Sharma’s Karma

MP Chandresh Sharma at a recent cycling event.

MP Chandresh Sharma, in yellow shirt, at a recent cycling event.

If you are from South Trinidad, Pundit Chandresh Sharma isn’t a new name to you. And you’d also be very familiar with the numerous stories that fly around about infidelities, outside children and even less than kosher behavior in public office.None of the rumors particularly recent.

But let’s not dwell in the realm of rumors. Let’s deal with the tangible story that the Guardian, of all newspapers, spilled all over our laps this week. You may well question my skepticism of the Guardian. With Dr Hamid Ghany, politics lecturer and close colleague of the People’s Partnership, at the helm of their editorial decisions, it struck me as interesting that the newspaper would have scooped the Express on this particular story. Not that the Express didn’t carry the story early enough….they just didn’t have as much juicy details. And considering the flagrantly obvious modus operandi of the Guardian since Walk Out Wednesday 2013 that involves more govt friendly coverage, it intrigued that they had the better story.

But back to the main story. In 2010 it was woman power….remember that? Vaguely? I do. And ironically, or maybe justifiably, since Kamla’s tenure has done nothing to improve the lot of women, it seems that women are going to be the downfall of her govt. Last week it was Glen Ramadharsingh, the Hamper Man, breaching civil aviation rules, threatening a CAL flight attendant and grabbing at her breast in the process of issuing his threats. His excuse, fatigue….yes Glen, all tired men, small or grown, does reach out for tot tots.

This week we have an equally lurid scandal downing Sharma. Sacha Singh, his now ex-

Sacha Singh

Business woman and former girlfriend of MP Chandresh Sharma. She alleges that the MP slapped and knocked her down in a public fight.

girlfriend, forced a confrontation between Sharma and a woman with whom he allegedly had a relationship and a child. The child is now 12 years old, and the implications are that he has not met his responsibilities where the child is concerned.

You have to pause for a moment and understand the shame this must be causing the orthodox Hindu community and UNC supporters. For the orthodox Hindu community, it is knowing that a pundit, indeed, a self-proclaimed Brahmin (imagine in the Caribbean Brahmin and caste are still used), fell from such a great height. Theirs is a community known for publicly espousing strong family values and kin ship ties. Note I said publicly.

For UNC supporters it is something far more base. You see, much of their chatter on their walls centers around attributing particular traits to persons of African descent. In fact, to give you a brief glossary of terms for a UNC wall, PNM is a word that has little to do with a political party and everything to do with race and bigotry. So it’s not so much PNM policies that are ever discussed, but slurs that are tossed. So on a UNC wall when you see the word PNM it’s normally used euphemistically to mean black, criminal, worthless, poor, uneducated etc.

Generally, UNC supporters, people who described themselves as openminded, inclusive and intolerant of racism and corruption in 2010, spend most of their days defining the Afro-descended community of Trinidad and Tobago as ghetto rats, prone to violence, poor, always seeking handouts, deadbeat dads etc. So imagine the irony, when a government minister, who claims to be of the highest possible social caste in Hindu society, turns out to be a hitter of women, a philanderer and possibly (if the child is his) a dead beat dad? It kinda turns the myth sold to us about the wholesomeness of the Hindu community on its head. It makes us realize that dysfunction doesn’t belong to a race, it can happen in virtually any ethnic community and at all economic levels….because surely lack of money can’t be the reason he isn’t doing his duty? Right?

You see, MP Sharma, you hurt women, several women. The first of whom was your wife. I suspect if you have any daughters you have hurt and violated their trust as well. In not providing full disclosure to Ms Singh, you hurt her as well. And then, as a man, and alleged upstanding member of the community, you brought your office into disrepute by assaulting citizens of the country. It matters little if it is a public space or not. Hitting is a no no. And to not expect that one day one of these women would stand up to you, shows just how unintelligent you must be.

So when Sharma, in his resignation speech today talked about Karma, I smiled. Why? Because as a pundit he would know it only too well, and had he read his astrology charts, like Miss Cleo, he should have seen this coming.

