PM following predecessors

By Raffique Shah
March 30, 2013

Raffique ShahIF THERE was anything surprising about the Prime Minister’s frontal assault on the media and journalists, it was the expression of hurt and outrage emanating from the nation’s newsrooms. Really, people, I cannot believe you were shocked when the PM labelled us “rogues”.

If anything, Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s declaration of war took a long time in coming—almost three years. Fellow scribes, be thankful for the lengthy grace period, be grateful that the lady wined and dined you lavishly before she turned on you.

It was bound to happen. Every politician who has tasted power, and many who counted for little, has gone to war with the media. If they didn’t, that would signal that journalists were not doing their jobs, that they were too busy prostrating to power to do their duty to country. For journalists, that duty, besides accurately reporting the news, is to probe important issues that affect the society and voice or write their findings without fear or favour. The columnist comments on issues in like manner, albeit from his own perspective.

As someone who has been on different sides of the divide—mutineer, rebel, unionist, politician, reporter, editor, columnist—I feel eminently qualified and sufficiently experienced to advise my colleagues, in particular younger journalists, on how to respond to such attacks. Ignore them. Oh, I know it’s difficult to do that, especially when you are targeted by name, and when you know you did nothing wrong. I felt that way once upon a time: I returned fire with stinging verbal fusillades that left my attackers cowering.

As I matured, though, I realised it was better to ignore them, to leave them to wallow in their ignorance, to bask in power that they never believe is transient. In any event, I reasoned, if I have my say as a commentator, others must have the right to disagree with me, to tear me to shreds if they so wish. It is why I never respond to reader-comments on my column.

It could be unnerving when one is targeted by a minister, or worse, by a prime minister. Young reporters need to know that this Prime Minister is not the first to have trained her guns on the media, and they are not the first targets. Persad-Bissessar is merely following in the footsteps of all her predecessors.

Even before he came to power in 1956, Dr Eric Williams engaged the powerful Trinidad Guardian in a bitter war that saw him burn copies of the newspaper in Woodford Square to the delight of throngs of supporters. The Guardian had taken a position against Williams, who was gaining popularity and would soon form the PNM, branding him a communist.

Ironically, ten years later, the Guardian stoutly defended Williams when he faced strong opposition from leftist trade unionists and Black Power advocates. By 1970, Williams had declared war against the newly-launched Express, accusing it of harbouring radicals and fomenting revolution. Writers like Owen Baptiste, Earl Lovelace and Wally Look Lai upset “de doctah”.

On February 18, 1975, I became the first victim of government censorship of the State-owned media houses when my voice and image were banned from Radio 610 and Trinidad and Tobago Television. Within days, Jimmy Bain, acting on orders from Williams, extended the ban to include George Weekes and Basdeo Panday. Journalists at these media houses who protested this infringement of freedom of the press felt the mailed fist of the PNM Government. Raoul Pantin, Jerome Rampersad and Eric’s brother Tony Williams were summarily fired.

Waging war against a robust media is almost a pastime for politicians in power. George Chambers, who succeeded Williams in 1981, was one of the simplest prime ministers this country has known. Yet, on the eve of the 1986 destruction of the PNM, under stress, he vented his anger on the press. A television crew had gone to cover a PNM meeting in Arima. Chambers, no doubt sensing the turn of the tide, launched a tirade against the media and the crew. Supporters turned on the journalists who had to flee for their lives.

Ray Robinson embraced the media during the heady days of the NAR landslide victory in 1986. I think he was the first PM to host a reception at the official residence for editors and senior reporters, which I attended. Shortly afterwards, the split between Robinson and Panday occurred and the media wrote extensively on it. I had personal experience (as an editor) of Robbie “turning beast” during that fallout.

The trend would continue with Panday and Patrick Manning. In Panday’s case, he once telephoned a Guardian reporter to castigate him over a story he had written that the PM found offensive. Years later, Manning would “drop in” at a radio station to register his displeasure with some report. Panday’s viciousness towards journalists he deemed hostile to the UNC took some nasty turns, with his supporters turning on reporters, similar to what had occurred under Chambers. Both Manning and Panday attacked the media at mass meetings.

Besides targeting editors and reporters, governments have waged war against media houses using the power of state-advertising dollars. Advertising revenue is critical to the success of all arms of the media, and Government and State enterprises are among the biggest advertisers. I can say with authority that every government, at some point, has withheld advertising from media houses that they deemed hostile to their parties. By extension, they shower dollars on newspapers or stations they see as friendly.

So Kamla branding reporters and commentators “rogues”, and her ministers joining in the bullying, should not surprise or anger journalists. It’s par for the political course. Her ranting would intensify as the prospect of power slipping from her hands grows. The worst is yet to come.

20 Responses to “PM following predecessors”


  • As I recall, the PM referred to some “rogues” within the profession. This article by Shah gives the impression that the PM described all journalists as rogues.
    Herein lies the problem, another journalist generalizing.

    • TMan, when one Minister is criticised, it is considered an attack on the Government. (i.e. M.P’s, Ministers, the Cabinet and Senators). So when ‘some’ journalists are described as ‘rogues,’ it is an attack on the entire media, and we all know who comprise ‘the media.’
      It is not really a problem.

