‘We returned to the scene of the crime so to speak, as our investigation into drug trafficking between both countries began back in 2009″. Garth St. Clair, co-host of the award-winning radio show Eye on Dependency was speaking about the recent private screenings of the local film Trafficked in London. Garth and his wife and co-host Natasha Nunez wanted to wrap up the year long run of the film in England to as a gesture of thanks to the many individuals and organisations that contributed to their travels and to the interviews with prisoners, one of which was turned into film.
“The trade in drugs, and more recently, humans has been a passion of ours for some time”, said St. Clair, “and we could not have accomplished any of our work over the years without the tremendous support and encouragement from the staff and leaders of the British High Commission.” The current and former High Commissioners attended the private screening in London on 13 October, along with several other specially invited guests, including BBC journalist and former prisoner Raphael Rowe and BBC World Service announcer Neil Nunes.
After the screening, which was introduced by HE Tim Stew, British High Commissioner to T&T, the audience was typically silent but soon came to life as people expressed their understanding of the importance of the message. An important comment from Tony Saggers, a leading official at the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) was that Trafficked ought to be mandatory viewing for young persons travelling independently. The sentiment was echoed by other audience members who congratulated the husband and wife team on their efforts and record of success as well as the poignant message Trafficked conveys.
In addition to the private screening at the Odeon Panton Street theatre, Garth and Natasha also visited two prisons – Brixton and Styal – where Trafficked was shown, in the prison chapel which doubled as a makeshift theatre, for the inmates. “It was our first time at Styal”, said Natasha, “which a women’s institution close to Manchester. The reaction and discussion after the film was the most touching for us. The characters in Trafficked resonated deeply with many of the prisoners, leading to one woman, ironically from Trinidad, breaking down and leaving the room. It was a powerful reminder for us that the message being carried in this film is so important to get out there.”
HM Prison Brixton in central London is a Category B prison for men. Trafficked was shown for a group of prisoners, who remained attentive during the film and asked lots of questions at the end. Of course, there was a Trinidadian in the audience who was eager to be regaled of news from home. One of the prison officers standing guard was also from Trinidad & Tobago. Most of the questions centred on the drug trade between both countries, with many prisoners lamenting that women are so often trapped or tricked into being involved.
The prison visits were made possible by another of Eye on Dependency‘s partners, the Prison Radio Association. Led by Chief Executive Phil Maguire, the PRA runs a network of over 100 prison radio stations across England and Wales called National Prison Radio (headquartered at HMP Brixton) and helped establish RISE Maximum Radio at the Maximum Security Prison back in 2012. RMR has been thriving ever since and distinguishes itself in that unlike the British system, the programming and on-air duties are shared by inmates and officers.
Eye on Dependency is the Creator and Executive Producer of Trafficked, an entirely local production in conjunction with Quirky Films. Trafficked is directed by Sean Hodgkinson and stars Gyerlini Clarke, Aaron Charles, Kia Rollock and Brett Bengochea.
Eye on Dependency also expresses its genuine thanks the Trinidad & Tobago High Commission and the Ministry of Foreign & CARICOM Affairs for their invaluable assistance in securing the venues for the pre-screening cocktail and theatre, as well as the sponsors of the travel including the Ministry of National Security, the Ministry of Community Development Culture and the Arts, the United Nations Development Programme, the National Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Programme (NADAPP), Oxygen Productions and Dr. Anthony Pottinger.
For more information about Eye on Dependency and/or Trafficked, please contact Mr Garth St. Clair at 756-6337 or firstname.lastname@example.org.