“[…] I am firmly of the view that no minister who has been or is involved in any shady financial and business dealings should be serving in the government of my country.
“My problem with Mr Mark Bassant’s report is that it is pitched over my head—and, I dare say, the heads of the average intelligent citizens. To understand fully the contents of his report, one would need to be adept at financial matters, via the requisite training and experience…”
The following Letter to the Editor, which offers feedback on veteran investigative journalist Mark Bassant’s investigative series on Minister of Youth Development and National Service Foster Cummings, was submitted to Wired868 by Louis Williams of St Augustine:
I am not a journalist and, at my age and stage, I never will be. However, I have great admiration for those persons who have dedicated their lives to this noble profession.
It does not mean that I always agree with their point of view on various matters under consideration. However, I know that the reports we see and read from journalists come against the background of, among other things, very painstaking attention to detail and unusually long hours at work.
Unfortunately as well, given the heavy demands of that occupation, many journalists neglect their health and family life.
I heard that investigative journalist Mark Bassant of CCN TV6 was going to be presenting to viewers, during the week of May 1 to May 5, a report on the financial and business dealing of Government Minister Foster Cummings. That peaked my interest, given that I am firmly of the view that no minister who has been or is involved in any shady financial and business dealings should be serving in the government of my country.
My problem with Mr Bassant’s report is that it is pitched over my head—and, I dare say, the heads of the average intelligent citizens. To understand fully the contents of his report, one would need to be adept at financial matters, via the requisite training and experience.
I imagine that Mr Bassant’s report would be very useful to those persons, inclusive of the TTPS, with such specialist knowledge, education and training. Nonetheless, he needs to simplify his report and bring the rest of us on board. That would require him to have another go at it and return to us in due course.
The allegations against Minister Cummings are very serious, and the ordinary citizen needs to fully understand what actually transpired before any conclusions are drawn.
Fairness is of paramount importance in such a matter.
Jaill seems to have missed my point.
If the objective of Mr Bassant was to address his concerns to those authorities with the relevant expertise or access to the relevant expertise then I agree with Jaill that Mr Bassant’s report achieved its objective. That is not to express an opinion on whether or not Mr Bassant’s concerns are valid. It is a question of the target audience.
Incidentally, consistent with what Jaill has stated, I had indicated, in my letter, that the information provided by Mr Bassant, in his report, should attract the attention of the TTPS ( an institution with the relevant expertise and/or access to the relevant expertise). The TTPS ought to thoroughly investigate this matter and leave no stone unturned. Both the general citizenry and the Minister Cummings deserve no less. Similarly, I agree that the Prime Minister ought to take an interest in this matter and seek expert advice on the contents of Mr Bassant’s report. This report may be helpful in the Prime Minister’s decision-making regarding Minister Cummings’ future as a Cabinet Minister.
The point I was making in my letter was that if Mr Bassant’s target audience was the man-on-the-street, then I do not think he achieved his objective. Indeed, many such persons have indicated to me that they found the report to be cumbersome and confusing.
What is likely to happen in such a circumstance is that such persons will simply accept the opinion, on the contents of Mr Bassant’s report, of someone they trust. Such opinions are often enough very misleading.
To guard against the misrepresentation of his investigations/findings, Mr Bassant needs to simplify his report for the benefit of the man-on-the-street.
I am confident that an experienced journalist like Mr. Bassant could, possibly after consultation with reputable colleagues in his profession, find an appropriate method to bring on board the man-on-the-street.
I suggest that the report/reporter achieved its/his objectives in an emphatic manner. I am sure it caught Mr Cummings boss attention. And it has done enough to raise questions in the minds of many ordinary people (even among those of ‘average intelligence’) that something is amiss with the transactions in question. This suspicion is further cemented by alleged attempts at back dating Source of Funds declarations etc. That alone sends a signal that some attempts were being made to sanitize the process i.e. something wasn’t right. The ball is in his court to prove otherwise.