Investigative Journalism or Repeat Reporting

Submitted by Chefleur

In a Sunday Nation Article of 2020 – Next Friend not happy her case is thrown out – I reported some anomalies in an elder abuse case in the High Court in Barbados particularly the difficulty in getting the relevant agencies to respond.

First of all,  I initiated that article in a social media group intending to do my independent reporting because I was long disillusioned with the negative slant of the Nation Newspapers’ reporting.  I was, however, contacted by the Nation Report-Or about it since it was shared with her by a colleague involved in elder abuse also. I sent my typed article via email.

I never stated that I was the Next Friend. I couldn’t have since I am no blood relative of the elder.  That’s the hasty conclusion the Report -OR or her Edit-OR who jumped to in an effort to sensationalize a serious issue and increase sales.  They only know one thing.

Having merely scanned my complaint then listened to Lashley’s diatribe, the Report-OR went to press without further investigations.  Had she gotten off of her hefty laurels and visited the Registry and read the file and made a sound analysis of the legal case and the outcome such nonsense would not have been sold to the Barbados public. 

Further, she would have had on record that Lashley was not the Attorney who represented the family in the case and instead would have gone and gotten comments from the representing Attorney.  She would also have had even a copy of that first Order that was made and signed by the Judge.

Too often, Nation Reporters are printing lopsided and ridiculously subjective opinions on matters that should be given more serious attention and scholarship.  Elder abuse is not your daily Soap Opera.

So one year later this issue has arisen in another country in the Region and the Nation Newspapers and its Report-OR is being held to scrutiny.  How different is the legal outcome versus that rubbish?

So my assignment for the Report-Or is to visit the Registry, get the file and write a propper article on the outcome of that elder abuse case that was treated under the Mental Health Act. Find out what because of the Order the judge made and signed.

Journalism is in a crisis in Barbados.

30 thoughts on “Investigative Journalism or Repeat Reporting

  1. @ David

    After watching the Virgin Island’s Consortium’s news video PLT posted to the ‘Maloney blog,’ after journalists from other media outlets ‘put in all the hard work’ to investigate a ‘breaking news story,’ our journalist ‘copy and paste’ from those sources to their respective print and electronic medias.

    However, often when people present a case to praise David Ellis’ journalistic prowess, I’m always hearing he’s a journalist who isn’t afraid to ASK politicians pertinent questions, perhaps based on information, rumour, etc that was in the public domain……..

    Are you able to indicate whether or not Ellis has ever used his journalistic expertise to fully investigate an issue, similar to the VIC’s in depth exposé of how Maloney was scammed?

  2. My, my, my! Follow up!

    This is the way it’s done!

    This report needs to be published for all Barbadians to hear.


    For our government, for Mark Maloney and for our so-called reporters.

    🎵This is who we are!🎶

    • Agree with Hants, the profession cannot stands on its own, they want the job to put bread on the table. Before that they are not ready to band together to benefit from strength in numbers.

  3. Just had a listen to the press conference given by Depeiza and co today addressing concerns about the Maloney matter. Thought it interesting reporters present did not take the opportunity to quiz Depeiza about candidate selection, her candidacy and lack of support from Kellman etc.

  4. @ David

    Perhaps the journalists may say that wasn’t the appropriate occasion for them to ask DePeiza those types of questions as you’ve suggested.

    However, it was a perfect opportunity for them to ask her and her spokesman on health, how the DLP plans to go about dealing with COVID-19 and what are their policies for a COVID economy.

    Then, some DLP operative would want to convince us criticizing vaccines and the vaccination process are sound policy initiatives.

    • @Artax

      No doubt you follow press conferences in other countries and when a good journalist is present they grab the opportunities to pose questions even if they go unanswered. In Barbados we allow politicians to dictate every time. It is time our media players grow backbones.

  5. @ Artax
    “ @Artax

    No doubt you follow press conferences in other countries and when a good journalist is present they grab the opportunities to pose questions even if they go unanswered. In Barbados we allow politicians to dictate every time. It is time our media players grow backbones.”

