The Editor: In spite of the valiant attempts by Clinton Reynolds -who I must admit has gone up a few notches in my estimation by standing up to the Labour Party – the media has been largely silent on the state of affairs in this country. I listened online to the UWP Political Leader’s speech at the Gros Islet public meeting on Sunday and many things struck me. Although this speech never mentioned the media, it is truly shocking that never has the economy been worse, never has the island’s reputation been more sullied and never have our people been more desperate and yet the media continue to give Kenny Anthony a free pass. I understand about the limitations of resources of small media houses and that it is very difficult to have true investigative journalists to provide detailed reports to us on the issues. I understand that many of our reporters are not trained in journalism and that media houses are hard pressed to even find and then to afford qualified ones. I understand about the threats and intimidation that they face when they report on anything which shows the government in a bad light. Who does not feel sorry for poor Tim? And what did he really do to deserve that blow he was dealt?
But that said, with the unprecedented levels of unemployment, suicides, business closures and general feeling of hopelessness amongst our population, now at historical levels, one would have thought that the media would feel a sense of obligation to report the facts to us. Week after week figures are released to us by various government departments and bodies yet even when the facts on the ground don’t ring true, the media doesn’t probe any further or suggest that they could be incorrect. How can the tourism figures be correct when our industry and simultaneously our economy are declining? How can the economy be on the rebound when there is not one single initiative or policy which we can point to which has been an engine for growth and in fact, quite the opposite. When Kenny suggested that VAT would be more fair and equitable and would help the government better manage the economy, where was the media to point out that it in fact destroyed or economy?
Where is the media when our Prime Minister publicly and repeatedly threatens a successful businessman and his entire family for the crime of offering himself up for public service? Where is the media when Philip Pierre boasts of his record of accomplishment serving the people of Castries East and in fact they are living in more squalor then ever before? Why did it take Fortuna Belrose to invite the media to accompany her on a walkabout of the constituency for us to get a glimpse of the abysmal conditions in which those people are being forced to live? Where was the media to demand that we be given a copy of the IMPACS report? Where is the media when justice is repeatedly denied to the poor – and incidentally to UWP claimants? Not a word not a word not a word as Rick Wayne always says. I often disagree with him and sometimes he focuses on issues which are pressing to him but not always those which resonate with the public but I have to give him credit for not being afraid to speak his mind. The rest of the media appear either disinterested or worse, victims of an oppressive administration. And if the media is not going to do its job to protect our interests through fear, then ultimately they will have to bear the responsibility for another five or more years of tyranny. But by then, odds are that we won’t have any semblance of a free press at all.
– Media Watcher