Former Editor-in-Chief Roy Morris Accuses Nation Newspaper Maguffies of Exerting ‘Pressure’

The following was posted to his Facebook wall today by former editor-in-chief of the Nation newspaper Roy Morris.

Roy Morris, former Editor-in-Chief, Nation Newspaper

When I left the Nation in January I promised myself I would not get involved in any of the “politics” of the Nation — unless I believed the actions of the organisation or any of its agents compelled me to defend myself personally or professionally. Alas, I now feel so compelled.

Over the weekend I was accosted, in a “friendly” way, by an operative of the DLP who wanted to know how come I was hostile to the Prime Minister and my successors now have to work to clean up relations. This was in apparent reference to some correspondence sent to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart by the hierarchy of the Nation newspaper, seeking to pay a courtesy call on him to “understand how we could foster a smooth relationship”. This would have to be the height of political dishonesty.

So let me put some facts on the table. I returned to the Nation in September 2013, fully recognising that the bad relations between the Prime Minister’s office (and/or the PM himself) predated me. The number of defamation suits pending and the instructions I received to bring about an immediate improvement spoke to this. I may not have a lot of things, but I do believe that I am respected for my work as a journalist and media manager, and holding on to this means everything to me.

Against this background, and while trying to bring about improvement from my end, I sought through Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler to initiate a discussion with the PM. I wanted to invite him to address our monthly Editorial Forum in the newsroom as a start. After some time Sinckler suggested I solicit the assistance of the PM’s information officer at BGIS, Sharon Austin Gill Moore, who I had some hand in training as a journalist many years ago and with whom I have always maintained a genuine and close friendship.

Sharon arranged an audience with PM Stuart during a function at Ilaro Court and when I put the question to him he immediately agreed, but noted that a series of engagements meant it would be some time before he could fulfill the promise, but he definitely would.

As had been the case with all other Editorial Fora that I had arranged, I immediately informed my superiors and then announced at our next departmental meeting that the PM had agreed to be our guest. Much to my surprise, a few weeks later I was informed that those who mattered in the company, with two specific maguffies named, were not happy with the PM being invited to speak to staff. The apparent rationale was that he did not hold press conferences, did not speak to the country about the issues, was doing a bad job of running the country and that the public would believe we were being used by him. Now, Chris Sinckler addressed the forum and there was no problem, Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite addressed it and there was no problem, Alvin Jemmott and Billy Griffith addressed it on tourism and there was no problem … and the list goes on. But for some reason I was supposed to withdraw the invitation to the Prime Minister.

I might be known as a lot of things, but weak is not one of them and so I refused to withdraw the invitation. The matter again came up at a subsequent meeting and I held my position. Once again, the names of those who have the power were invoked, but apparently I was too stubborn to fold. But it got worse, rather than providing a forum for the Prime Minister I was given a list of subjects that I was required to engage my reporters writing on. For the first time I was aware of having spent more than 25 years previously at the organisation, Editorial policy and content were to be determined outside of the newsroom.

These topics included:

  1. A look at state corporations that are behind with their annual reports and what the law requires of them.
  2. Look at the Auditor General’s reports for the last 5 or so years to see what are the recurring offences/complaints.
  3. An in-depth look at the financial state of the NIS and its various funds, with the implication of its heavy support of Government being juxtaposed.
  4. Look at the demographic make up of the country and the implications for tax collection and the support of social programmes in the future. This is premised on our so-called aging population, the decline of birth and the expectations of taxpayers given the number and level of services traditionally provided by the state.
  5. An objective analysis of Barbados current debt situation, local and foreign. What do the various commentators/experts say about this and the way Government is managing it. What are the implications for Barbados’ credit rating given the number of downgrades we have suffered in last decade.

THESE MAY ALL BE LEGITIMATE NEWS STORIES, BUT AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN SEE A PATTERN?
Are these the same people who now seek to give the impression they want to know why relations between the Nation Newspaper, the PM, Government and DLP are so bad? Or that they want to see an improvement?
I have had reason in my column over the years to be critical of the PM, but I dare anyone to justify ascribing partisan political motives to my writing? Sorry folks, but I will not sit as the public face of any entity while others spin their webs in the background to suit their political king-making agendas.