  • “The test of democracy is freedom of criticism.” David Ben-Gurion

    Just like Barrack Obama , I likewise, had a useless bum for a father , who as a typical , self hating , post slavery Afrikan ,fathered too many kids , and took care of few ,if any. From my birth , to his death , when I was around 25, he did not give me , or anyone connected with my upbringing ,as much as $TT20:00,to aid my development.
    However ,what I got for at least a year , starting from the age of 10,were ,two newspapers daily, of both the Express, and TRinidad Guardian. Thanks very much ,you repugnant creature ,for planting the seeds,of my love for the media, and more importantly , by your selfish life , made me into a better father ,eventually.
    I did not grow up with a TV in my home ,like my own kids eventually did. As such ,all up to the age of 16 ,just like many kids in my poor neighborhood , I would visit the homes of the more fortunate , to view their television. I fell in love with the radio, especially ,Short wave radio, and thanks to it , I develoed a passion for global issues, outside the narrow prison called T&T.
    My day would begin , and end with Radio China, Australia , BBC, Voice of America, Radio Russia, Radio Dutch welle , Radio France International, Radio Canada, Radio Netherlands,Radio Cuba,and now the seemingly extinct ,Radio Antilles. Thank you very much UN ,for eventually providing a home , for over two decades, where I could serve a wider global community- due to this initial love.

    As to the direct subjec at hand , let me say the following:-I see where you are heading, in terms of leaders ,and their penchant to get drunk with power, and so when all else seem to fail,tend to succumb to those ugly habits of trying to demonize members of the 4 th Estate-as they blame de messenger as it were.
    Maybe I am wrong when I conclude that when it comes to assaults on democratic freedoms,there is only one person this PM , can emulate in T&T, and that is her sole mentor ,Papa Basdeo.
    Oh by the way, ‘poor, poor ,Cro Cor, and Sugar aloes,’ dem boys say they wish they had learned to bowl spin ,just like Dr. Chalkie, as they both are now planning to plant peas in TOco , and Maracas, for survival.They , just like the late Mystic Prowler , simply picked the wrong PM to attack.
    Seriously Uncle Shah,a few , much wiser than yours truly ,might dare say that accusing PNM leaders of media abuses, is tantamount to blaming Tobago’s ‘aah weee bouy ,ANR Robinson ,’for the 1990 Coup, by Abu Bkar, and his pro Islamist goons,Si?
    Is it any different to self serving , suspect intellectuals , who grumbled that Tobagonians , as a whole , are racist bums,who hate their Indo Trini Brothers , and sisters , because an over zealous ,low level politician in the Island ward , made an unfortunate comment, prior to a useless THA election,and they subsequently ,repudiated the PP overtures?
    Some might correctly point out that our present Minister of Culture’s claim to fame , was not his popular ,” little blackboy,’ditty, but really ,de ever popular,’Captain de ship is sinking,’and don’t forget ,Mighty Trini, our Arab Kaisonian brother , called Chambers ,duncey in song, to national laughter ,all because our country’s 2nd PM , didn’t go to Oxford, like Eric,but got his accountant degree ,via some correspondence course , and yet ,no one went to court to stop them, did they?
    The record would also show that Robbie was accused of being a vindictive ,self serving , anti police ,Gonian, who deserved to be shot , by criminals ,but he took it all in stride , served with dignity , as a true democrat should,both as our PM! Then President, no?
    Oh , by the way , to prove that a man , truly has no honor in his own country- a global respected legal fellow/ statesman, who help formulate an international tribunal, to prosecute genocidal maniacs, and similar war criminals.
    So irony ,of ironies, two decades after he nearly lost his life , our T&T , cannot even get an authentic fact finding body / Commission , to decipher the truth ,as to what took place on that fateful day, but his tribunals ,are bringing solace to troubled souls ,who were victims of barbarian atrocities , as part of overall , post conflicts resolution, mechanisms- go figure!
    Least we forget ,since the young geologist ,made his entrance into politics , Manning was lambasted across the media , first as an upstart Parliamentary Secretary ,,then eventually a clueless , insecure ,Eric Williams wannabe, and crooked ,arrogant ,out of touch ,phony Christian, but I ain’t see him place any calls to his lawyers , which most likely were on speed dial, Si?
    As for Eric Williams , his nemeses from Chalkdust to , well… Whome ever, they called him defy, an egomaniac , self hating , imperialist, dictator . Some even came close to overthrowing his government, and even lived to tell the tale, no?
    As a matter of fact , I became a full fledge ,animal rights , Veganist, due to the sterling work ,way back , when I was a kid, via his radio programs , by a buddy of yours , in former lieutenant , Rex Lassale. Thank you very much Dr Williams.
    I would like to think that my passion for alternative media , came about , due to the yeoman task ,done by a vibrant Bomb, and T&T Mirror Editor , along with his independent minded photographer , in Kieth Shepherd . Thank you very much Pat Chokolingo , for challenging main stream media gurus , and giving us Uncle Shah-a true voice of the people.
    These are very trying times, both for our politicians, and people as whole. Unseating a regime , and entrenched, popular male leaders ,who held political serve for such a long time , is quite a challenge- especially in a patriarchical society such as ours.
    We wish our PM well, and may our media continue to be the light that shine into the dark recesses of our society.
    The democratic ideals , to which we aspire , as a nation,deserves no less.
    Good job , as per usual ,Uncle Shah!
    Ain’t life beautiful?’ Me think ,’so!

