Flyover Articles Proof Again That You Can’t Trust The Nation News To Be Accurate, Impartial or Professional
Last Saturday, the Nation News published “Road Review“ – an article that purported to inform Bajans about a “top-level” meeting between officials from the Misery of Public Works and the supposed builder of the ABC / Flyover project, 3S (Barbados) SRL.
We say “supposed builder” because there are so many companies flying around Barbados these days that the mention of a company name in the newspaper is no guarantee that the government contract is actually with that company. As we saw with the prison contract, the name of the company said to be building the prison changed more frequently than my baby’s diaper – so bear that in mind the next time somebody tells you that “3S” is building the highway and flyovers.
Nation Newspaper Requested Permission From The Government To Cover This Story!
Anyway, back to the Nation News article. You have to remember that this is the “newspaper” that needed permission from the government to cover the story of fraud allegations against the President of the company that is building the flyovers. For ELEVEN DAYS the entire Barbados media was petrified to report the story that Barbados Free Press and Barbados Underground had been covering. Even after the blogs published court documents, the cowardly lapdog Barbados media remained silent.
It was only when Barbados Free Press and Barbados Underground published printed editions that the Nation News covered the story.
See BFP’s stories..
So there’s not a whole lot to say that the Nation News can be trusted to accurately report on this or any other story involving government wrong-doing or incompetence. The paper is truly a yellow-backed cowardly dog that would rather beg for advertising bones from the government than fulfill its duty to the public.
As we said a month ago…
… 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…
This Is Professional Journalism?
One would think that after being so embarrassed by a couple of amateur blogs for failing to cover a major story that The Nation News might decide to take a more professional approach. After all, we are talking about another way-over-budget major infrastructure project where, once again (like VECO) the government’s chosen contractor has corruption and kickback allegations actually filed in a court for all to see.
Bajans have a right to expect the largest newspaper in the country might take an interest in such an important story, and send a reporter to cover any meetings or happenings. You know… to ask questions and make firsthand observations like real journalists do.
What do we get in the Nation News? The battle of the press releases…
The October 13, 2007 Nation News article Road Review was written by a master of spin. Readers were left with the mistaken impression that the Barbados Association of Professional Engineers had participated in the press release and that all their questions about ABC Highway and Flyover project were answered in full by the government and the contractor.
To not let this false impression stand, BAPE was forced to issue their own media release that exposed the fact that the government and 3S are stonewalling Barbados engineers and refuse to have open meetings where the government cannot limit the agenda and the questions that will be asked!
So yesterday, October 17, 2007, the Nation News published a story BAPE Still Awaiting Answers which is as much of a condemnation of the one sidedness of their original Road Review story as you are likely to see.
Again, the story is written in such a manner as to cause readers to assume that the Nation News actually had a journalist interview BAPE President Roger Blackman – when all they did was lift quotes from the BAPE press release.
Folks… this is one of the biggest stories of the year – a major infrastructure project, way over budget, corruption charges filed against the government’s chosen contractor, no tenders let for the project in the first place and the project was given to a newly-formed company that hadn’t built anything before. Not to mention that all the Barbados news media covered up the story for eleven days until forced by the blogs to act.
And the lapdog Nation News still doesn’t dare to send a reporter out to ask real questions! How pathetic.
Here is the BAPE press release. Compare it with the Nation News article BAPE Still Awaiting Answers – and then ask yourself… Is this good enough journalism from the largest newspaper in the country?
BAPE Press Release – ABC Highway Expansion Project
The Barbados Association of Professional Engineers (BAPE) wishes to categorically reject reports which appeared in the local press on 13th October, 2007, purporting to summarise a joint statement from the Ministry of Public Works (MPW) and contractors following a meeting held between the MPW, BAPE, 3S, their PR specialist and some of their consulting firms.
The facts are that after BAPE’s recent position paper, a meeting was convened and chaired by the MPW’s Chief Technical Officer on the 11th October, 2007, to discuss our published concerns about the ABC Highway Expansion project. BAPE has on more than one occasion expressed serious concerns regarding the planning and execution of this major infrastructural project. However during the meeting, the chairman advised that matters relating to the way the project had developed could not be dealt with at the level of that meeting. The highway project team expressed their confidence in the design of the highway and sought to address some of the concerns that were raised. BAPE however considers that many of these concerns, some of which relate to matters of public safety, still remain.
BAPE had previously issued an invitation for 3S and the project team to give a presentation on the project at one of our monthly luncheons, or at a session convened specifically for this purpose. Thus far, this invitation has not been accepted. BAPE again, publicly extends this offer to give 3S and the project team the opportunity to present on the main design features of this important project, and be available to respond to questions from the engineering fraternity in Barbados. We believe that this will help in bringing a greater level of transparency and accountability on this project, which will have a major impact on all Barbadians.
THE BARBADOS ASSOCIATION OF PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERS
For some real journalism about the flyover scandal, try the article from Barbados Underground: Flyovers In Barbados Revisited~Barbados Association Of Professional Engineers (BAPE) Stick To Their Guns