    You are absolutely correct. We have a tendency to declare people brilliant and supreme when the real evidence is lacking.
    Press conferences end up as political speeches. Imagine in a population of around 300,000 , one journalist is considered as competent enough to ask the powerful “ tough” questions.
    Then we watch a competent investigative report from another island and everybody exclaims: they nevuh see anything like dah ‘ bout hey.
    There is a vast difference between asking questions and investigative journalism.
    Where is the investigative report about Cahill? Where is the investigative report regarding Auditors General Reports?
    Where is the investigative report regarding the Chinese’s houses?
    We are so damn brilliant …..,,…….,,,

  6. @ David

    I agree.

    And, note, I ‘jokingly’ began my comment with, “perhaps.”

    My initial response was, journalists do not ask ‘probing questions’ and allow politicians to control press conferences and the associated narrative towards a direction they (politicians) have already predetermined.

    • @Artax

      Look at the Barbados Advocate situation as an example. We know this has been a hot mess for years, the reporters/‘journalists’ are paid scratch grain wages. Tell us what will motivate a reporter in those circumstances to offend.

  7. William Skinner September 24, 2021 8:45 AM #: “………… one journalist is considered as competent enough to ask the powerful “ tough” questions.”

    “There is a vast difference between asking questions and investigative journalism.”

    @ Mr. Skinner

    I suggest you read my September 23, 2021 7:12 AM contribution.

  8. @ David

    You won’t believe the reporting of local news in ‘The Advocate’ during the 1950s was of superior a standard, when compared with quality of reporting by journalists of this era.

    For example, there was an in depth reporting of Court cases then, which gave the reader the impression he/she was present during the trial, as compared with current journalists trying to ‘cut corners’ and report a day’s testimony from 3 or 4 witnesses in two paragraphs.

    That’s one of the reasons why I do not rely on newspapers to follow cases.

    • @Artax

      In an environment which is politically led (NGOs hardly show leadership nowadays) we need fourth estate to be sharp!

  9. covid ( over 100 cases per day ), vaccines, scam.

    These are problems that have created a National crisis.

    I will not write anything else because it could be offensive to some.

  10. @Artax
    I did read It and am in full agreement. It was one of the reasons I joined the thread. You are absolutely correct.
    I remember when Errol Barrow used to be probed by Glyne Murray.
    There are many reasons why I have refrained from commenting on Ellis’ appointment.

  11. My praise of Ellis had nothing to do with journalism or investigative reporting, but with his capacity to converse with the ordinary people in a credible manner.

    Anyone who had a transistor radio that could tune into the BBC has long been aware of how investigative reporting is done in more developed countries.

    And then came MCTV and CNN!

    And now the internet and almost unlimited examples worldwide.

    Asking tough questions without pressing further for credible answers does have the effect of drawing the listeners’ mind to the issues but following up to verify is another level altogether.

    Follow up provides us with proof.

  12. From poor to poorer.

    Advocate’s future uncertain

    A blanket of uncertainty now covers this country’s oldest newspaper.
    The Barbados Advocate, as in some recent days, was unable to print a newspaper yesterday, and its future is up in the air.
    This was 24 hours after desperate members of the Advocate Publishers Inc. staff sent out a press statement on Thursday, telling a story of the non-payment of salaries for the past two months, and a tale of personal financial hardships.
    When reached yesterday, News Editor Dorian Bryan would only say the editorial staff was still functioning. “We are still working, but I think it is best to speak to the acting managing director,” he said, before referring all other matters to the acting boss Sean Eteen.
    Eteen was not in the office at the time. Calls to both him and human resources manager Natalie Browne went unanswered.
    A visit to the company on Fontabelle, St Michael, revealed that only a skeleton staff remain. The airconditioning system was off and staff had resorted to the use of electric fans. The phone lines were also down most of yesterday.
    The Saturday Sun was reliably informed that no Friday edition of the
    Advocate was published since the company had no newsprint due to the financial constraints facing the more than 125-year-old organisation.
    That source also indicated that discussions were being held to determine if at least half of the salary due in August, could be urgently paid to workers. It was also disclosed that due to a lack of finances and the inability to purchase newsprint, future publications remained in doubt.
    Workers contacted by this newspaper yesterday opted not to go on the record, saying only they were in a bad position financially, having not been paid for the last two months.
    On Thursday, the workers disseminated a statement calling for the company’s accounts to be unfrozen.
    They were frozen due to ongoing litigation in the Supreme Court after the death of the newspaper’s owner and chairman, Sir Anthony Bryan, who died last June.
    That litigation, known as Court Order CV450, was brought by Sir Anthony’s son Richard Bryan against Gail Sherry-Ann Padmore, one of the directors of the board of Advocate Publishers Inc.
    The company’s account was frozen in July, which severely hampered its ability to print newspapers on a daily basis, or even pay staff their monthly salaries.
    In the release, the situation was described by workers as “untenable”.
    “With the latest hearing being held this past Wednesday, the ruling has been deferred for a second time, now to October 7, and it appears as though September’s pay day will also pass without employees receiving salaries for the work we have done and continue to do in these trying circumstances,” the workers stated.
    “What makes the situation even more hurtful and insulting is that while provisions have been made in the order for the defendant in the matter to receive a weekly allowance, no such thought was put in place to ensure the staff and other obligations of the Advocate could be paid, putting families and the entire organisation at risk.” (BA)

