Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar pointed an accusing finger at the Trinidad and Tobago media yesterday and, in particular, a Trinidad Guardian reporter as she railed about “rogue” elements in the Fourth Estate.
Schoolyard wisdom suggests, though, that when you point one finger, four are invariably aimed right back at you. Mr Live Wire has decided to test that cliché.
Finger one: Jack Warner. The National Security Minister ominously noted that he knows where one Trinidad Express reporter lives and much more besides.
If only Warner knew where he kept other people’s money; the 2006 World Cup players and earthquake ravaged Haitians are all ears.
Finger two: Janice Thomas. “Janice” knew the email address of the Express editor-in-chief and one of its reporters and she let them know she was mad enough for two people about their scoop on Reshmi Ramnarine. It turned out that Thomas actually was two people and both worked for Persad-Bissessar.
Finger three: Jamal Mohammed. The Communication Minister tried to split himself in two as well after he wrote a letter to Express and TV6, which accused the organisations of bias. Mohammed unsuccessfully argued that the letter was written in his private capacity. However, he boosted his claim of being stupid, which he once tried to have recorded in the Hansard.
Finger four: Anil Roberts. The Spalk Minister somehow suggested the FIU—and not the Media Complaints Council—should investigate a reporter he disapproved of.
Slandering a reporter while simultaneously requesting sympathy for having supposedly been slandered is further proof that irony is wasted on the PP. It probably explains too why Mr Live Wire does not get fan mail from politicians.
Persad-Bissessar insisted she was a friend of the media and reminded her audience that the government spent $300,000 on last year’s International Press Institute conference. The PM did not offer a recap of her feature address at the conference in which she said that the PP would move to abolish criminal libel.
At the time, Persad-Bissessar agreed that criminal libel was often used by governments to intimidate the press.
To which Anika Gumbs-Sandiford, Reginald Dumas, Bishnu Ragoonath, Daryan Marcelle, Andre Baptiste, Ricardo Phillips, Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan, Ian Prescott, i95.5FM and the Guardian, who were all sent or threatened with libel charges from Roberts, might have said: “Amen.”
There was nothing heavenly about the Prime Minister’s latest salvo, though.
Mr Live Wire thinks that the press taking lessons on integrity from this government is like a chubby child accepting diet tips from an obese friend.