Between Glen and Chan Kamla is now limping to elections 2015 like a cripple with a stone in he right shoe. It isn’t pretty. And no matter how much she tries to make these firings and resignations put her in the light of a strong leader they don’t. The constant abuse of women under her tenure tells me that she doesn’t have a gender policy and that the men under her don’t respect us. We have seen far too many young, articulate women bullied by this government: Asha Javeed, Denyse Renne, Anicka Gumbs Sandiford, the women of the Highway ReRoute Movement, and now, Ronelle Laidlow and Sacha Singh. In the midst of this, the feminists who loudly and proudly supported Kamla’s 2010 bid for office are deafeningly mute. I’m almost tempted to purchase iPhones for them so at least Siri can be their voice. Mind you, if we only so much as criticize Kamla’s wardrobe or lipstick choice, they have strong positions on that. But abuse and oppression of women? Not tonight. Let’s move on.

How many more women have to be attacked by this government before we get rid of them?

#BeatOut2015 Can’t Come Soon Enough!

 

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What is a MATT?

One of the status updates that fuelled the public's response to claims of government interference at Guardian Media Limited.

One of the status updates that fuelled the public’s response to claims of government interference at Guardian Media Limited.

Editor in Chief Judy Raymond...giving it another try.

Editor in Chief Judy Raymond…giving it another try.

Today is the internal elections for the Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago, the same organisation that was commandeered by Sheppard, Raymond, Hawkins, Mathur, Dowrich, Baldeosingh et al (i forgetting somebody in there I’m sure) months ago into telling the one version of GuardianGate.

Since Walkout Wednesday, as Sheila Rampersad has referred to it in news reports, the entire board has resigned. When you listen to the comments from members of the board, no clear picture emerges about what really went down that week. Sheppard, as then President of the organisation, has accepted full responsibility for what went down….but responsibility isn’t the same thing as transparency and accountability. And I am afraid as a member of the public, who has to rely on the media to get it right, MATT’s previous board is still very much in the wrong.

To the best of my knowledge to date there has been no explanation about who exactly took the decisions and gave the ok for those releases to have been sent out. Word is Ms Sheppard was on vacation leave when this entire thing began…so who called her into office? And when she “wrote” the press releases, or instructed someone to write the releases – see, we still don’t know for certain who wrote the relaases..everything is hinted at and alluded to – was she writing it with her Guardian employee cap on or her MATT cap?

If it was the MATT cap (which is what it should have been), who was she getting her info from, and what cause exactly was she lobbying for? You see, at the height of the scandal that week the impression the entire country…in fact region…had was that press freedom was under threat. And the public didn’t make the story up…it was brought to them via MATT press releases.

I have had several arguments with Guardian personnel about this issue, because I felt the then MATT board was extremely dishonest and disingenuous with the public and very irresponsible. The Board was quick to give us a particular side of a very salacious story…but not so quick at clearing up and ending the speculation.

Board members took a decision to run with a story, and then a day or two later the entire story they ran with and delivered to the public as factual was shot down as being false and misrepresenting the truth….and in all of it, the key players at the Guardian all happen to be MATT Board members…..from captain to cook!

In a serious country, with a serious media, the outgoing MATT Board would have had to submit a report upon leaving office. Instead, when questioned, Judy Raymond, at the heart of the shit-storm that was walk out Wednesday, directs queries to an editorial she wrote that answers none of the really salient questions about MATT’s role in the entire fiasco.

And for me that is my bone of contention. It is obvious to anyone who looked on that MATT, in the hands of Guardian Media Limited personnel, was used as a tool to tell one side of a story. Then when the shit began to swirl too thick and too fast, it was just as quickly discarded and the MATT Board hoped we would forget it was also made up primarily of Guardian reporters and editors.

The question that again begged itself at the end of this fiasco is, What is MATT?

Sometime in 2011, when the issue with Ian Alleyne using live footage of a rape occurred, I had asked Ms Raymond what was MATT.
You see, it isn’t a union, because it cannot assist with wage negotiations, or even improving conditions at a media house. It isn’t quite a watchdog group either, because it picks and chooses the media issues it speaks out on in random ways.

What I have been told is that MATT is an organisation of media workers; it doesn’t have a lawyer; it runs workshops for its members; it attempts to protect press freedom.

The new MATT board that is hopefully going to be voted in today has to work on defining itself. Having a clear vision and mission; properly articulated for itself and the public. It needs to establish a code of ethics for its members and a code of conduct as well. While I know individual media houses determine the standard of the stories they publish, MATT should seek to become a body that is similar to the Law Association and Medical Practitioner’s Association in terms of safeguarding its profession.