  • Some reporters have a way of working around the news, in other words promoting distortion e.g. the Prime Minister actually stated, “it should not be construed as an attack on the media” and “we want no war with the media”, but that was not printed. Instead the headlines read “Rogue elements in the Media”. The PM herself also spoke about “taking the practice of reporting to newer heights” and of the “importance of the Fourth Estate”. The news that sell are at most times promotes controversy, creates sensationalism and can be quoted and accentuated to higher platforms e.g. parliament. The same thing can be said about the Rolls Royce ownership with Ramlogan, The US agencies seeking some answers through co-operation with Warner’s son and the Anil Robert’s, his PS and the Boxing Board fiasco. Compare these to standing in Woodford square and lighting ablaze a copy of the Trinidad Guardian. The snare that some of the ‘journalists’use is no different when Panday and Manning were snared through their petulant responses. That’s a separate story. There is a blog by Robin Montano which proved to be of interesting reading related to this topic. http://www.robinmontano.blogspot.ca/ Last month, IPI published a comprehensive report on criminal defamation laws in the Caribbean. IPI found that all 16 independent states in the Caribbean maintain some form of criminalised defamation and that six–Antigua and Barbuda, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Haiti, and Suriname had recently used these to prosecute journalists. Two journalists were sentenced to prison in the Dominican Republic for libel in 2012 alone. Jornalists in T&T, please take note and desist from the entrusting of agendas on the population at large. Let the people decide through honest reporting.

    • “Without an unfettered press, without liberty of speech, all of the outward forms and structures of free institutions are a sham, a pretense — the sheerest mockery. If the press is not free; if speech is not independent and untrammeled; if the mind is shackled or made impotent through fear, it makes no difference under what form of government you live, you are a subject and not a citizen.”
      William E. Borah

      “Journalist in T&T , please take note and desist from entrusting of agenda son the population at large.Let the people decide through honest reporting.”Loyal Trini

      Translation , everyone in the media , should be , just like ‘one ah wee, high end eat a fooder ,’in former journalist ,turn PP spokesman,UNcle AJ, and so ,citizens should lay back , and take this ,while our spin doctors ,decides what’s palatable ,news worthy information,for de gullible Trini public at large , huh buddy?

      So in essence , ‘you Allzs,’subscribe to the tested, and tried,mass media – sociological ,’class-dominant theory ,’ which states that,”…the media reflects and projects the view of a minority elite,which controls it, huh?
      You folks naively think that you control T&T , simply because you are presently in de political driving seat, or are an economic force , garnered , you should recall, directly under Afrikan-Trinis-benevolent rule , or have a more distinctive , cohesive culture , since you escaped , savage white Massa , dehumanizing slavery,Si?

      http://www.cliffsnotes.com/study_guide/The-Role-and-Influence-of-Mass-Media.topicArticleId-26957,articleId-26946.html

      I am sorry to disappoint you Loyal Trini ,but this ain’t how progressive democratic values ,as extended to us , by our Founding Papa , Dr Eric Williams , and like minded, cross tribal blokes.
      The ideal remains , that the people decides .Por ejemplo , Uncle Shah/ Pat Chokolongo’s Bomb,Blast ,T&T mirror – and just for argument sake -we can throw in de Punch , did not survive this long , because they simply pandered to the powers that be , neither should any of our media entireties , during this not too sly , national assault on democratic freedoms.

      http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Herman%20/DemocraticMedia_Herman.html

      Here is a example Loyal Trini , of our rich T&T ,democratic traditions, at work for your edification. Many moons ago,I was once an insignificant ,short pants Police working under our eventual Commissioner of Police ,Kenny Mohammed( at the time a superintendent.
      As part of my job , I would scan the daily newspapers, and look for articles that were unfavorable to our Service / critical about police actions.
      These would be placed in a folder, along with a typed memo, which would be forwarded to my Superintendent , who would then direct one of his mid level underlings , to take action/ investigate the veracity of complaint, and finally appropriate actions taken. The lesson was never lost , on my young impressionable mind.
      Here is a win/ win scenario Loyal Trini, and I ain’t changing – thank you vey much for nada! Tell dem leaders, and policy wonks , to follow this example, as oppose to having ardent fans like yourself ,misguided , closet European T-Man, and de simi intelligent , unmentionable ,Mayayo lifetime drunk , try to sell us ….. Well, even you, are smart enough to fill in de blanks , as to where I am heading with this, Si?
      It is not too much of a secret to say that my holiday adoring , fun luving fellow Trini citizens , often times , don’t give a hoot , of GoodFriday , falls on a Monday. Nevertheless ,any foolhardy attempts at social manipulations,media strangulation,feel good escapism ,political distractions, and micro management of every sector of our conflicted /crime laden -psychologically tramatized nation,ain’t going to work long term,Loyal Trini.Neyet , non, no, never!
      Not in my T&T- an extremely literate , and free society. Oh , and by de way , they did not just evolve to this state , starting 3 years ago , hmmmm?
      Tell dem for me people , that de man ,woman , or even child , who can make me hate , my underachieving , yet wonderful country , with it’s myriad of mostly peaceful ,cross tribal citizens,yes, … Ain’t born yet!
      Ain’t life beautiful? ‘Me think so !’

