There is the feeling of déjà vu. To use the Bajan vernacular, the more things change, the more they remain the same. A brief article in the Nation newspaper yesterday [18 December 2016] must have jolted many who read it. In response to a journalist Maxine McClean, Minister of foreign affairs responded, “I have nothing to say to the Nation newspaper”. The import of the statement …
Her statement followed that of Ambassador to the United Nations Tony Marshall a few days earlier who offered a similar curt “no comment” to the Nation newspaper in response to a question about why he has occupied the official residence in a plush area in New York.
BU is always concerned when a fissure appears in the relationship between key government players and the media. The BU household was motivated to launch this blog when VoB agreed to separate Adrian Loveridge from Minister of Tourism Barney Lynch in order to facilitate an interview at Lynch’s request. It is obvious the ‘government’ has an issue with the Nation newspaper although it has not been publicly expressed. When Delisle Worrell, Governor of the Central Bank had an issue with the Nation newspaper he displayed the courage to declare the reason, ignorant though it was.
The media plays a critical role in any society as a purveyor of news – the purpose of journalism is thus to provide citizens with the information they need to make the best possible decisions about their lives, their communities, their societies, and their governments. If key players in the government trivialize the role of the media it means the citizenry will be the poorer for it. Could it be that our political leaders do not care about educating the people? Now perish that thought!
What is scary is that we are shackled with the most taciturn government since Independence in 1966. It is therefore ‘interesting’ that the government has decided to champion all year activities to celebrate our 50th year of achieving Independence. The government does see the value in communicating with Barbadians about being an Independent nation, to educate the nation. It is fair to conclude therefore that the government’s reluctance to share information about Cahill waste-to-energy, the CLICO Heist, Leroy Parris’ deposit of 5 million dollars with the Central Bank of Barbados, hold regular press conferences etc. is a careful manipulation of information to achieve a less than honourable outcome.
The challenge for the citizenry is to discover ways to pushback against obvious wicked practices by sons and daughters of the soil who hold high office. We have a situation playing out where our brothers and sisters have sold us up the river motivated by greed, power and a lot of ignorance. The educated class we reasonably expected to lead the charge – having invested billions in education – have retreated to the comfortable life with its underpinnings supported by popular values and conspicuous consumption. There is no appetite to defend and grow the Bajan identity. We have prostrated ourselves to embrace anything that is foreign.
We have no credible media to represent the people. What we have is a media easily manipulated by others. What we have is a government who is upset when it experiences difficulty manipulating players in the media fraternity a al The BarbadosAdvocate.
What change what! It is déjà vu.