Because from where I stand, one of the prominent threats to a free and independent press at this moment are the employees themselves.

A (Pappy) Show of Force

handcuffs

 

You couldnt miss the news on Sunday. The local police force, having learned quickly from this government, have become masters of their own promotion.

So, many of us woke up Sunday, or returned from places of worship, or the market to hear that East Port of Spain was under lock down. After nearly a month of killings – much of it lost in the news coverage because we were so busy following Warner’s by-election Campaign , oh, sorry, I mean Chaguanas West’s – Trinidad and Tobago began to notice that east of George Street was heating up again: Duncan and Nelson were at war and you could bank on hearing about at least two murders a day coming from that area. The news media, getting their information from the police, never ventured beyond the formulaic description of “gang-related” killing. We didn’t know what were the names of the gangs, or if the gangs were even from East Port of Spain…but you see, that doesn’t matter. This is Trinidad, where the myth is that all criminals are black and all black people are criminals. So the details don’t matter, just the big picture.

Burkey Burke, one of the major captures this weekend...he was released a day later.

Burkey Burke, one of the major captures this weekend…he was released a day later.

And it was the big picture the Police service was interested in on Sunday. Radio and Internet news headlines blared it out 90 Arrested in East Port of Spain Raid! Yuh see, they finally get their act together and doing something! Twelve arrested during the week and now, look, a whole 90 in one Sunday morning!

The 300 (officers) literally descended onto Nelson and Duncan, and according to residents, few saw a search warrant. They simply looked on while doors were kicked down, possessions were strewn about and their loveds ones were carted away. Many on just suspicion…no evidence. Which is why today, just two days after the raid, 59 of the 90 arrested are back out on the streets. And all 12 men held for the murders last week are back home as well.

Kamla announcing SoEThese past 2 days have been like SoE 2011 deja vu for anyone who happens to be black, from an urban community, and possibly from a single parent home…worse yet if you have dread locks. It is the second time in two years we have had a spike in the murder  toll lead to either a full fledged State of Emergency, or similar conditions. In 2011 for 3.5 months we were treated to nightly images of mostly young black men from urban and semi-urban communities being tossed into the back of police vehicles and carted off on suspicion of being criminals. Given the features and traits these folks had in common you got a good sound message of precisely what this Government and the wider society thinks is a criminal. You had the AG and Minister of National Security on television further endorsing the stereotypes too. And at the end of it all, 8000 victims of the SoE were released and sent back to their homes. No violent crime solved, no white collar crime solved. Big and small fish swimming normal normal.

This time around there was no official announcement of emergency conditions, no Kamla on tv nervously announcing from her kitchen that we under a limited state of nonsense, but the features were all there.

This weekend’s raid followed several months of the Minister of Housing, Roodal Moonila,l constantly alluding to residents of national housing units as criminals…specifically national housing units in black urban areas. Again…stereotypes from a Government Minister. You’d swear the Equal Opportunities Commission sleeping.

Moonilal has claimed that as Minister of Housing, with oversight for the Home Development Corporation, he is a landlord to thugs and criminals…which is why he needs his luxury Range Rover tricked out like he is the Commissioner of Police.

Then this week he made the comment that he was cracking down on migrants from Port of Spain to Central and South Trinidad. Anyone reading that article would be forgiven for thinking there was zoning in Trinidad and Tobago and that people from Port of Spain aren’t allowed to move and live in other areas. Moonilal should give up the Range Rover and get a cork hat, khaki suit and horse…..get his Boer act over and done with.

Aware that several arms of the state – Police and Govt – now looking patently bad, there are rumblings from the police that they may re-arrest some of the released persons. Almost as if Sunday was a dry-run and later this week will be the real deal. Let’s hope they have evidence this time and not a “feeling”.

The Prime Minister is returning to East Port of Spain on Wednesday. She may dissolve into tears again. Following her loss in popularity, coupled with this spike in crime, she must feel the need to do some serious PR and cajoling.

The irony is that every one is patently aware of why East Port of Spain is this way….a combination of neglect and total disrespect from regime after regime. But many of us don’t care. Once the crime not affecting us, is ok.

But briefly pandering to and then largely ignoring these areas has become a game…and if you were keeping score this weekend you’d realise that everyone is tied at a big fat zero…..except the ones that were murdered.

 

Full Dotish Mode in Overdrive!

Dr Sheila Rampersad, Ms Denyse Renne and Ms Anicka Gumbs-Sandiford respond!