  • Freedom of the press is vitally important, that means freedom to lie, spread propaganda and generally act like a whore in order to sell newspapers. Trinidad has had it’s share of such mischievous behaviour. Shah was one of five Express reporters who conducted a daily assault on the UNC when Panday was in power? Panday felt the attack was ochestrated by the power hungry Ken Gordon. So in one of his speeches Panday called Gordon a “pseudo racist”. The result was a great stain on Gordon character he sued and was awarded judgment in his favour by the courts, who felt that Express readership dropped considerably due to Panday’s comments. So much for freedom of speech. But was Gordon a pseudo racist and to whom was his pseudo racist behaviour directed at? It is always difficult to prove racism even in the face of such evidence.

    Today’s media types are doing everything to break the story.
    Armchair critics who fail to verify information due to time pressures is now the norm today. So anyone can have their character assassinated by the blazing gun of media excessiveness.
    The government expects balance in reporting and for the most part such balance exist except when the media developes a particular slant and set of biases. It begins in a subtle manner with a set of negative reporting and continues with sensational headlines that shows the government as being inept. Further anti governance commentators are given the opportunity to corroborate stories by sharing their opinions. It is the building of such negative consensus that is used to shaped the public’s opinion. But most intelligent people sees through it immediately.

    • “The government expects balance in reporting and for the most part such balance exist except when the media developes a particular slant and set of biases.” …… Mamoo
      My dear friend, in a democracy, which I’m sure you heartfully believe we have in sweet T&T, it does not matter what the government thinks as far as the media reporting of the news is concerned. If the government has a problem with the news presented in the media, then it has a right to retort and present the facts as they stand to truth and have the media correct. But if it is only a “feeling” the govt has that the media should favour them, then tough luck! The media have a right to present the news as they best understand it. The barometer by which we measure the quality of news MUST always be by the presentation of facts. If one is inclined to believe any and everything the government broadcasts, writes or propagate, then he or she has that right also. In todays world of instant communication, one would be foolish to gather news from one source. Information has become multiple-choice and if we chase for the truth we will qlways find it. Just saying the media is biased will not cut it. Show me how biased the media is by presenting facts, not opinions. During the last general election there were several and many erroneous presentations written about the government of the day but they never challenged them. They were fools not to have challenged and presented alternative facts and suffered by allowing what was written be the principles of the day. We just cannot say the media is wrong, we have to show that they are wrong. The one thing I would agree with is that we do not have the brightest minds in the media, too many times have I seen where they missed out on opportunities to getting the “meat” of the story and because of this the reports come out being very shallow. But one should never attempt to deprive them of that right, least of all a government in power. If Kamla wants us to believe that there are “rogues” in the media, she should by the same token admit to the glaring fact that there are also “rogues” in her cabinet.

      • “If the government has a problem with the news presented in the media, then it has a right to retort and present the facts as they stand to truth and have the media correct” Kian

        What you are advocating is the “Singapore model”. In Singapore if the media present a false view of governance then under their law the media have to provide space to the politician to respond to that accusation. The right to respond is within their law. Since politicians do not own newspaper Kian, I think that would be the better way forward, great idea.

  • My position on this is different. I favour no party; I favour no politician or Minister.
    When someone decides to get into politics, they should realize that they have now become public figures. Everything you say and do is scrutinized or critiqued. You are an employee of the people and as such your bosses have a right to comment on your conduct. If a politician makes a wrong turn while in office, there is nothing the people who voted for him can do to remove him; they can only talk. That is their only weapon. The public has to wait until such time that the next election is called, and if they remember, then they can do something. The media is the voice of the people.

    What would have gone unnoticed the day before election is now news. Politicians want to have their cake and eat it too. In T&T politicians are royalty, so they should face the music and stop whining. Even in private life, everybody is not going to like you.

    It is worse in the US. Sometimes an entire network is on your case. There is a certain “Talk Show” host with a five-day a week radio program, who is committed to lambasting every Democratic president for their entire term in office, and he is getting very rich by doing it.

    I might be wrong and there might be room for argument, but that is my story and I am sticking to it.

