If you watched the TV6 7pm News on Thursday, then you should have a clear idea of how deep in the doodoo our media are. And since One Caribbean Media (OCM) is one of the five companies on whose entire or partial assets the National Investment Fund is “collateralised”—not my word; I am beholden to TV6’s expert—we have to wonder about how big a risk we’re really taking if we do decide to put our money where the media group’s mouths are.
Thursday’s newscast was, not to put too fine a point on it, a comedy of errors. Now if you are a TV channel, you’re probably thinking, nothing is wrong with comedy. But you’re wrong. Nothing is right with comedy when your audience is laughing at you. Just ask CNC3 about the reaction to the way its World Cup coverage was organised. People have been calling it “Dumas ole mas.”
Unfairly, I think; after all, I know lots of people who like ole mas.
This time, it was not just the sports that carried errors. The big news of the day (as you could probably have guessed from the advertising envelope in which the Express came that morning) was the official launch of the Minister of Finance’s National Investment Fund.
You can invest at least $1000 in a five-, 12- or 20-year bond and get 4.5%, 5.7% and 6.6% respectively annual interest over the period. The collateral for these bonds is assets from “some of the country’s best performing companies,” among them, as already pointed out, OCM. But all of that is old hat, I suspect.
What we might have learned from TV6 on Thursday is the answer to this question: “What if Government does not have enough money to pay the principle?”
Frankly, I didn’t get the information; I was too busy adjusting to the entirely new idea that any money I invest in these bonds is my “principle.”
Poor Desha! She seemed so shell-shocked to discover it herself that, when the banking expert had answered the last question put to her, presumably in response to the teleprompter, Desha again read to no one in particular one of the questions the expert had already answered and, without waiting for a response which she knew would never come, moved right along to the next item of news.
Sans apology, it goes without saying.
It might be useful to spend some time discussing the special three-part “Traffic Troubles” feature which was so carefully prepared by TV6’s new workhorse, Nicholas Lutchmansingh. But the truth is that, apart from Trevor Townsend’s laughing revelation that no organisation—perhaps the Ministry of Works?—takes responsibility for traffic-related issues in Trinidad and Tobago, I could recall absolutely nothing of interest from the interminable feature.
The fault is clearly mine; my Gingko ran out last week and I have not yet refilled my prescription.
Then they broke for sports. Several things occurred to me during the loooooooooong ad break. The first is that TV6 should give serious consideration to shortening its 7pm news programme from an hour to half that.
Joshua Seemungal’s three-part “Silver Lining” feature of the previous week, designed, it seemed to me, to help fill the extra half-hour, had stretched my tolerance to the limit. And watching “Traffic Troubles” this week took almost as much out of me as actually experiencing traffic woes.
“Traffic Troubles,” I wanted to say out loud, “whoa!”
Of course, I’m not optimistic that the TV6 principals, oops, principles will even think about it. After all, it’s not about us poor viewers but about the rich advertisers. I mean, given the way the banks have been fleecing us all for years with their ubiquitous fees, one understands that First Citizens can afford repeated nightly ads during the news. I think if some musically-inclined citizen were to harmoniously conflate Sparrow’s “Good Citizens” and “Robbery with V,” it’d be a big hit—at least with those of us who have opted to have our bank put us first.
But, pray tell, how long has the ad for Bradford, “the premiere (sic) men’s shop,” which talks about “mens wear” and “Grand Bazzar,” been a prime time staple?
And whether it be ‘jubjub, power mint, Steups, Butternut or NutKrak’r, can you imagine how many sweets you have to sell, hoss, to be able to pay for several prime time ads during the news every day of the week?
So Joel Villafana eventually returned with the sports. Let me say that these days I am just a little more prepared to be forgiving of the local triumvirate—Vinod Narwani included—since I heard the excellent English World Cup commentator make two booboos.
The first was when he said that some team was “reticent to attack,” which makes no sense since “reticent” and “reluctant” are not synonyms. The second was more telling. Had a different team, for example, France, been playing when he made his error, he might have opened himself up to charges of being racist. In the event, he twice referred to England’s “Congo line” for the corners, which is either a non-Freudian slip or a rare genuine lacuna.
Anyway, Villafana had already got my hackles up earlier in the week in reporting on the TTTTA issue involving Dexter St Louis. Both he and Serjio DuFour repeatedly referred to the “arbitrary panel,” and the phrase even appeared in the written on-screen headline. DuFour, I want to believe in JV’s slipstream, had also murdered French tennis player Gilles Simon’s name.
So on Wednesday I waited to see if there would be an apology. In vain. But although the sports anchor twice managed to deprive the TTTTA of one of their T’s, they got “arbitration panel” right every time.
On Thursday, JV repeated his recurrent error with the first half of “Shimron Hetmyer.” However, perhaps more mindful of his propensity for involuntary nominal manslaughter, he did not mention any name in his introduction of the Wimbledon story.
Serena Williams had defeated Germany’s Julia Goerges (pronounced Gur-gis by tennis commentators). 6-2, 6-4. DuFour read what the ticker tape told us, that Williams had beaten “Gorges” in straight sets to seal her place in the weekend’s final.
Friday’s gentlemen’s semis were contested between Kevin Anderson and John Isner and Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Relief! Even the TV6 pair could hardly mess that up.
But honestly, do you know what I think those in charge of the NIF will do about all that sloppiness? NoF!