Press statement re walkout of three journalists from the T&T Guardian

July 15, 2013

When we staged a Wednesday (July 10) walkout from the T&T Guardian newspaper, we were and remain clear on the issue: there was a significant threat to press freedom; that threat wore the garments of political interference and its dimensions included, importantly, the sidelining of the Editor in Chief (EIC), Ms Judy Raymond. We spoke publicly on the day of the walkout and Dr Sheila Rampersad spoke again on I95.5FM the morning after (Thursday July 11). A comment was solicited by and given to the Trinidad Express newspaper on the same day (Thursday July 11).
We have made no other public comment.
Following Ms Raymond’s statement published in the T&T Guardian on July 15, we have decided to break our dignified silence in the interest of our professional credibility and personal well-being. The confusion that has accumulated around this issue was not our creation and we wish to register our resentment that we have to again unravel the obfuscation and offer clarity to the public served by our vocation.
Critical to understanding the events leading up to the Wednesday walkout is a meeting that occurred on Tuesday (July 9) at 2.15 pm. That meeting was called following a day and a half of uncertainty, rumours and instability in the Guardian newsroom. It was called by Managing Director (MD) Gabriel Faria, jointly chaired by the EIC, and included daily editor Irving Ward, Photographic Editor Alva Viarruel, Features Editor Franka Philip, Business Editor Anthony Wilson, News Editor Robert Alonzo, Sports Editor Valentino Singh, head of the sub-editors Cordia Gibbs and Dr Sheila Rampersad.
At that meeting, we were told by the MD and EIC that they had both returned from a meeting at the ANSA McAl head office, that there were many concerns with what was perceived by the Guardian Media Ltd’s board of directors to be our biased news reporting, and that things had come to a head. Two examples were mentioned: the Sunday Guardian lead of July 7 which carried the headline “Millions Leaving T&T” and the T&T Guardian’s lead of July 4 under the headline “Rowley Escapes.”
In connection with the first, we asked, among other things, whether there had been complaints by the subject/s of the news report. The MD said no. The “Rowley Escapes” headline and stories, however, generated much debate between editors, who defended our representation of the story, and the MD. Flipping between pages one and three of that day’s paper, the MD said, essentially, that our coverage of the story was biased in favour of Dr Keith Rowley and Mr Colm Imbert and against the Privileges Committee. The MD said the board of directors was unanimous in that view.
The MD said the EIC had to go “offline.”
When asked how we were to proceed in an environment in which the EIC was “offline” for vague, undetermined reasons, and with increasing instability in the newsroom that would only be heightened by the EIC’s physical absence, we were told by the MD to tone the paper down.
We were told the EIC going “offline” to work on an editorial policy and the toning down of the paper in the interim comprised the best option available following the MD’s and the EIC’s meeting at head office. Someone asked what the other options were. There was silence, then the EIC said, “It’s either this or we both go.” “We” referred to the MD and the EIC. Someone’s name was mentioned as a potential replacement for the MD.
One editor asked whether we could meet with the GML board to dialogue; the MD said no, that was out of the question.
Later on Tuesday, editors were told by the EIC that someone was being sought to sit-in on the afternoon editors’ meeting which determined the news content of the next day’s paper. One person was approached by the MD; that individual requested time to consider. A short time later, another person was approached by the MD; that person sat-in on Tuesday afternoon’s editors’ meeting.
Uncertainty grew on Tuesday night during which Dr Rampersad and Ms Raymond exchanged a number of text messages relevant to fluid developments. The idea of a walkout, floating around since Monday, took shape on Tuesday night.
On walkout Wednesday, some editors arrived at the office with that idea (walkout), one aspect of which was to confer before walking out. The conference occurred. At that conference, two editors said they were unable to walk immediately because of pressing financial commitments. One of those two expressed deep solidarity with us, saying he was walking out in spirit but was sorry he was unable to do so in body. At no time did either of the two cite “tomorrow” as their reason for not walking out.
Exceptions to the walkout, therefore, were on the grounds of burdensome financial responsibilities and legal counsel.
Dr Rampersad’s mind was made up.
At the conference, the EIC suggested waiting until “tomorrow”, adding an hour or so later that her lawyer had advised her not to do anything drastic until she spoke to him. The EIC later left to see a lawyer on Duke Street. Notwithstanding this, Ms Raymond, on walkout Wednesday at 2.58 pm, texted Dr Rampersad saying, “I need to get out of here. Will be following you in matter of hours. Talk later. Thx for everything xx.”
After the walkout, at 5.56 pm Wednesday July 10, the EIC texted Dr Rampersad following Dr Rampersad’s immediate post-walkout interview on I95.5FM: “Heard interview. Great”.
At 6.25 pm on the same day, the EIC texted Dr Rampersad: “Now drafting resignation letter to show to lawyer”.
Following Dr Rampersad’s interview in I95.5FM on the morning of Thursday July 11 (the morning after the walkout), the EIC texted Dr Rampersad at 6.26 pm: “you talk like a boss this morning”.
Investigative reporters Ms Anika Gumbs-Sandiford and Ms Denyse Renne affirm that, contrary to the EIC’s statement in today’s Guardian, they were at no time asked, told or advised by the EIC to defer their resignations for 24 hours.
Ms Gumbs-Sandiford confirms that the EIC was in possession of her resignation letter since 1.44am on Wednesday July 10. Her resignation letter was e-mailed to the EIC with a note reading: “Just informing you that this will be forwarded to General Manager Mr Douglas Wilson at 9am. Talk to you soon.”