  • What do you know Cuz Frontsman is a political, and has absolutely nada obligation, or adoration for any party, politician ,or Minister ! Ain’t certain. how practical such is in T&T, but all I can say is ,good for you ,mi amigo!
    You are not totally wrong Frontman, especially as you throw a monkey wrench- as it were-into that public Democratic,& free/ objective media fascard ,that is often perpetuated in America.
    Here is where folks in the sole remaining Superpower/ Global hegemon ,have de edge on us, in La Trinity .
    Any one , with means ,and so inclined , is free to likewise ,do the complete opposite , and have their own forums, and or , rabid , subjective media fronts, to push contrarian ideological data, spin, or whatever they chose to call it.
    Approximately two decades or more ago, we had two radio stations, 610 , and Radio Trinidad, as well as one national TV operation, called TTT? When it was still unpopular , Lord Superior ,fought like a wounded lioness , to get a Kaiso/ Steel pan radio outlet,to further promote for listening audience ,our nationally disparaged art form?
    Fast forward to 2013, and we have what appear as , 1050, of both, and all we are forced fed daily ,are Joseph Umbala daily rants , as to why no other failed ,Afrikan business, can evolve in T&T , to rival his ,and Max Sendhouse, which died decades ago.
    We are also subjected to unsavory , often comedic ,talking heads escapisms ,on one end of the spectrum, or self loathing diatribes , by a still babbling Morgan Job, who think that another sensible , educated Afrikan,cannot be found in T&T , besides himself .
    How about pro religious fanatic, in Sat MAraj , whose occasional tribal inflammatory musings ,can make closet racist , American televangelist ,Pat Robinson ,look like de peaceful Tibetan Buddhist, Dahlia Lama , when compared.
    Worst yet , are those too numerous ,brainless, fake Yankees , and Yardee wannabes DJ’s ,that dominate the airwaves, devoid of a coherent thought ,beyond Nicky Manaj rear size, or de whining queen Saucy’s ,chest width, or worst yet ,pending jail time of Busy Signal, or Bleaching dance hall guru, Vyze Kartel.
    Don’t forget , they are all competing for air time , with desperate , sometimes insecure politicians ,as they in turn strive’s to see who can do a better job of running our country ,not today , but 3 years hence.
    De irony should not escape even you ,an apolitical creature ,as you claim to be Fronstman, and here it is.
    Soca Music is now demonized , daily for every ill of our society ,even by lofty intellectuals , and other self serving ,so called civic leaders, who can drive on the Priority BusRoute ,in million dollar ,foreign made cars, and yes, scoff, at lower class kids, stuck in the bottomless pits,of social despair, unable to enjoy some of the same , much desired social privileges, extended to their own.Go figure!
    Ooops by de way , not a word about any alleged ,negative impact of Chutney Soca, hummmm Friontsman? Ras Shorty I , must be turning over in his grave, for without Indo -Trini culture , there would be no Soca, and ain’t Chutney Soca, anything more than Hindi , Urdu, and Bengali, intersperse with some soul, Dominican Kasas ,and Kaiso?
    Thanks , Kamal , and Sham Mohammed , for also helping to expand our Callalloo culture , Ras Shorty/ Maestro,styled.”Ah go stay single till a dead, “and gee me a bottle ah rum ,eeeeh KI?

    On a more serious note- as if I weren’t all along- the job of media organization, remain’s a global challenge today.The nature of the beast requires some form of compromise , and tight rope maneuvering – be it the reporters/ journalist on the ground, their editors, owners, or the finance department , that need’s those vital subscribing/ advertisement ,business revenues ,coming in, at a steady rate.
    Least we forget ,true democracy , under our political system , requires action beyond the polls , on Election Day ,by citizens. Call them advocates,/activist, lobbyist, entertainers, politicians , researchers, inventors, regular citizens , business corporations, PR firms , political handlers, we all use , and depend on the media ,to help enhance/ promote our self interest.
    It’s a two way struggle, for both recipient , and information pushers.
    My the truth prevail, and our society advance!

  • It is interesting how people see see, hear and read things. TMan, Mamoo and loyaltrini at least agree with the PM that there are “some rogues” in the media. Mamoo also went on to to state that some writers use that freedom incorrectly. Well! well! well! again they see how people mis-label the government but I am yet to read or learn how they feel about how they government mis-label and libel ordinary citizens without even apologizing. For starters, let us refer to the SOE (the famous soe), the government gave different and varied stories as to why that move was necessary, yet over four thousand people were rounded up, arrested, put in jail and yet to be charged with a crime. So, we dont know why the soe was called, we dont know why the people were locked up and we dont know what evidence the government collected on them but we know that they we all let go and no charges we placed against them. What is the relationship you might ask? Ok! good! I’ll tell you. The Press has the freedom to report on all matters that are important and unimportant. They report for our pleasure, information, knowledge, to keep us apprised and matters both local and foreign, matters of interest that some might love, some might criticize, some might hate and some might even find to be false. But it is our prerogative to determine for ourselves if we want to believe, discard or propagate the information that the Press feel is its responsibility to impart. The Press is NO part of government and it is sometimes referred to as the fourth estate because they have a responsibility to inform the listening, reading, seeing public what it thinks is necessary for us to know, that is their right! They were NOT elected, nominated or directed to inform us. But the government is another matter. They were ‘elected’ to represent us by way of ward, county, district or whatever demarkation line might be used for the sake of governing and using ‘truth’ as a watchword to inform us. What do we find in this government. Members of government go into parliament, knowing fully well they are not telling us the and the nation about private citizens lives and what they may or may not be, yet our goodly government parliamentarians take advantage of their privileges (in parliament) to chastise, warn, torment, disenfranchise and render ordinary citizens persona non-grata. Only because they have the power to do it without having to be called upon to be responsible for their own actions whilst the citizen have no recourse but to listen to hear their names being dragged in the mud by elected officials. Is that democracy? is that fair? is that honest representation? is that decent behavior?
    The answer to all those questions by a fair-minded reader is almost certain to be NO! Now, these same individuals (government parliamentarians) are furious they we have “rogue elements” in the media. We also should not have “rogue parliamentarians” but we do and they are many and do not hide their arrogance, bombardment, their power and their privilege to do whatever they want, and yet, they demand respect! What gall?, what outright foolishness?, what abuse? Is that democracy? Is that what we must expect from people we elect to represent us? Yes, there are people who have no problem ignoring this kind of crap behaviour from our MPs but I am not one of them and so do many decent citizens. Democracy is NOT a spectator sport and as citizens who watch with amazement the kind of abuse by government that is caste at ordinary citizens, we ought to be vigilant about our democracy, because if we allow ‘some’ to abuse it, then by extension we are encouraging bad behaviour by government. Wrong is wrong and right is right! It does not matter who is doing it. When you bypass and allow mis-management by people who already abuse the powers they already have, it is wrong to use any medium to to either encourage or sanction bad behavior. Whatever happened to those who were “supposedly” plotting to overthrow and kill or beloved PM? We learn that they were locked up up, reported to be infidels, not charged and released! Where is the justice? where is the crime? where is the system to protect the PM and the “infidels”? Therein lies our dilemma! As long as government is for, by and of the people we will have no faltering of our democratic principles. We would stand upright and proud of our existence, creed, principles and way of life. When governments sanctions “short cuts” to those ideals then we are destined to fall by the wayside. How can we have faith, keep faith and propagate faith when we have those who have to exercise their leadership upon us have questionable characteristics, past and lives that most decent citizens abhor? Is that good governance? The Press have the right to let us know what is happening, even if they do sometimes make mistakes. As long as they correct themselves and let us know that they have erred when such is the case.

