Letters & Opinion

A Horrendous Display on Television

I sat there totally flabbergasted, bewildered, disgusted and enlightened simultaneously. The first 17 minutes was a continuation of the absolute onslaught which had been unleashed by the Prince of Righteousness and paragon of all virtue, independent, turned U.W.P. turned Labour’s crusader of the truth and champion of a forgetful people “Richard Frederick”. His echo and by far my favourite comedian/talk show host Christopher Hunte continued the blitzkrieg on the character of a man who walks around with a cloak of journalistic pedigree, Mr. Unsolved Mysteries himself Dale Elliott.

For the first half of the politically incorrect programme my lower jaw remained half suspended as sentence after sentence dug away at Elliott’s character. My collective conscience doubled back to whether I had ever read anything political that Elliott had said or written in the past few years and I drew a blank. Why then the attacks? Before my inbox could ping with the answer I knew from the utterances from Mr. Hunte that Choice TV had opened themselves to be sued for a pretty penny. The content was not just filthy to the viewers but a horrendous display of what should never be allowed on local television.

Again my attention dichotomized into who was the messenger? What was the message? Who was the target? What were his crimes? And what was the substantive case which was being tried in the court of public opinion?

Who was the messenger? Christopher Hunte has for the past 20 years been associated with the St Lucia Labour Party, after all his birth certificate is stamped red. During the last reign of the Labour Government Chris was the untidy version of Jadia, Lorne and Pip combined. He served as the “con salt tont” in the Ministry of Creative Industries where half his work was done to promote local artiste and his 8-4 was dedicated to promoting the agenda of “De Party” and that he did marvelously. He ensured us that Labour supporters were never short of satire and comedy associated with the then opposition. Naturally such a creative mind armed with the government’s creative industries budget and Labour’s backing ensured his closest editors, cartoon animation specialists and videographers created content for Choice TV. During the comedic era not once did I hear a whisper from Stephenson King and his opposition horsemen; Christopher Hunte lived and reigned with impunity.

Monday’s message – that Dale Elliott a “con salt tont” hired by the government of St Lucia had fraudulently albeit exorbitantly billed tax payers for producing a 1 hour documentary over a 6 day period and charged $50,000. This message was delivered in spectacular fashion using the Queen’s vocabulary, local vernacular and endless je te par wall, but boy did these truth-strained claims hit home.

Who was the target? Truth be told I am an “Untold Stories” junkie I don’t miss the premiere of any show and I even feast on the repeats. The host/producer a man I dub “super-neat”, seems well researched, structural in questioning and delivery and for the most part fearless in the presentation of all the episodes I have watched thus far. Over the years I have recognized the improvement in his picture quality and production style and I genuinely can’t find a worthy adversary for his work locally or regionally. As much as I admire the guy’s work, drama seems magnetically connected to his name. In the political arena I can’t say that I have associated Elliott with the “hack” syndrome suffered by some other talk show hosts. Dale transitioned from the auto parts business into journalism and after the fact I am finding out that the man is also an award winning businessman with multiple investment portfolios.

What was his crime? Well by no stretch of the imagination is billing the government for your services a crime. It is left up to said government to determine whether the fees charged are in keeping with industry standards and to accept the said proposition or not. Dale allegedly billed $50,000 for a one hour film on the new government’s “first 100 daze” in office. I managed to stomach the entire flick and well past all the soaps and maypwe, producing this film in the 6 days that Hunte claims is amazing if not impossible.

I know nothing of recording, people and making movies but what my cable TV showed was a journey of 100 days by the new government. This afternoon I took my indiscreetness and I called the television stations to ask about the cost of such a production and both HTS and DBS pointed me to a company in Sans Soucis who quoted an industry standard price of $1000 per minute. After laughing my surprised belly off, I called Accela marketing who quoted me $40,000 plus VAT for such a production. Honestly, I have never seen their work but I have seen Elliott’s. I am from Gros Islet and I went to the cinema to watch his film about the lost fishermen and the guy may be everything under the sun but he is a talented producer. Was his price too high? Well if I was paying, hell yeah; if I was the contracting agency and if he was the most suitably qualified person, he would have my nod of approval. Was there a crime? Absolutely not!

Now onto the public opinion; what is the history between these two men which would cause Elliott, a man fixed within his own primetime slot to call a talk show and break out into a gutter fist fight over the phone? Well consider this, human beings guard three things jealously their young, their reputation and their money. If I was being assaulted unfairly in the press for weeks with each attack armed with more untruths than the last I would retaliate. I would come out with all my documents and defend my reputation. I would fight back by researching my tormentors and bullies by digging their skeletons like Dale did to Hunte. I would file a substantial law suit against Choice TV to set a precedence that this sort of gutter attack on people’s character should never occur in St Lucia on this level again. Or perhaps I would walk away and do nothing knowing that no matter what you do there are those who will malign you to satisfy their own character assassination fetishes.

By 2 p.m I was disgusted with both Hunte and Elliott. I couldn’t help imagine how the leader of the St Lucia Labour Party must be feeling knowing that these acts are committed in his and his party’s name. As we celebrate our 38th anniversary of independence is this what we really mean by “I am St Lucia?”

–Primus M. Modeste

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