There was no response advising Ms Gumbs-Sandiford to defer her resignation. In fact, Ms Ramond responded at 7.30am via e-mail: “Thanks for letting me know, Anika. I am so sorry it has to come to this. Thanks for all your great work. All the best.”

At 8.20 am, having already agreed on the walkout the night before, the EIC texted Dr Rampersad: “Cd you call Anika & ask her not to send letter yet? GF on way to talk to Norman now, still hoping to save the day. If not, we’ll go together after that”.
Dr Rampersad responded: “It’s over.” Ms Raymond acknowledged that with a sad-face emoticon.
It is not an easy decision to share these items of correspondence but we feel certain we have no choice in the defence of our credibility and the truth. These messages and other correspondence quoted here, along with many more, remain in our possession as corroboration.
Between 8.20 am and sometime after 3 pm on walkout Wednesday, Ms Raymond had a surfeit of opportunities to dissuade Ms Gumbs-Sandiford and Ms Renne from walking out. Ms Raymond used none of these opportunities.
Ms Renne confirms that between 10 am and 11 am on walkout Wednesday, she met with Ms Raymond and told her: I have your back; I will be walking out with you. Ms Raymond’s response was, “Ok then, let me go and pack.”

Around 3pm, Ms Gumbs-Sandiford met with the EIC and informed her that she had submitted her resignation letter. She asked of the EIC whether the EIC had submitted hers. The EIC replied, “I am just waiting to speak to my attorney. I will submit it after.”

Ms Gumbs-Sandiford and Ms Renne confirm that they resigned in support of Ms Raymond knowing that if Ms Raymond went “offline,” very soon they would have also been sent “offline” given the number of protests that followed the investigative stories they wrote.

Our silence between Thursday morning and today is not to be interpreted as stupidity, cowardice, or belief in the convoluted spin generated by GML. We are clear that the issue at the start of last week was interference in the editorial processes and products and the suspension and/or potential dismissal of Ms Raymond. After our act of courage on Wednesday, the question became voluntary resignation by the EIC. Our walkout enabled that shift.
That there was dialogue between the EIC and management from Thursday July 11 was not inevitable; our walkout enabled that change. Contrary to reports from the Media Association of T&T, none of the three journalists who walked out is back on the job. None of us was contacted before or after the MATT news release was issued.
We remain unshakeable in our conviction that we took an honourable and principled position; we have no regrets.
The public will adjudicate on whether the confusion of the past few days can be accurately termed “misinformation,” “massive miscommunication” or, quite simply, lies.

Respectfully,
Dr Sheila Rampersad
Ms Anika Gumbs-Sandiford
Ms Denyse Renne

The three reporters wrote this in response to Editor in Chief, Judy Raymond’s article today.

The MATT Who Cried Wolf

Editor in Chief Judy Raymond...giving it another try.

Editor in Chief Judy Raymond…giving it another try.

Soooooo…all that fuss at GuardianGate….you know….about Government interference at the newspaper? And about Managing Directors and editors being fired and then reinstated and there being an impasse in the newsroom and reporters walking off the job etc etc…..it was a hoax.