    Source: Nation

  13. Tribunal clarifies redundancy consultations
    Approximately one year ago I discussed the decision of the Employment Rights Tribunal (“the Tribunal”) in the case of Cox-Jordan et al vs Little Switzerland, where the Tribunal criticised the employers for treating the statutory consultations required by Section 31 of the Employment Rights Act (ERA) as a box-ticking exercise “rather than a meaningful consultation process”. In its recent decision given in the case of Edwin O’Neal et al vs BAMC, the Tribunal was again required to address the sufficiency of consultations carried out by an employer before making some of its employees redundant.
    Relying on the United Kingdom case of Rowel vs Hubbard Group Services Ltd, the Tribunal explained that “fair consultation involves giving the body consulted a fair and proper opportunity to understand fully the matter about which it is being consulted, and to express its view on the subject, with the consultor thereafter considering those views properly and genuinely”. The Tribunal also emphasised that “the obligation to consult within the prescribed statutory parameters of the Act is obligatory”, i.e. the consultations must be commenced within the six weeks required by Section 31 and it is erroneous for an employer who failed to meet this timeline to assert that the consultations were nonetheless done in “good time”.
    In the said case of O’Neal et al vs BAMC, the affected employees were made redundant on December 31, 2018. In accordance with Section 31 (4) (b) of the ERA, BAMC issued letters to the affected employees and the Chief Labour Officer on October 26, 2018, and November 23, 2018, respectively, well within the six-week timeline required by Section 31. However, the BAMC delayed in commencing the additional consultations required by section 31(6) of the ERA, which included meeting with the employees and their respective representatives.
    They did not hold the first meeting until December 5, 2018.
    Unfairly dismissed
    The Tribunal found that the letter dated November 23, 2018, which was issued by BAMC to the Chief Labour Officer, in which the company stated that it intended to commence consultations with the affected employees, showed that up to the date of the letter the consultations had not yet commenced. For this reason, the Tribunal concluded that BAMC did not commence the consultations required by Section 31(6) until the meeting of December 5, 2018, “a mere 27 days from the planned date of the redundancies”. This did not meet the six-week timeline required by Section 31 and the Tribunal held that the employees had been unfairly dismissed since the BAMC failed to carry out the consultations required by Section 31.
    This decision shows that an employer who complies with only some of the requirements of section 31, such as issuing the requisite letter to the employees and the CLO within the six-week timeline, will still not satisfy the requirements of Section 31 if he does not also hold the required meetings within that timeline. The meetings should also involve fair consultation with the employees, including informing the employees of all the matters listed in Section 31 (6) and allowing the employee to respond. The employer should then consider any such response.
    The decisions of the Employment Rights Tribunal have been crucial in developing the jurisprudence in this area of employment law, especially in the last few years, and have import for the majority of workers in Barbados. It is therefore curious that a body with such a significant role and impact is one of the lowest paid Tribunals within the public sector. If this is not corrected, we risk losing some of the great minds that have been instrumental (and much needed) in this space because the demands of the job far outweigh its benefits.
    I wish to publicly thank all the Tribunal members (past and present) for their hard work, which hasn’t gone unnoticed. The Government must fully recognise and adequately reward their invaluable contributions.
    Michelle M. Russell is an attorney at law with a passion for employment law and labour matters and a budding social activist. Email:

    Source: Nation

  14. Landmark date October 1

    By Ezra Alleyne

    I regard the months of September and October as particularly important months for the history of political events in our country. That these important events also reflect well on the fortunes of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) is merely coincidental.
    As Omar Khayyam reminds us, “The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word . . .”
    Of the four BLP Prime Ministers who have served this country since Independence, Prime Minister Tom Adams was born on September 24 and Owen Arthur, the third member of the BLP prime ministerial quartet, was born on October 17, 1949.
    Significantly, Harold “Bree” St John, the second BLP Prime Minister, was born just outside the September/ October axis, on August 16th.
    Bushe Experiment
    But our current Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley was born on October 1, 1965.
    It may be a matter of some import that all the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) Prime Ministers were born in the first half of the calendar year, except for David Thompson, who was a Christmas baby, being born in London on December 25, 1961, at a time when the DLP was enjoying its first election victory.
    But I digress. Apart from the current Prime Minister’s birthdate, another critical political event has the anniversary date of October 1. It is the Bushe Experiment, which was introduced into the island’s constitutional practice in 1946.
    At that time, Grantley Adams was fighting the colonial forces, trying to wrest some kind of political power and placing it in the control of the black politicians. It was an uphill battle at a time when effective political power resided not with local politicians as it does now, but with the colonial masters and the locally appointed agents.
    On the prorogation of Parliament, here is what Governor Sir Grattan Bushe said on October 1, 1946.
    “On the assembling of the new House, therefore, the Officer administering the Government will send for the person who appears best able to command the majority of the House of Assembly and will ask him to submit to him names from the House for membership of the Executive Committee, and members of the Executive Committee will be asked to take charge of the general policy relating to particular departments of Government for the purpose of dealing with the affairs of those departments in the Executive Committee and in the House of Assembly.
    Become effective
    “The Executive Committee will then in practice cease to be merely a collection of individuals (chosen) by the Governor for the purpose of advising him and will become an effective organ of Government accepting collective responsibility for policy, though the Governor must under the Constitution as at present existing, retain ultimate responsibility.”
    Two important points. Bushe himself said that what he was doing was “tentative and experimental”.
    The second point is that he needed no legislation to effect the change, even if by this change of practice he was effectively beginning the gradual transfer of functional political power to the masses within the society.
    Other steps were needed to legally transfer full power to the masses, but a giant step was taken by Bushe on October 1, 1946, a landmark day for the Barbados Labour Party as it wrestled with the Colonial Office to begin the transfer of power to the hands of the local masses.
    Grantley Adams secured another key change on February 1, 1954, but October 1 represents a giant step handed down by a white Britisher who was our Governor after following a legal career in the Colonial Office. Like Clement Payne, Bushe was born in Trinidad. At the time of his birth, his father was a colonial officer working there.
    So that on October 1 this year when Prime Minister Mottley celebrates another birthday, this country should recall that on October 1, 1946, the Bushe Experiment began the journey which would in another 20 years, in 1966, lead to our full Independence.
    The Bushe Experiment was the first step towards Government coming within the grasp of local Barbadians.
    Ezra Alleyne is an attorney and a former Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly.

    Source: Nation

  15. ,@7:21
    This wee, I find myself trying to determine if EA was trying to be a numerologist. I will wait until next week to see if his post deals with horoscopes.

    You may not believe this but I am a great an of the blogmaster. However, these weekly imposition is causing my love to falter.

  16. Are people still reading Ezra Alleyne? His tales in history mean about as much to me as the national anthem these days.

    How much has what he presents as great moments in history had a beneficial effect on the masses of people?

    What is their significance to today’s people?

    At this time, people I know are more concerned with the date and time of their next meal!

    A good Sunday lunch on September the 26th, 2021 would be a more memorable event for many.

    But his belly is full so he can shit nuff!

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