BU observed the Talkback Forum hosted by the Nation newspaper this week and contrary to Editor in Chief Kaymar Jordan’s pronouncement that it was a success, we beg to disagree. Perhaps she measured success based on the 500 hundred attendees and 1,500 streaming the event (it would be interesting to know how many people streaming the event were logged on from Barbados). However, if the Nation newspaper is the people’s choice and is touted to have a circulation of greater than one hundred thousand then some may judge that – at the height of the silly season – the forum should have attracted greater numbers.
Regarding the content of the discussion, BU suggests that the report card cannot be graded with a pass mark if the government side was NOT represented. Yes there was a lively discussion but if the forum was constructed to bring key stakeholders/commentators together to discuss “The Next General Election”, surely a full ventilation of the topic could not have been achieved in the circumstances.
BU has stated on other blogs that the government erred by not sending a representative to the session. We note the general secretary of the Democratic Labour Party DLP) has taken umbrage to the quality of the invitation sent to the Prime Minister by the Nation newspaper, indicating that the Nation deviated from protocol. It does not mean Mr General Secretary that Stuart could not have dispatched an emissary to participate who could have used the opportunity to speak to any discomfort the Prime Minister has with the invitation. A better outcome to addressing public perception. This government continues to have a problem appreciating and responding to the political dimension to several issues.
The DLP must be patently aware that any government managing an economy during an austere time will encounter declining popularity. It is a commonsense matter. In fact the better option would have been to indicate to the Nation Publishing Company that the timing of the Talkback Forum was not convenient and to suggest an alternative date. The fact that the both parties who comprised the Estates of the Realm were not able to negotiate a mutually satisfactory arrangement does not bode well for Barbados.
The political rhetoric being mouthed by the DLP General Secretary George Pilgrim is too little too late. His invitation for Mia Mottley to cross the floor aired on Voice of Barbados would have had a more dramatic impact – though political fluff – at the Nation Talkback session when Mottley was quizzed about her relationship with Arthur. Opportunity MISSED to widen the doubt in the minds of many undecided voters concerning BLP leadership.
What we have noticed is that Kaymar has been at her most strident in the public space when dealing with Talkback Forum issues and CLICO since taking over as Editor in Chief. She participated on a talk show with David Ellis this week and suggested the Talkback series was not a money spinner (words to this effect). She can build her credibility and that of the Nation by attacking other issues which afflict our country. How about being as strident highlighting governance issues listed in the Auditor General’s report over the years? How about rising concern about the National Insurance Scheme and its ability to produce current financials. An issue which has straddled both governments. What about the ‘defunct’ Public Accounts Committee?
Kaymar the Big Interview follow up for you and the Nation is to ask Arthur if he has retreated from the position taken in his famous UWI interview when he condemned Mia Mottley by slurring her lifestyle.