Yes folks, we’re being told today by Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago, whose President is Suzanne Sheppard and Vice President is Judy Raymond….that ALLLLLL those press releases they sent out earlier in the week to keep us abreast of the situation in the Guardian newsroom….well they were mistaken.

So MATT, once again, is a tool, being absolutely abused by its executive. Nothing to see here folks…move along.

Take a read:

The Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago (MATT) seeks to correct previous erroneous information released specifically about the alleged resignation of the Managing Director of Guardian Media Gabriel Faria.
Further investigation into the matter has revealed that Managing Director Gabriel Faria and Sector Head David Inglefield have not resigned as previously reported by MATT. 
The impasse between the publishers of the Trinidad and Sunday Guardian newspapers and senior journalists has been reportedly resolved following discussions between the two parties. Apart from the resignation of Public Affairs Editor Dr Sheila Rampersad, the newsroom is now functioning as before with Judy Raymond as Editor in Chief. Investigative reporters Anika Gumbs and Denyse Renne, who were initially reported as having resigned, are on the job.
Managing Director Gabriel Faria and Sector Head David Inglefield have not resigned as previously reported
President of the Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago (MATT) Suzanne Sheppard, who is the Business News Editor at the Trinidad Guardian, described the events of the last 24 hours which led to speculation of political pressure on journalists at the daily newspaper as case of a “massive miscommunication” between the publishers and journalists.
Sheppard said she is convinced, following discussions with senior executives, that the events of the past few days when Judy Raymond was asked to go temporarily “off-line” to review editorial standards in the newsroom had “nothing to do with political intervention”.
Sheppard said freedom of press issues were raised only due to an unfortunate combination of events that will be revealed in a press conference on Monday. 
Saturday 13th July 8.00am

And while you pick your jaw up off the floor…and realise that the MATT who cried wolf really just saw a canary….keep in mind these cryptic words from Judy Raymond, Guardian’s EIC last evening..”Don’t believe everything you read…”

Full Dotish….Full Dotisher….And More Full Dotish!

Slap in the Face…

One of the status updates that fuelled the public's response to claims of government interference at Guardian Media Limited.

One of the status updates that fuelled the public’s response to claims of government interference at Guardian Media Limited.

Editor in Chief Judy Raymond...giving it another try.

Editor in Chief Judy Raymond…giving it another try.

If YOU were the Editor in Chief of a newspaper whose motto was “The Guardian of Democracy” and it was reported by members of your staff and the media association you belong to that there was evidence of government interference at your newspaper…..would that be grounds to resign?

And if that isn’t grounds for resigning, what would be?

Today Trinbagonians pretty pissed off with the Guardian newspaper….why? Because they feel they have been taken for a ride by the company’s Board and its Editor in Chief. They feel they have been pissed on from a great height and slapped in the face by the antics of the board and the editorial team at the newspaper.

They are also coming to terms with the bald truth that the newspaper isn’t about good independent journalism, so much as it is obsessed with its bottom line….and no amount of soft soaping from the Editor in Chief, or even from her Business News Editor, Suzanne Shepherd is going to make the reading public feel good anytime soon.

In fact, both yesterday and today you had a Guardian whose content was very much toned down. No stories about government malfeasance or any other kind of misbehaviour at all in its pages. It would be easy to mistake The Guardian’s political stories for the Ministry of Communications’ FaceBook page now.

In the meantime, Denyse Renne and Anicka Gumbs-Sandiford who have been doing a fairly reliable job of unearthing and revealing government misbehaviour are resigned…and I can only offer a pray that the Express grabs them up so that their investigative skills aren’t wasted and the public can have some level of consolation over this absolute fiasco.

There is a lot I could say about the actions or in-action of Ms Raymond and Ms Shepherd. There is talk that this is being done for the sake of the staff. Some members of staff that I have spoken to scoff loudly at that notion.

But what I will say is this…you have severely disappointed the public. You have been less than forthcoming with them about the true details of this fiasco and you have led them on. You owe the population an explanation. And if you have been guilty of poor information dissemination….an apology and your resignations from MATT’s board. Because nobody going to take MATT seriously after this debacle with the two of you serving as President and Vice President. Can you really continue to represent the interests of journalists after this?

Suzanne Shepherd, on Wednesday 10th at 1:42 pm posted this: The most vile attack imaginable on freedom of the press now in progress and I am in the midst of it.

