Minister Lynch Awarded $60 000
Published on: 10/7/07.
MINISTER OF TOURISM Noel Lynch is today $60 000 richer following his libel settlement with Starcom Network Inc. The suit stemmed from the content of an email read by the moderator of Voice of Barbados’ Brass Tacks on a Sunday programme last March. The email raised questions about Lynch’s alleged current life status. Lynch objected to the question and walked out of the live broadcast. On Friday, Starcom’s chief executive officer Vic Fernandes confirmed the settlement. Fernandes revealed the minister was paid $60 000 while his attorney’s costs were $10 000. The CEO said the station settled the matter as it was advised it had no strong defense. (RG)
Source: Nation Newspaper
BU broke the story about the payment of $65,000.00 which STARCOM Network paid to a well-known politician in Barbados to stave-off a lawsuit. The Barbados Free Press has headlined the news, which was reported in the Nation this morning that the amounts of $60,000.00 and $10,000.00 were paid to Minister Barney Lynch and his lawyer respectively. BU wishes to apologize to the STARCOM Network for getting the payout wrong!
We agree with many of the points that have been written on the BFP blog on this matter, and want to add our ‘tuhpence’ to this important discussion. Visitors to the Barbados Underground blog would have realized by now that we value the contribution of a vibrant Fourth Estate of the Realm which is important to protecting our democracy. As Barbadians and a predominantly black nation, we have become rightly proud of the freedoms which others continually have to shed blood to experience. Current examples are Burma and Darfur. It is against this background that as Barbadians and West Indians, we must all recognize that a democracy is not something which governments are solely responsible. Many other entities in our societies must deliver on their mandates and that includes media houses.
The unwillingness of media houses in Barbados to challenge politicians who are willing to sue for libel at the ‘drop of a hat’ must be challenged. We cannot recollect an occasion when a media house in Barbados went to the law courts to resolve claims submitted by these politicians. We have deliberately singled-out politicians because our source within the media houses has confirmed that they (politicians) have been the main beneficiaries from the ‘slush fund’. This willingness by media houses to settle claims has started to threaten our democracy, and in one recent instance it has been responsible, in our opinion, for destroying the career of Roy Morris. It is well known on Fontebelle about the $30,000.00 payment paid to a young lady who preferred money over the trauma of processing a matter in our court system.
The point which we want to keep making to our managers in the media and especially STARCOM is the obligation to spend some of their profits to test these frivolous suits brought by politicians. Does Anthony Audain or Vic Fernandes think that Barney Lynch would seriously have pursued this matter in court with a general election on the horizon? If this case had gone to trial and Starcom were the loser, the publicity would have served a bigger purpose – to name and shame Minister Lynch. There is a large population who remain ignorant of the behaviour of our politicians. Many of us know that the objective of the politician in government is to shut the call-in programs down. We have some advice for the management of STARCOM.
Each time you do nothing the politicians continue to drive you closer to making that dreaded decision. We all know that the call-in programs have become high revenue earners for the radio stations. The ball is firmly in the hands of Audain and Fernandes. You can’t brag to be the leading media house in Barbados and shirk your responsibility to the society that is supporting you!
Unfortunately, the blogs are not yet recognized by traditional media for the contribution which they are making to our country. It is a task which we are not paid, and one which is fraught with high risk. We at BU and BFP do not have the financial and human resources to pursue and report the news the way we would like; putting that aside, we are driven by love of country to do the best we can with what we have.