Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart it is reported held a four hour meeting with members of the local press corps and addressed several issues that have been stoking national discussing in recent weeks and months. It is reported he addressed the Cahill Energy issue and that he confirmed the government has pulled the plug on the project, however, contrary to what some have opined, he rubbished the view that government is exposed to being held financially liable for doing so by Cahill Energy. He expressed the usual rhetoric about concerns highlighted by the Auditor General in his 2015 report. Of interest to BU was his lack of confidence in the laws of the land which permit those charged with heinous crimes to be released on bail. To quote the prime minister ‘’it struck him for six’’. He touched on several other issues during his surprisingly lengthy press briefing and only time will tell if this was a sincere leader addressing his people or whether it was about espousing the rhetoric one expects at the start of the political season.
To be honest the calling of a press briefing by the Prime Minister flummoxed members of the BU household. This is a man whose period of stewardship of the country can be characterized by the words taciturn, silent and aloof. The BU household must be given the benefit of a huge doubt about the true motive of the Prime Minister’s press briefing. How many press briefings has Stuart held since the mantle of the office was thrust on him? He has refused to honestly communicate with Barbadians except when he does it on his terms usually at constituency meetings. For those who believe BU is harsh in our assessment he needs only to refer to a few of his Cabinet minsters who have echoed a similar few.
When Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart invited members of the local media to Llaro Court yesterday it was the perfect opportunity for them to have declined and send an unequivocal message to this government that the Fourth Estate must be respected. Instead they all seemed to have been intimidated by the Office of Prime Minister or were directed to attend by the bosses.
What does the Prime Minister mean when he hints that an increase in public servants salaries is in the offing if the economy improves? On the other side of his mouth he communicates rationalizing of statutory corporations will be implemented shortly. One does not have to be a rocket scientist to appreciate that there will be job cuts. Are we not living in a country where banks are paying .25% in interest yet the Central Bank of Barbados is paying a savings bond rate of 7.5% and engaged in the printing of money based on the most recent Economic Review. Did he say he will defend the issue of the return of the 10% for parliamentarians?
Who will hold the government accountable? This is a local media who refuses to share the Cahill Energy documents with the wider public. We have posted the Ionics Freshwater Agreement and local media again has refused to share with the wider public. We have asked for full disclosure of the SBRC agreement while local media remains silent. We are aware that Bizzy William’s companies are major advertisers with local media houses. BU has taken the initiative to send links and messages to senior reporters on Facebook. Yet daily we have to listen to representatives from FLOW, DIGICEL et al being given easy access to the public airwaves. What we have is a commercialization of media products. It is only news if it fits a definition of their making.
What is a known is that with the advent of social media the traditional media will have to reform or become irrelevant, it is only a matter of time. What is known is that our politicians will have to become more transparent in policy making or bear a tarnished legacy to the embarrassment of kith and kin.