The public didn’t imagine this crisis…they didn’t fuel it themselves….they didn’t ask for it.

As President and Vice President of MATT both of you have a huge responsibility here for the information fed to the Trinbagonian public, the region and the world.

No one is going to forget your behaviour this week, or what it means for our confidence in media and press freedom.

In the meantime, I will get my news from Jamal Mohammed…at least I know his propaganda is solid and undiluted.

Democratic institutions crumbling around us at Full Dotish Speeds!!!

F@$K The Presses!

Gabriel Faria (left) with other members of the Guardian Media Ltd Board.

Gabriel Faria (left) with other members of the Guardian Media Ltd Board.

We’re down to one functioning daily newspaper in Trinidad and Tobago…a country that used to have 3.

Press and Media have taken a massive hit under this government in multiple ways. If we don’t have journalists selling themselves off to the government and handling their PR, then we have Government Ministers and state figures threatening the media.

In just 3 short years we have seen Police officers raid newspaper offices twice!

We’ve seen Jack Warner, then Minister of National Security, threaten the safety of both Asha Javeed and Denyse Renne on state television using state resources. Yet today, that same Warner is being touted as a saviour by people too greedy to know true tyranny when they rubbing up against it.

Judy Raymond

Editor in Chief at Guardian, Judy Raymond. It is rumoured she has been reassigned but holds her substantive title.

Yesterday’s meltdown at the Guardian, in which several writers walked off, and it is alleged the Editor in Chief has been reassigned,  is simply more evidence, to add to the ever growin pileg, that under Kamla’s Small Goal side we have no real democracy and the dictatorship isn’t creeping…it is already here. This isn’t the first time since getting into office that people have had to leave media houses. Power 102 experienced mass firings in 2011. Whole programmes were cancelled and we even had political personalities replacing radio hosts.

And even with this…people still defend the party. Well aware that we need an independently functioning media to have a functioning democracy, they still support the antics of this government and its collaborators.

What the Guardian Meltdown should teach us though is how deep into government’s pockets Big Business is…..clearly the folks at ANSA McAl are so dependent on Kamla’s Government for handouts that independence in journalism and even loss of newspaper sales are a small price to pay, in comparison to losing Government patronage…..and we still think Beetham, Laventille and Sealots are the leeches in society?

Clearly the Guardian of Democracy tagline is just a front. Those of us old enough will know that this isn’t the first time there have been meltdowns at the Guardian under a UNC Government. In 1997 editor Jones P Madeira led a walkout of several journalists from the Guardian. They eventually went on to form the short-lived Independent.

Guardian Managing Director Gabriel Faria seems to be talking out of several sides of his mouth. In one instance you are hearing he was fired, then last night you saw him speaking in his capacity as Managing Director saying everything was fine, the Guardian was still committed to the highest levels of journalism and that their two top investigative journalists had resigned because they were refusing to do more work and harder work.

Now therein lies the rub. According to Gabriel Fara, Guardian Media Ltd’s idea of fair and responsible journalism is to have Sampson Nanton question just the Managing Director about a staff walk out. Not one member of the Guardian’s staff was interviewed. Balance in we pweffen!

suruj in orange shirtAccording to Faria, the newspaper wanted its journalists to do more follow up and due diligence with its reporting. Yet today we have a story from Yvonne Webb  that indicates Suruj Rambachan has confirmation from Google that the emails brought to Parliament by Dr Rowley are fake.  Yvonne Webb fails however to do a few things:

1. She fails to ask Rambachan why someone with a HOTMAIL address wrote to GOOGLE?

2. She failed to ask to see the letter.

So, essentially we have yet another piece of writing, masquerading as journalism in the Guardian that only gives you one side of the story.

If lopsided journalism is the hard work people were running from, then I wish Misses Renne and Gumbs-Sandiford godspeed. These two reporters buss more mark on this government than any tsunami Warner has promised and it’s sad they have to go through this kind of upheaval.

Im hearing that more people will join the three resignations that have already been handed in.

But for many workers at the Guardian is business as usual…..and not a word in the newspaper today really telling you about what has happened. The cover-up continues.

I really hope right thinking citizens hit ANSA MCAL where it will hurt…..his pocket. But I know how the thought of giving up Stag or missing CNC3 or 95.1 programming might frighten some!

Big Business and Big Government hug up tight tight in bed together…and the rest of we supporting them Full Dotish!