Open Letter to Media Practitioners

 Submitted by an Anonymous blogger

arbados Association of Journalists and Media Workers (BARJAM)1

Journalism in Barbados is dead and unfortunately no one seems to know when it died. Was it one single event or a series of events? Perhaps we can point our fingers to defamation laws or perhaps we can point our fingers at the close ties between the media and the government or maybe it is the business class. You don’t think journalism is dead? Let me show you why I think it is.

Apes Hill

In 2015 the Apes Hill project owned by Bizzy Williams borrowed 25 million from the NIS “Dat is the people pensions.” Apes Hill has since “defaulted” on this debt  according to the upper echelons of NIS with not so much as a blink of an eye. I’m just a nobody and know this, I have alerted the various political parties and they seem unbothered, whispered in the ears of the media and they seem unbothered.

This article isn’t about “poor” Bizzy though so let me continue, hopefully a journalist can interview him and ask him if he even plans on returning the money. But moving on…

Corruption Allegations

In like every year since independence allegations of corruption existed ? Honestly I’m not old enough to know or remember, but it feels that way. The BLP elite fan the flames of allegations, while stating there is evidence of over-invoicing and other questionable practices, but somehow not enough to bring anyone before the court. They are playing a dangerous political game and any reasonable journalist would ask about the evidence or stop writing about it. For example you allege to have evidence of various overpaid lawyer fees yet fail to bring it to court? Surely the government has access to not only to the old paper trail, but also to the bank accounts of government to generate new statements. I’m sure a journalist can figure this out, so what is the issue?

Alternatives to Defaulting?

From my extensive research as a non journalist countries don’t default on their debt; it is exceedingly rare. From the Washington Post to The Economist that point is reiterated over and over again. My simple journalistic question is this;

“If a country goes to the IMF to improve its creditworthiness, why default and then go to the IMF?”

Let me ask that a different way, what sense would it make publicly telling your bank that you are are going to refinance and their is nothing they can do about it (defaulting) and then hoping that a future bank or lender would want your business.

Journalism Under DLP rule

Before some partisan person states that I have DLP bias I should perhaps state that journalism under the DLP was equally as woeful. The only thing I’m thankful for is that the media really did their job in helping to oust the persons who brought the economy and country to its knees. Perhaps one could argue that journalism wasn’t dead in the months leading up to elections, the media struck back? So kudos to the media there for that small victory, however if the media were perhaps doing their job the economy wouldn’t have gotten so bad and perhaps we wouldn’t even had had the DEMs again in 2013, but alas that is history.

Investigating, shaping the minds of the public  

Perhaps the media houses had too much control in any case and this dilution of power is a good thing and the tradeoff is simply shoddy journalistic standards as the media can no longer afford to retain the best talent. Perhaps we need more civic minded persons to write and speak out or perhaps only experts not auditors speaking out as economists or politicians speaking out as professionals beyond their scope. I don’t have all the answers so don’t mind me either for I’m not a journalist.

P.S. Advocate, Nation or Barbados Today(pretty sure Barbados Today wished a reporter recently) I apply to be a journalist as of mid October 2018 Terms and Conditions apply. Perhaps I can contribute in some small way.

2nd P.S. Freelance only ! I don’t wish my NIS going to well never mind.

Signed,

Humble farmer

David Comissiong Has No Olive Branch to Offer on the Hyatt Case!

Submitted by David Comissiong, Citizen of Barbados
SO  FAR as the Hyatt Hotel is concerned, I — David Andre Comissiong – – have no “olive branch” to offer to anyone!
I wish to state for the record that I have never said anything about offering the new Barbados Labour Party (BLP) government any so-called “olive branch” in relation to my case challenging the permission granted by former Prime Minister Freundel Stuart to Mr Mark Maloney’s company to construct a 15 story Hyatt Hotel on beachfront land at Bay Street.
The term “olive branch” — used in relation to the so-called Hyatt Hotel case — is entirely the concoction of the Barbados Today online newspaper: and I would appreciate it if that newspaper would adhere to basic journalistic ethics and refrain from putting words in my mouth.
Let me make my position very clear in relation to the so-called Hyatt Hotel case:-
In March 2017 I filed a Judicial Review application against the then Democratic Labour Party (DLP) Government, in which I requested a Judge of the Supreme Court to review the manner in which Mr Freundel Stuart, the Minister responsible for Town and Country Planning, had processed Mr Mark Maloney’s application for permission to construct a 15 story Hyatt Hotel on the Bay Street beachfront.
I maintained in my Judicial Review application that Mr Stuart had committed a breach of the Law of Barbados by failing to require Maloney’s company to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), and that , as a result, the grant of permission to build the hotel should be squashed.
Mr Stuart responded by questioning my right — as a Citizen of Barbados — to bring such a Judicial Review application against  the Government of Barbados.
And when the presiding Judge — Madam Justice Dr. Sonia Richards — ruled in my favour, Mr Stuart appealed to the Court of Appeal against the Judge’s ruling.
This is where the matter stood at the time of the change of government on the 24th of May 2018.
Now that we have a new Government, I have been questioned by the news media as to the fate of the Court case, and I have made my position absolutely clear :-
 
