Nation News Held Story For At Least Eleven Days – Then Still Engaged In Damage Control For The Government!
After hiding a story of corruption allegations from the Barbados public for at least eleven days, the Nation News today finally printed Fraud Claim – concerning fraud and kickback allegations against the President of the company building Barbados’ way-over-budget and controversial highway and flyover project. We presume that other island media might pick up the story – but even that is not a given. At the time of this writing (12:30pm Barbados Time, Friday, September 14, 2007) neither the Barbados Advocate nor the CBC has reported the scandal.
As Barbados Free Press said last week…
Barbados News Media Again Proves It Cannot Be Trusted
On Tuesday, September 4, 2007, two local blogs – Barbados Underground and Barbados Free Press – published news stories about how Jonathan Lazlo Danos, President of Barbados flyover contractor 3S Structural Steel Solutions, is being sued for fraud and secret kickbacks on another government highway bridge project in Jamaica.
This Is A Huge And Important Story That Should Have Been Covered Immediately By The Barbados News Media
The fact that the President of the company that is building Barbados’ controversial highway and flyover bridges should be sued for fraud and secret kickbacks in relation to a similar bridge project for another Caribbean government is a HUGE news story. The Barbados highway and flyover bridge project is worth hundreds of millions of dollars and was awarded by the Barbados government behind closed doors under circumstances that have even the most jaded government supporters shaking their heads…
… This joint refusal of ALL the Barbados news media to cover a story of national importance about allegations of fraud and secret kickbacks by a man who is in charge of our national highway and bridge project is unforgivable.
At best, it shows that there is no freedom of the press in Barbados. At worst, it shows a conspiracy by all the major Barbados news media to hush up what should be a crisis of credibility for the Barbados Government…
INSIDE SOURCE: Barbados Blogs’ Print Editions Embarrassed The Nation Newspaper Into Covering The Scandal
According to our sources, the story published in the Nation News today had been ready to go for a week, but the Nation News held the story back pending permission of the government! Even after Barbados Free Press launched a printed edition on Monday, September 10, 2007, senior management at The Nation dithered because the story was likely to embarrass the government. (ed: Disgusting)
When Barbados Underground published a highly comprehensive flyover article in their printed edition (link here) on Tuesday, September 11, 2007, that was the final straw for many of the journalists at The Nation News. A staff rebellion had already been brewing since the blogs broke the story online on September 4th and taunted The Nation and other Barbados media for failing to cover such important news. The tension was heightened on Wednesday morning when several Nation News staff members brought copies of the blogs’ printed editions into work. At least one of the journalists said that they had not printed the blog paper themselves but was given it by someone else.
According to one of our sources, this proof that the two Barbados blog newspapers were in actual circulation sent the newsroom and senior management into a frenzy, yet senior management met late Wednesday morning and still no decision was made to run with the story that had already broken in print on the streets of Bridgetown!
Senior Management At The Nation News Consulted With Government Before Printing The Story!!!
And here comes the best part, my friends…
Our sources each independently confirm that after Wednesday’s meeting, the Senior Management at the Nation News consulted with various government personnel as to how to handle this news story. “We’ll get back to you” was all they could get from anyone in government. By the end of Wednesday no definitive answer had been received from the government and the journalist rebellion was gaining momentum. According to one source, “By Thursday morning the tension (between staff and management) was like to be cut with a knife” …
… and still no decision on how and when to print the news!
On Thursday morning senior management again met to discuss their problem – they couldn’t get anyone from the government to either comment on the story for the record or to provide a blessing for running “at least something” to stop the embarrassment for the newspaper. By Thursday afternoon a series of “door closers” (meetings) had still failed to produce a decision and with the mood in the newsroom described as “ugly as sin” the decision was made to “print something, anything – just don’t use the work ‘kickbacks’…”.
Lies Of Omission, Twists Of Truth
That decision on Thursday afternoon resulted in the article found in today’s Nation News – which is devoid of the word “kickback” or any comments from opposition parties or anyone who might cause readers to ask how we know such kickbacks are not part of our flyover project.
The failure after 11 days to have anyone in government comment upon the story is concealed by falsely implying to the Nation’s readers that this is a “just breaking” story. Minister of Public Works Gline Clarke was “unavailable for comment yesterday” (Thursday) as he was “convalescing in the United States”. Acting Minister of Public Works, Senator Tyrone Barker said he couldn’t speak on such matters “off the cuff”.
After all – this is a just breaking story, don’t ya know?
And what about the Prime Minister, or Deputy Prime Minister? One would think that someone senior in government could have been contacted for such an important story where the Nation News took ELEVEN DAYS to write a few paragraphs.
Why wasn’t the Prime Minister asked to comment on fraud and kickback allegations against the contractor of our half a billion dollar highway project?
Ah…. Now there is another story…
Why Has Government Been Unable To Comment On This Important Story?
Our sources tell us that Prime Minister Owen Arthur has been “unavailable” for most of the week.
Which is also why no one in government dared to make a decision for The Nation News about when and how they should present their 11 day old “breaking story”.
There is much, much more to this entire story. We’re working on it and Barbados Free Press readers will hear more when we have sufficiently confirmed what we are hearing from various sources.
Meanwhile, you might want to write to the Nation News and ask them why they sat on a story of national interest for 11 days.