I guess on reflection it is a compliment when you are called into a meeting and offered a separation package because “we have changes to make and your personality is too strong” for you to be the person in charge while those changes are being made.

I know I will return to this subject again. For now, Peace!!

 

113 comments

  • @ Artax
    This is Ossie Moore’s cousin of whom you speak….
    ..and we now know that Ossie was a family guru in comparison….

    What did (do) you expect from Carl (his real name)..?

    Like

  • What Carl Moore should do is to ask Harold Hoyte, one of his co-founders of the Nation newspaper, how he feels when he sits as chairman of the Nation Publishing with a man like Anthony Shaw controlling the shots whose claim to fame is being a middle level manager at a couple of banks with a very narrow span of control. Guess we should ask if Harl Hoyte is still Chairman, Emeritus or what is he!

    The Nation newspaper represented what was an important homegrown organ to help to keep the brand identity of Barbados fresh and always germinating in the minds of Bajans. A people without an identity is doomed to be bottom feeders.

    Carl tell us, have you sold your shares in the Nation already? Of course BU is assuming this is the right Carl because we have no way of validating.

    Like

  • William Skinner

    @ David
    Who owns the Mount Gay rum brand/ Is the Nation older than Mount Gay?

    http://www.nationnews.com/nationnews/news/70464/remy-buys-plantation-mount-gay-expands

    Like

  • What is your point William? Has BU not addressed the selling of BS&T, BL&P and the lot? Have we not addressed the fact that we have educated our people to serve others and what that translates to? One doesn’t have to mention every transaction to make the point, we use the one we are more familiar.

    Like

  • William Skinner

    @ David
    My point is very simple: Capitalism is not black or white it is green or the color of any currency. Acts of charity are more a reflection of the people who are capitalists than the economic system itself. You should know that acts of charity /sponsorships etc are usually written off as tax breaks, so even those help to improve the bottom line.
    Another point that is missing here is the fact that the Nation is part of a Caribbean conglomerate and we should be more supportive of joint ventures involving Caribbean businesses.
    Let me make it clear that while I support Caribbean ventures, I am quite disappointed that the Nation as a vital and major part of our media has not been stellar in its role because it is clear to see a lack of independent columnists and so on. In other words the paper itself has failed to attract a more enlightened approach but we all know that advertising revenue keeps the press alive. Once more you should know that capitalism and progressive social activism is not a popular mix.
    Finally , in terms of pure Barbadiana, it will be very difficult to find a brand or product that fits that description more than Mount Gay which I have been told is one of the oldest rums on the market. I would have liked to hear your views on that sale as well as more comment on the sale of Barbados Shipping and Trading which for many decades, in real terms, controlled more wealth than the government itself. But high wind know where old house live.

    Like

  • @William

    Let the record show right here that the BU household absolutely disagrees with your comment. There is a reason the fourth estate is labelled as it is; the role it plays as a watchdog of our democracy. To have a consolidation of media to the extent OCM has morph to in Barbados compromises our ability to massage our Bajan brand. Unlike you we see the media as the key dynamic better suited to deliver on maintaining our brand and protect our democracy- therefore we deem it a STRATEGIC ASSET.

    Like

  • William Skinner

    @ David
    Do you care to explain or better yet expose
    where the Nation is being compromised
    because of OCM? This is a very serious
    charge. Are you saying that OCM is now
    influencing our democracy and what you
    call “our brand”?
    Now Do you consider BU a part of our media? And is BU in anyway influencing our brand or democracy?

    Like

  • Who should be the significant influence of editorial policy Bridgetown or Port of Spain? Why did Hoyte, Moore and the lot sellout, was it about building a regional project or T&T actors finding avenues to sink excess capital. We note that Victor Fernandes has thrown his energy behind a local radio station.