If the new BLP Government wishes to see the back of this Court Case that they have inherited from the previous DLP administration, they would have to do the following things:-
(1) Firstly, they would have to DISCONTINUE the Appeal that was lodged against Dr Richards’ ruling! (This is important because the Judge’s ruling confirmed that we, the Citizens of Barbados, DO have the right to challenge in a Court of Law nationally important decisions and actions of our Government that affect us — not in our personal capacities– but that affect us in our capacities as Citizens of the country.)
(2) Secondly, they would have to CONCEDE that former Prime Minister Freundel Stuart was WRONG in Law when he granted permission to construct a 15 story beachfront hotel without having carried out an EIA ( inclusive of the holding of Town Hall meetings) in respect of the proposed construction project..
(3) Thirdly — and most importantly — they would have to CANCEL the permission that was wrongly granted to Maloney’s company, and would also have to give an undertaking to require the staging of an EIA in the event that Maloney’s company makes a new application to construct the said Hyatt Hotel.
If the new BLP Government is prepared to carry out these actions, then I would have no need to continue the litigation against the Government, and the way would be clear for both sides to negotiate a discontinuance of the litigation.
How any of this can be construed as “offering an olive branch” is really beyond me!
Permit me to also state for the record that I am convinced that once Maloney’s application is subjected to an objective EIA that the findings of the EIA  WILL confirm that the construction of any such 15 story hotel is NOT permissible because:-
(1) It will do tremendous damage to the physical and architectural landscape of Bridgetown;
(2) It will cause Barbados to be stripped of its UNESCO World Heritage Site designation;
(3) It will create massive problems for the Bridgetown and South Coast sewage systems; and
(4) It will impinge severely on the Barbadian people’s access to and enjoyment of one of their most prized and favoured beaches.
In other words, the staging of an objective EIA will disqualify the proposed 15 story Hyatt Hotel.

The Adrian Loveridge Column – Media House Accused of Erroneous Report

barbados-today-newspaperWhen I read the article ‘Slow Crop Over for car rental businesses’ in one section of the media, I was quite surprised, as the provisional arrival figures and various comments made by politicians, event organizers and policymakers indicated that attendance was good. If the headline has contained the word ‘some’ or ‘a couple’, perhaps it would be far more credible.

Just days before, the same ‘news’ source had published an article entitled ‘Lashley over the moon at Crop Over success’, in which the Minister was quoted as saying ‘it was virtually impossible to find hired cars’ over that period.

Having personally been a victim some time ago in the hands of the same media outlet, following a public confrontation with a hotel mogul, where it was totally misreported and absolutely erroneous comments were made. At the time I asked for a correction or retraction to be made but sadly these requests fell on deaf ears.

I fully understand that our ‘journalists’ cannot be experts and knowledgeable about every subject they write on, but surely if you do not know, it is your responsibility to check prior to going to press in absolute fairness to all involved.

To obtain some degree of balance, I contacted one of our largest car rental companies with a fleet well over 100 vehicles and they explained that around 85 per cent of their vehicles had been rented during the Crop Over period. Adding that when factoring that some of the vehicles were under repair this resulted in a virtual 100 per cent utilization.

There are already so many myths and misconceptions in tourism that it does no-one any good whatsoever to expand these in an already contentious industry, through poor and ill researched reporting.

Even after fifty years in the sector, involved in various component parts that make up the industry, including as a travel agent, tour director, tour operator and hotelier, I would be a fool to myself labouring under the illusion that I knew everything. Surely, it is no different in the media?

If in fact the one named company and the other operator ‘headquartered at Derricks, St, James’ were correct and ‘there was no business out there during Crop Over this year, you have to ask why some companies would do so well and other appears to fail dismally?

When I saw the cost of ‘paying the average $176.25 a day for a hired car,’ maybe that is where the challenge is. That’s a little less than I paid for an entire week hire for a compact car collected at Louisville airport in Kentucky last year, which included all the fees and taxes with a major brand rental company.

With available funds in the banks and financial institutions, I would have thought that the car suppliers and these lending entities could partner to offer more affordable hire purchase and leasing options for our car rental sector, to help bring down what are hugely globally uncompetitive rates, when compared to where many of our visitors emanate from. There also seems an enormous amount of room for our car rental providers to work better together to ensure we maximise foreign exchange earning potential.

George Payne v Edmund Hinkson: Barbados Labour Party Battling Demons

 

Barbados Underground (BU) welcomes the Barbados Today report about the George Payne v Edmund Hinkson: Storm Clouds Hovering Over MAM court matter even though it has come several days after we posted. The fact that Roy Morris (Chief Editor) and shareholders in the Barbados Today have chosen to expose one side; that of the plaintiff, and not the defendant is evidence of the stain which the traditional media continues to blot the media landscape of Barbados. BU is aware how matters before the Courts must be treated in the public domain. Given its public profile a media house can easily be joined by either side to a matter like this one. What it does not mean however is that ALL the facts should not be reported. In this case why not ensure that the Statement of Defence (SOD) is included in the report?

BU continues to find this matter intriguing but not for the reasons  political yardfowls on either side will show glee. There are the political ramifications of the court action by Payne for the Barbados Labour Party (BLP). Also, it gives BU the opportunity to explore a related issue associated with libel and slander which are now interchangeably referred to as defamation under the Act.

Continue reading

Barbados Today Publishes Story Of Local Businessman ‘Conned’!

Local businessman beatened and stabbed post video of incident online - click image

After being stabbed and beaten two weeks ago, a Christ Church businessman is today trying to “flush out” the perpetrators by going public with his ordeal. Not only has the victim started his own website, he has made a video with the footage taken from the security cameras stationed in a particular area in his massage parlour.

Read full article in the Barbados Today