One year ago, on 26 January 2018, Minister Stuart Young called into a radio programme hosted by former Senator Mariano Browne and tried to read a prepared statement.
Almost one year later on 24 January 2019, his colleague Minister Fitzgerald Hinds physically storms the radio programme co-hosted by former Minister Ralph Maharaj to respond to an article which the co-host wrote for a newspaper.
What is common about these two incidents is that Ministers of Government apparently operate under the misguided notion that it is acceptable to barge in on independently operated programmes and have their way.
Well, Mr Ministers, you are wrong. You do not own independently operated radio stations and you have to earn space in the print medium to communicate your messages.
Let us not forget the negative response given to the late former Prime Minister Patrick Manning for similar action. As a rule of thumb, turning up uninvited to anything is just impolite. My ghetto-born mother told me so and I wonder how goodly Minister Hinds didn’t hear his own mother saying the same thing.
Or is it that power has consumed his mind to the extent that he feels he has a right to engage without invitation?
To say that the media landscape has changed is an understatement. This incident occurred in a radio station and a video clip of it was shared on social media. Because the sharing method is not easily trackable, the full extent of its reach is not known.
Previously, this uncouth behaviour would only have been exposed to the listeners on the radio station; but current media channels allow the incident to be shared, viewed and commented on privately and publicly anywhere in the world.
The lesson here for Minister Hinds and his cohort is that you have to be on your best behaviour at all times. Big brother is always watching!
Minister Hinds is a successful role model for many young persons. I hope that they are discerning enough to understand that icons sometimes misstep. This was a misstep by the Minister, so don’t take the message of bullying—which it portrays—as one of the behaviours to be emulated.
Minister Hinds and this government continue to blunder their communications strategy and tactics. They select ‘low win’ opportunities.
Their key messages are not cogently framed. Their style of communication has become either harsh and overly aggressive or convoluted and confusing, as evidenced by the lame attempt of Foreign Affairs Minister Moses in the Venezuela issue.
Communication 101 suggests that if there has been inaccurate reporting in one medium, do the strategic assessment and either seek a retraction or equal exposure of the correct information. There is also the opportunity to have a one-on-one discussion about the framing of the content and to provide the correct information directly.
It speaks volumes to contemplate that former ministerial colleagues cannot have an interpersonal exchange to resolve an issue. The unfortunate message to the population is ‘let’s fight this out on the public stage and show who is in charge now’.
Well! Employed MPs, citizens want better from you. We long for intelligent discourse in measured tones. The time has come for civility to return and our elected leaders—whose salaries come from the wallets of citizens—must lead the charge and embrace politeness and civility.
Editor’s Note: Click HERE to see Fitzgerald Hinds’ appearance on I95.5FM.
Response from MP Fitzgerald Hinds:
As I read deeper into this commentary by my sister and friend Dennise Demming, I grew more and more sympathetic and ashamed for her! The entire piece in based in ordinary uninformed ignorance as to the facts. It must be that whoever second or third-handed these untruths to my sister, did not respect her sufficiently or as I do, in order to ensure that she is not so sheepishly misguided!
What is worse, is that Mrs Demming did not take the time and exert the level of professionalism that she so often hankers for and criticizes others about. Worse still, it appears that she did not heed her grandmother’s advice, that she ought not to be too hot under her collar; and that she should drink her porridge cool! Sip it!
Mrs Demming accused me of “turning up uninvited.” She accused me of impoliteness! It sadly appears that even though a video clip from the discussion at the studio of i95.5fm to which she referred was featured in the article published on line, she perhaps did not even view that or did not trouble to obtain and view the entire encounter.
If, she had done so, she would have heard the co-host Darian Marcelle, before I arrived, promise the listenership that I was expected. She would have heard him welcome and introduce me to the said listership when I later arrived.
She would have heard her “victim” Ralph Maraj indicate that he knew that I was coming, but did not know what I was going to talk about. She would have quickly and easily learned that I was in fact invited. With that truthfully behind me and in front of misguided Dennise, it must by now be clear that the entire commentary is corrupted by a false premise. All fruits from a poisoned tree!
Will Mrs Demming act professionally, heed her dear grandmother’s advice and example by getting the truth and rendering an apology, in order that my sympathy and shame for her be reconciled?