    • Mike Hind says:

      Just because you don’t like that I ask questions that put you and yours insanely biased posts into question doesn’t make me an OBA supporter.

      Asking how this will bring justice to Ms. Middleton doesn’t make me “the unofficial PR arm of the OBA”.

      You should really ask yourself why my asking for truth, honesty and integrity makes me an opponent of the PLP, as you so often try to paint me.

      Please remember: I’m not like you. I’m not blindly faithful to a party, to the point where I will say ANYTHING, no matter if I know it’s untrue, if someone appears to be attacking my Party.
      That’s not what I’m about. I wish you’d try to understand that.

      • Independent says:

        @Mike Hind

        Now the bullsh*t excuses start lol. People know who you are already Mike, too late mate lmao. Attack dog is a pretty sharp name, I prefer OBA Whack Dog for you:) lmao

        • Mike Hind says:

          Annnnd another baseless, useless, completely false attack from this one.

          How ’bout this for an idea? You try making sense when you post…. Try posting about things that are real and not made up because you’re throwing a tantrum… And people might start taking you seriously.
          Keep posting nonsense and lies like this and you’ll just be dismissed as the pathetic, cowardly loser that you are,

  18. whatdoesthefoxsay? says:

    What did we learn today? 1. OBA propaganda machine wrote this, Sousa didn’t. 2. The rationale in the opinion piece has been widely condemned around the world and in Bermuda already. 3. Sometimes you need to say ‘No’ to your Party; ‘I will not sign my name’ to such an opinion piece. 4. But then again, the greasy pole comment at the top of this thread explained # 3. 5. Sorry J Sousa but your credibility dipped – yet again.

    • Mike Hind says:

      Not a single thing in here is even remotely addressing the content of the piece.

      This is nothing but more smear and misinformation.

  19. hold on says:

    Ms Middleton’s story is already a low point in our country’s history, in fact there are at least two low points: her brutal murder and our failure to bring her killers to justice. M Fahy has just brought more disgrace upon us and yet again I feel ashamed to be a Bermudian. Jeff Sousa’s comments would not be out of place in North Korea. The only way we can begin to redeem ourselves is to change our laws so that the Middletons can be given at least some solace.

  20. Keepin' it Real...4Real! says:

    I don’t know why We The People, continue electing Officials, which are Mentally handicapped…they must be…because all the Elitists Brains are RIGHT HERE on BERNEWS!…I am sooooo befuddled by the depth of ignorance of my fellow countrymen. I’m quite sure that some of you are educated up the wazzoo…but your level of Intelligence leaves lots to be desired…(sigh) could go on forever, but i see that’ll be a waste of time too.

  21. norf says:

    OBA have lost the plot completely and have officially become the NEW PLP. Their egos have completely takeover their minds. They have made Bermuda the laughingstock of the free world. They have now guaranteed PLP re-election in 2017. There is now no hope for Bermuda unless a new third party lead by statesmen with good sound judgment arise now to lead us back to a state of sanity.

  22. Lone Wolf says:

    Your question, “Why should we be forced to atone over and over again?”
    Your statement, “It has been nearly two decades.”

    The answer:

    The same reason whites are being forced to atone over and over again after MULTIPLE decades! What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

    And before you all accuse me of being a racist, I am 50% Native American Indian. The white man did as much damage to my people as they did to black people. I know the pain of my ancestors being “wiped out”, our land stolen, our women and children murdered, our men enslaved, etc.

    I know this will be an unpopular post and I don’t care. I call it like I see it.

  23. well says:

    Well I have to agree with OBA on this one. They have the brains to feel it out find the true intensions of the film. we dont need that when we are trying to get things inorder. rain check and come back a diffrent day.

    • Terry says:

      The “true intentions of the film” I would imagine is to keep it on the front burner as to why no trial or amendments have occurred.

      What are the OBA/Attorney General doing about double jeopredy et al.

      Nothing here.

      Move on.

  24. FEEL THE LOVE.. says:

    “Nothing prevents the Canadian film company making this newest version of the story entering into some kind of business relationship with Bermudian film-makers to get the footage they want to get.” -Hmmmm..