    • Actually another SOE might be necessary to deal with the rogue element in certain parts of T&T.The Flying squad was in fact a brilliant idea. It would have terminated the undesireable elements and avoid court costs.
      The fact that no one was charged during the SOE was simply based on a technicality conveniently used by an incompetent DPP, appointed by Manning and favorable to the PNM. Why do you think no charges were laid against Manning? Why do you think that none of the white collar crooks during the Manning administration were never charged?
      Do you really believe that those arrested during the SOE were all innocent, law abiding citizens? Many were re-arrested for committing other crimes and jailed. Some were murdered in gang warfare, as periodically reported by the media, in which you are so much in love these days. I wonder why?
      When you talk about freedom of the press, you should also pontificate on the responsibility of the entire media. With freedom comes responsibility, to quote Obama, from his speech to ghetto fathers who abandonned their kids in the USA.
      You allude to ” principles, way of life and faith” repeatedly with some sort of built in bias, subliminally suggesting that the members of government somehow are different from you and possibly beneath you. Let me remind you that We are all Trinbogonians here with freedom of speech, religion, culture and expression, living in the democracy to which you refer.

      • If you say that i’m in love with the media, it means that you really have not been digesting what I write in the blogs. I dont know of any one else who writes about the incompetence and puerilistic coverage of important events as our local media. They do not ask good and relevant questions to gain significant insights all they do is listen and then write “what he said”. But that does not deny them the right to publish their stories as they see fit. What you and Mamoo are responding to is your sentimental views towards this government which, because of its make up gives you more confidence in yourself. What happened in 2010 does not mean that the population will continue to express themselves that way at the ballot forever. Citizens respond to electing a government based on what is happening at that point and time and how they see it affecting their future. You have a right as anyone else to express your love for the PPP which you always do. If you want to speak about incompetence, you need to look no further than the AG. This DPP, if you are familiar with politics was not Manning’s first choice, he bypassed him in favour of other candidates more than once. But I can assure you that he is the right man, for the right job at the right time. Had it not been for him, our democracy would have been in more shambles than it is right now. We do deny other people their rights because we dont like them, which is what you might be saying in your anti-PNM comments. From your comments, readers can gather that anything PNM is not good in your thinking. Your beliefs in statistics are very strong and feel that any and every remedy should be based on statistical data. But statistics does not explain sentiments. I am sure in 2015 the people would not make the same mistakes as they did in 2010.

  • http://www.trinidadexpress.com/business/Ban-Ki-moon-Region-must-stick-to-UN-goals-200968041.html?m=y&smobile=y&clmob=y&c=n

    Reading the last T-Man commentary , proves without a doubt ,that the debate (as initially placed on the table ,by our Progressive Uncle Shah)has- as expected -degenerated into gutter mentality blabber,or something worst , which I ain’t care to try and help him with , since I am no Sigmund Freud , or worst yet American TV psychoanalyst ,Dr Phil, who might be the only folks,who can help him , and kind ,extricate the multitude of demons, stuck in their twisted souls.
    The undisguised venom/hatred, and or ,contempt this character, and similar minded others , have publicly exhibited via words, deeds ,and actions,towards ‘the other ,’ is ample proof , that T&T , will remain, nothing short of divided , and underdevelop fiefdom ,long into the future.
    Well….., perhaps not, since us caring , progressives, on whose ancestors backs, and spilt blood ,this country was built,won’t allow it- ain’t guys?
    It might simply be fair to say ,that we have beaten this dead horse to a frazzle , and maybe it’s time to move on to more important issues ,that can impact positively our nation , and region as a whole,Si?
    No , I am not talking about giving arrest powers to soldiers, since not even the blind could see ,where unnecessarily tinkering with our laws , via Security Bill Amemdments ,would make anyone safer across T&T.
    ‘Where you at T&T ,’ when it comes to globally projected,UN Millennium goals?Is poverty a concern, and if not , what about female empowerment? Do we care about children protection,and decent health care for those without means?
    It’s three years into PP power, so are you satisfied with the state of basic infrastructure across T&T, or should we still ponder , what dem PNM folks ,who were removed from power, did not do , while they were busy appeasing others , who today ,blame them, for everything ,short of too much rain falling in Maracas Valley, as appose to Central Trinidad?
    Is the precarious jobs situation in T&T , a concern for you , or do you like many ,agree that no Alutrin La Brea smelter plant, rapid rail, or Point Fortin Highway construction project, would have made much of a significant dent,in like manner to abandonment of a Caroni Racing Complex , in favor of alleged houses?
    What’s your take on what appear to be once more ,sudden enthusiasm for embracing , what many much smart than yours truly , perceive to be blatant race politics , even by a cross tribal , Alliance government?
    Do you care , or think this is the way things were always done in your country, and -justifiably so-should remain that way ,long into the future?
    When the chance present’s itself to go to the polls , once more-possibly ,three years hence-would the people who feel disenfranchise , and deprived of a substantial piece of the T&T economic pie , do a Tobago THA voting maneuver , or turn the other cheek, since they ‘like it so?’
    I know many of you coming off this 3 day back to back extravaganza, feel you are on the verge of 1st world status , since you have as much holidays as America,but do you share that feeling, even as numerous citizens ,struggle to keep their heads above the poverty line?