    Like

  • Somebody should tell Willian that when finding oneself in a hole, the correct action is to stop digging.

    Comparing the traitorous behaviour of companies that were BORN out of slavery – such as BS&T, Mount Gay, and BL&P, with that of a first generation BLACK operation – one with unprecedented influence because it was located in the PUBLIC EDUCATION and public INFLUENCE sphere of society, is so simplistic as to call into question the judgement of the proposer.
    What did we really EXPECT from the likes of Alan Fields and his ilk?
    …and should we expect the same Carl Harl Hite and his ilk?

    ..The former have ALWAYS had difficulty in hiding their disdain for the likes of Bushie…
    ..The latter is LITERALLY the bushman’s brother – his flesh and blood…… although we now know, not in spirit….

    And the talk about ‘Capitalism being green’ is worthy of Dompey…. Capitalism shiite…. This is “Judas-ism”….. and is about pieces of silver, not any green paper……

    Second rate Trickidadians have been able to use their petro dollars to steal our Bajan birthrights – with the vital support of their Trojan Horse called the Nation, ridden by jockey Harl, and tended by groom Carl, with assistant Al dealing with the shiite in the stables….

    National traitors…

    Like

  • William Skinner

    @ Bush Tea
    This is exactly why the status quo will remain
    In place. Why do we have to hide behind
    the fact that the Nation is black owned.
    BST Mount Gay and the Nation have one
    thing in common: They have made their
    money primarily from black consumers
    therefore they must be held equally
    responsible if we are promoting the philosophy
    of corporate or nationalistic responsibility.
    While I understand your position, I find it
    troubling that you are prepared to give
    white corporate Barbados a pass. This is
    where you and I part company. BST
    was a major player in the destruction of
    our agriculture and was the major
    corporate entity in our country for years
    and they sold out rather than adapt to
    a changing global culture.
    You cannot cherry pick here.

    Like

  • Writing off the top of my head,I recall rum(rhum,grog))was first made in Barbados and I think Mount Gay has been producing it since 1703,which is just 75 short years after the landing at the Hole,the driving of the stake in the ground,the de foresting of the island,the transporting of the cane plant from Brazil and Irish,Scottish and African labourers to plant the crop and build the factories to manufacture both the product sugar and the by product molasses.One can assume if Mount Gay was up and running in 75 years,those forced labourers were moonshining that rum long before Mount Gay cotton on to the idea of distilling in St Lucy.It is my understanding that Sugar Cane Brandy was used at the parish church in the communion of the service.

    Like

  • @ William
    I find it troubling that you are prepared to give white corporate Barbados a pass.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Have you been drinking something…? or smoking it?

    No one in their right mind can accuse stinking Bushie of ‘giving white corporate Barbados a pass’….. On the contrary!!!!

    However if you are unable to see any difference between being raped by people who have been raping your forefathers for 400 years …. and by YOUR OWN big brother who you looked up to for deliverance ….then you ought to join the ac consortium….

    Shiite man…. it is enuff to make a bushman sin his damn soul….
    Man STOP digging nuh!!!

    Like

  • One Caribbean Media Ltd company : Shareholders, managers and …
    http://www.4-traders.com › … › One Caribbean Media Ltd
    One Caribbean Media Ltd : Company profile, business summary, shareholders, managers, financial ratings, industry, sector and market information …

    Shareholders
    Name Equities %
    CL Financial Ltd. 15,285,917 23.0%
    Rebyn Ltd. 5,826,064 8.78%
    CCN Group Employees Share Ownership Plan 5,720,472 8.62%
    Abk Investments, Inc. 2,680,000 4.04%
    Brentwood Corp. /Trinidad/ 2,050,000 3.09%
    Hh Investments Ltd. 1,941,398 2.92%
    Athlyn Investments Ltd. 1,661,075 2.50%
    St Elmo Thompson 1,615,572 2.43%
    Carlton K. Mack Ltd 1,446,512 2.18%
    Republic Financial Holdings Ltd. 1,149,022 1.73%
    …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

    Interesting……

    Like

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