Pastor cries wolf on murder
ROYSTON JONES JR.
Guardian Staff Reporter
Published: May 17, 2013
A prominent pastor yesterday falsified a murder alert in the country via a mass email to the Bahamian press corps.
Pastor Dave Burrows, youth pastor of Bahamas Faith Ministries (BFM) and president of Youth Alive Ministries, issued a press release titled, ‘Breaking News - Murder on Carmichael Road’ shortly before 4 p.m. leading reporters to make a series of calls to police.
Several calls were placed to Assistant Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson and police liaison Inspector Chrislyn Skippings.
The senior police officers said they were not aware of any reports of a murder on New Providence.
When Burrows’ office was called to verify the claim, a woman answered the phone and asked, “Are you calling about the breaking news?”
Burrows, often referred to as ‘the roughneck pastor’, came to the phone and said he was merely seeking to gain the media’s attention regarding a press release he wanted published on the release of a movie.
Superintendent Paul Rolle, head of the Central Detective Unit (CDU), said last night he was surprised by the pastor’s false complaint.
“If someone were to do something like that, I don’t know why a sensible, reasonable thinking individual would want to make a false complaint saying there is a murder,” Rolle said. “Coming from a pastor, I really don’t know what to say.”
Rolle said he did not receive the press release, however, Skippings said she received several calls inquiring about the reported murder.
“It is not acceptable,” Skippings said. “The police force is a professional organization.”
Nassau Guardian Broadcast Editor Juan McCartney, who was also duped by the email, said covering murders is one of the worst parts of a journalist's job and no one should think media houses would relish the news of another violent death.
"Watching the loved ones of those slaughtered on our streets wail after another life has been snuffed out in a violent, senseless act is something we deal with far too often," McCartney said.
"It is an extremely harrowing experience for family, friends, neighbors, police and journalists. These events often take months, and possibly years to get past. It's not something that leaves any room for insensitivity."
Burrows issued a second press release, shortly after the false murder alert.
It highlighted two events involving the release of a movie by Collage Entertainment and Total Youth Church, and a teen seminar at Bahamas Faith Ministries International.
“This movie is a testament to what vision, purpose and character can produce,” the release read.
Burrows told The Nassau Guardian last night in hindsight he realized he had made a mistake, and the murder alert had no “malicious intent”.
“In hindsight, I do understand that,” he said.
“Like I said, I was just at a point of frustration and I just thought that the persons I had sent the email to, would call me back, and I would tell them what the deal was.
“I didn’t think about the rest of it. That didn’t occur to me at the time.”
He added, “There was no malicious intent. Whenever we are doing something positive no one seems to respond.”
He said he sent the press release regarding the events at BFM to the media houses in recent weeks without response, but yesterday everyone responded to the murder alert.
The alert from Burrows came at a time when there continues to be great public concern and alarm over the high murder count in the country. Forty murders have been reported in the country for the year.