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Threatened Trinidad Journalist Returns Home

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Mark Bassant

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. July 24, 2014: Some two months after receiving death threats that forced him to flee the country, Trinidad and Tobago senior investigative TV journalist, Mark Bassant, has returned home.

Bassant, in an exclusive interview with the International Press Institute (IPI) of Vienna said he has returned to T&T despite the continued existence of a threat against his life.

“I decided to come to Trinidad because I did not want them to win,” he was quoted by IPI as saying. “I wanted to take back my life and do what I do best for the people of Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean.”

Although the case is still being investigated, he said, he made the even-tougher decision to return home and continue to expose issues of public interest, such as alleged corruption within government agencies and criminal activities taking place in the twin-island nation.

Bassant, a reporter of the Caribbean Communications Network, Channel 6 (CCN TV6), left Trinidad in May after he received a number of confirmed threats following  the ambush and murder of senior prosecutor, Dana Seetahal.

On May 22nd, Bassant released a video through his television network stating that he had received a call earlier that month from what he called “a very reliable underworld source” advising that criminal entities wanted to harm him.

Later that same week following the initial threat, Bassant said, he met with another source who confirmed face-to-face that a €2,000-hit had been ordered against him.

Bassant reported the threat to a member of the national security services, who reportedly confirmed that the threat was imminent and advised him to arrange around-the-clock security.

Bassant told IPI since returning home he has not received any additional threats since his return, but he said that he remains vigilant.

“I remain kind of guarded,” he was quoted as saying. “But I have security with me at all times. Some of the things I am working on, I have to be very cautious.”

IPI Press Freedom Adviser for Latin America and the Caribbean Vanessa I. Garnica called on authorities to continue pursuing the investigation.