    In ending, let me piggyback what Cuz Kian , has said by also adding the following:- As we look critically at most of our private,public , and quasi state institutions, including political , judicial, and law enforcement , Civil Society, remember that folks that function in them , emanated from our society at large- be they good , bad ,corrupt , incompetent , lazy , uncaring, racist , or indifferent to those they serve.

    Stay vigilant my Trini Nation ,cyber friends. Don’t shy away from developing some empathy for the other. While at it ,appreciate the finer nuances of prudent solidarity ,with progressive elements of our struggling masses.
    More importantly, move beyond self serving whining , narrow complaining , and strive to make a difference,in whatever capacity.
    From my years of socio – political observations , I came to one major conclusions, and that is – smart people’s, and by extension , nations, can emulate others ahead of the game , and extract positive elements ,that can help them progress rapidly.
    Think of the possibilities for a country like ours ,if every citizen can evolve into ardent patriots , like say an Industrial giant USA,economically struggling Jamaica, emerging power Brazil?
    Yes,we have the racial,ethnic, immigrant, class, and historically created colonial burdens , and complexities to grapple with , but a Lil nationalist , patriotic fervor , won’t hurt on bit, as we put T&T first ,always.
    Maybe , this is something our new President Mr Carmona,can bite into , via his various civic engagements, and public utterances ,as he try to guide our nation forward, beyond the narrow parameters of fractious Trini tribal realities.
    I remain an optimist, and ain’t life laden with the potential of being beautiful- particulaly in Rainbow nation? ‘Me think so.’
    Don’t be timid to do what’s necessary ,to ‘keep dem barbarians,from overrunning de Trini pearly gates,’ hummmm?
    Luv humanity!

  • In my opinion, the destiny of the media depends on economic and monetary policies. The media is a forum with a duty to uphold people’s freedom of opinion and freedom of expression. There are countries without freedom of the press doing business in T&T. The media must do more to prevent adult content from falling into the hands of children.

  • To quote a letter writer: I heard the token puppet ,Senator Deyalsingh in Parliament saying that he would much prefer to have the media say untrue things about him rather than run the risk of protesting and have them muzzled. Really! Where was Deyalsingh when his former Prime Minister jumped out of a barber’s chair and rushed down the Highway with police escorts and barged into a radio station with shaving cream still on his face to accost two radio announcers and, subsequently had them fired? Selective and convenient memory — aka Hypocrisy! Thank God most of the people in my country are not that stupid.
    The cries of suupport for the media on this blog appear to equally hypocritical.You are fooling no one. Your primary intention is to attack the PM and the PP government. It is also very interesting to notice how some racists attempt to cover and hide their biases by making accusations against others.You are becoming more and more transparent with every comment.

    • Whilst there are plenty of nonsense written on this blog,it is safe to say that equally impressive is the things we learn only by reading and responding to what others write. I grew up with parents who were not educated but the spoke in a lot of parables which up till today I still remember because they make so much sense. They always tell my siblings and me to “make sense out of nonsense”. Not every one of us is skillful enough to grammatically put our thoughts they we would like others to interpret them, so in many cases we have to decipher the contents to get the gist of what is being said. Others are similarly blatant in their expressions that leaves no deciphering to do. Not because someone does not agree with your political calculations and sentiments mean that they are racist. We have a government that is puerile in its behavior, calculating in hoping for outcome, picky in its staffing, outwardly racist in its policies and practice and overall incompetent in its operations. Yet there are those who see absolutely nothing wrong with that. Because we call ourselves a democracy, we have the right to think of ourselves any way we choose to. We all read the same things in the media, yet we come up with different interpretations. Thats because we each come to the table with different expectations. Those expectations are mainly due to ethnic allegiances, religious beliefs and how we look at others who do not belong to our own social and economic levels. Like I said before my parents fed us with a lot of parables. Many in my district told their children things like “I dont like that nigger”. Yet others may tell them to “stay away from those people”. Making our choices of political affiliation is a very personal thing. A lot might ignore their own best thinking and compromise to take advantage of affiliation because it offers material rewards. While others would rather stay with their own instincts and judgements. Case in point? Sugar Aloes and Cro-Cro. Classic case of compromise and non-compromise. In these cases we are left to “read between the lines” in order to understand what we think it really is. So TMan! can I now ask you to “read between the lines”?

  • Well, we did not hear you complaining when the media was going after the PNM. In fact you were in this same blog cheering them on.

