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Man in police custody after murder of Barbados Nation photo journalist

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

The Barbados Nation newspaper yesterday reported that the police have in custody a man who is assisting with the investigation of Monday's double murder of 25-year-old Nation photo journalist Christoff Griffith and 51-year-old maintenance worker Glenroy James of Grazettes, St Michael.

A report in the online edition of the Nation said that both men were killed within minutes of each other in a bloody cutlass attack on the grounds of the former residence of the Anglican bishop of Barbados.

“James, a sub-contractor with A&B Maintenance, had reached the secluded location ahead of the other members of the company after arrangements to meet there to carry out excavation work commissioned by property owners, the Anglican Diocese,” the Nation reported.

Crew members soon discovered a murder in progress as James, a Guyanese who had moved to Barbados more than 20 years ago, had been attacked and killed by an unknown assailant. They reported the matter, moved to the roadside and awaited the arrival of the police.

“As reports of the discovery of the body spread, a news team from the Nation that included Griffith, in typical despatch, responded, with the young photo journalist arriving ahead of police and his partner for the day, reporter Carlos Atwell,” the newspaper reported.

“It was while responding to the initial report about James that the police came upon Griffith's body,” the Nation story said.

Yesterday, Griffith's colleagues at the Nation paid tribute to him.

“The mere thought that one of our own, young photo journalist Christoff Griffith, was killed so tragically while on assignment is beyond belief, even though we are all aware of the risk to our journalists and photographers as they go after the news,” the newspaper reported Nation Group CEO Noel R Wood as saying.

“We are saddened that we have lost such a young, bright spark, who was an asset to this organisation. While we mourn his loss, let us also remember the light that shone when he was among us.”

Nation Executive Editor Carol Martindale said “This young photojournalist was someone with a zest for life, one who took pride in his work, especially when he captured a great photograph. He was always eager to learn and his strength lay in his feature photographs, which were usually published in Easy Magazine.

“Christoff was never disrespectful, even when he was standing firm on a point. He listened, took guidance and at the end of it all was still able to flash his trademark smile. I actually have never seen Christoff get angry, lose his cool, or even get into a quarrel while on the job.

“He was truly a decent young man, a young spark, and definitely an asset to the Nation's newsroom where he worked from 2014. He will surely be missed by us all.”

The newspaper's News Editor Antoinette Connell remembered Griffith as “The baby-faced young man who came into the Nation's newsroom in 2014“ and who, in a few short years, “grew into a confident photographer capable of empathising with the people he met in the course of his duties”.

“As he grew, Christoff recognised the importance of his job and the impact he could have on the lives of those who were the focus of his assignments. He made sure to be professional while on the job.

“On the personal side, he was sometimes playful in his approach but never disrespectful, a trait for which many often commended him.

“When things went wrong, depending on who was at fault, Christoff took the criticism in stride or respectfully stood his ground in such a way that one had to relent,” Connell said.

Nation Associate Editor Maria Bradshaw described Griffith as “a quiet, unassuming and respectful young man who took pride in his photography. He found his niche doing photography in entertainment and features, mainly because he was a nocturnal being. We at the Nation knew not to rely on him during the morning period because, most likely, he was asleep.

“He was a very humble person who preferred to remain in the background most times. He was never one to rush to a scene and that is why his death is so shocking to those of us who knew him. He will definitely be missed,” said Bradshaw.

On Monday, the Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM) condemned the murders “and all other ruthless forms of attacks on journalists and the media throughout the world”.

“This incident highlights the vulnerability of media professionals and calls for greater vigilance by all when out in the field,” the ACM said.

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