    What has been exposed since the PP came to power, is the stark racism that infests certain cliques in our nation. The carry with them centuries of inbred prejudice that can never be jettisoned, and which influence every aspect of their psyche. It is that we must come to grips with, and then begin to tailor our politics and social activism accordingly.

    It is not by accident that the PPP Government in Guyana makes the same charges against those parts of the media it does not control, including one owned by Portuguese who supported that party during its time in opposition, and the other owned by an Indian who was once one of its staunchest supporter. Like its symbiotic twin in GT, the PP’s activities in Governance can never withstand objective scrutiny, because playing fair and doing the right thing is a concept that is alien to its mindset. Like its two cyber warriors in this blog, they wend their way sideways through life, and through every activity in which they are involved.

  • ” The cries of support for the media on this blog appear to be equally hypocritical.” T-Man
    If memory serves me well, some two bit,- for want of better words- socially confused individual , all be it ,while ‘fronting ,’as a freelance Journalist ,used a social media forum , to spew his distasteful views , about innocent folks,in the Beetham,who were only striving to get some justice ( just like folks in his allegedly more civilized neighborhoods)and yet,even in the face of most of Trini center blogging community condemnations ,this neo tribal ,party hack ,drew the ridiculous conclusion, that most of us,are of the view ,that the entire Trin media institutions ,are above reproach, simply because we today ,had the temerity , to defend their rights to exist, and independently practice their craft , without self serving politicians ,and their gullible minions ,attempting to dictate their daily actions?Go figure!

    http://guardian.co.tt/news/2013-02-25/win-fires-reporter-after-his-racist-talk-cnc3-video

    Please someone , tell T- Man , we know what is ethically sound journalism,or when media blokes ,go overboard , and deserves chiding, which some ,like myself ,won’ hesitate to pull out the symbolic ,’cyber bull pestle, for , where appropriate.
    So,Por ejemplo, when one respected, ‘one time journalist ,’ who spent his entire career ,leading the charge ,as an honest , objective ,4th Estate broker,then miraculously,in de lead up,to a highly contentious,national election,in ever so convenient fashion,’flip de switch,’ on another unpopular party,only to grab a high end job,from the victorious one,two seconds ,after PP’s Auntie K ,was sworn in-using her Bagwas Gita-due to her party’s mammoth ,election victory, we called him out, and will continue to do so ,until he see’s the light,return dem 30 pieces of silver obtained ,repent the errors of his ways, and begin again to represent his profession in a respectable fashion.
    Likewise,when a highly respected,former Political Science Professor-who occasionally moonlight’s as a columnist,for established media houses-attaches his name,to a costly study -which in most intelligent folks estimation -erroneously conclude’s ,that our national music,Soca,is the major contributing factor,in runaway criminality ,that presently plague’s our country , we won’t hesitate to denounce him,for essentially exempting our leaders,from getting their acts together , so as to initiate prudent ,vital policies , as opposed to engaging in escapism ,and blame games, of everyone ,from ET,to Waring San Souci Zandolees ,for our social problems.
    Just for the record, let me add, that we as a collective , ain’t care if he went to Oxford ,with his intellectual contemporary Dr Eric Williams, taught Caribbean Historian ,Dr Walter Rodney ,or self serving big wig lawyers, such as say, AG ,Ramlogan at UWI, and even broke bread with former UWI stalwarts , such as ,Tapia House,head guru Lloyd Best ,or his buddy , Dr Bo Tewari, back in the days.
    We don’t give a hoot , if he naively think’s he is the second comming of Socrates, Thomas Hobbs, or John Lock, or as some believe , might just be ,desperately indulging in prospective ‘eat ah food -pandering ,’ since apparently ,he too want’s a PP job ,just like a desperate , Niccolò Machiavelli did , when he wrote that satirical book -‘ The Prince,’for the benefit of the Medician , new power brokers , of Florence ,Si?
    assume is the ideal relationship between the press, and the government ,under a thriving democracy, in La Trinity .

    The progressive minded , and political astute amongst us ,are fully aware of the challenges, for any new regime in an economically fractious , and ethnically diverse, young Republic like ours ,can be.
    Any new government needs a honeymoon period , to get their missteps/ foibles,out of the way , and not be repeatedly raked over the coals , by what appears as unwarranted assaults, then.
    This regime however, led by a seemingly ,well intentioned leader , were given ,much more than a holiday ,by a patient public, and I dare say ,at times, compliant media.
    Like Barrack Obama ,in much adored ,big brother America,Auntie K too embraced new media ,to full advantage,and so,to dis day,Patrick Manning ,and his buddy,Basdeo,ain’t have a clue , as to what hit them yet-to the same extent,as Political fossil, John Mc Cain did not,in the US,history making,post GW Bush, general election.
    Even with some of his surprisingly early , major accomplishments,but in the face of an inherited ,yet continued ,dreadful recession/ economic crisis , Barrack Obama,did not even ride out his 100 days honeymoon, before those aggressive , and mostly ideological , America media vultures ,started to tear him up,like hungry vultures, at the Beetham dump.
    We didn’t hear,him , or handlers moaning ,like babies with colic , about unfainess, and neither should ‘Her Majestick Queen K,’ her handlers, policy wonks,and ardent fans .
    Just quiet them with results, Auntie K. The people still love you, and trust me when I say , all dem critics – in ,and out of our media -will drop like flies , once they see… well…at this stage of de game , even you ,can fill in de blanks, without much help, Si?

    I love this land!

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