Category Archives: News Media

The Guardian affair: a breach of basic media ethics

Guardian Editor Anthony Wilson threatens Barbados Free Press

The following column by Afra Raymond was spawned by events associated with two of our recent stories. On December 30, 2011, Barbados Free Press published Afra’s piece Did former T&T Finance Minister break her oath over CLICO insider trading?

After it all hit the fan between The Guardian and Afra Raymond, BFP published our January 4, 2012 post: Afra Raymond resigns from Trinidad & Tobago Guardian: Paper wants politicians to preview articles.

That resignation story brought T&T Guardian editor Anthony Wilson to BFP. Mr. Wilson was not a happy camper. It sure was unexpected to see a news media professional so upset by a little old blog like BFP to the point where Mr. Wilson threatened us with legal action.

Hey… we’re just telling it like it happened. I guess we expected some of that “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” stuff from Mr. Wilson. Wuhloss! What a disappointment.

Here’s Afra Raymond’s latest in the saga. Let ‘er rip, Afra!

Media Integrity

by Afra Raymond

For those who are only now joining the story, this is a summary of what I feel are the vital issues here.  My commentary column on the former Minister of Finance, Karen Nunez-Tesheira, was sent to her for comment by the Guardian’s Acting Editor-in-Chief, Anthony Wilson.  That is a completely improper action, which is a breach of basic media ethics.  When I challenged that action as being surprising and unprecedented, Wilson responded that “…It is by no means unprecedented territory…”.  At which point I resigned as a Guardian columnist and this broad discussion started.

This is the opening paragraph of Anthony Wilson’s post on Judy Raymond’s FB page on Friday 6th January at 12.04pm –

…In response to Mr Raymond’s comment, let me say that I have NEVER before sent any commentary to any politician or anyone else, apart from our attorneys, for pre-publication vetting. I say that without fear of contradiction and also state that that is NOT the newspaper’s policy or practice. (For Mr Raymond to pursue this point after this denial would simply be compounding the defamation.)…

Quite apart from the unnecessary legal threats, since it was never my intention to defame anyone, we are now being told that this was a one-off decision to send my entire column for vetting.

Two questions arise –

Firstly – Why did Wilson seek to tell me, in relation to his decision, that “…It is by no means unprecedented territory…”?

Secondly, if we accept that his reversal is now the true state of things, there is another issue.  Why was this exceptional consideration shown to the former Minister of Finance?

That is the ‘sole and only issue’.

The three alibis which Wilson has been using on the internet need to be set aside at once –    Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Ethics, Freedom Of The Press, News Media, Trinidad and Tobago

Goodbye to Desmond Bourne “The voice”

Our heartfelt condolences to our friend Ian Bourne and family upon the passing of Ian’s father, Desmond Bourne, at the age of 79.

Desmond Bourne’s deep authoritative voice is what we immediately remember, but what causes us to smile are the memories of Desmond saying so many things that needed to be said – but that no one would say except him.

Head over to The Bajan Reporter to read Ian’s tribute: Desmond MacDonald Bourne – 1932 to 2011: R.I.P my crazy Dad

Photo courtesy of The Nation: Desmond Bourne dies at 79

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Filed under Barbados, Caribbean Media, News Media

The Nation: Barbados’ newspaper of lies and political agendas

The Nation lied: “the letter” was an unsigned draft only seen by a few

Long time readers at BFP know the contempt with which we hold The Nation, and indeed the entire Bajan oldstream news media. The Nation has always been the lapdog for the Barbados Labour Party (for the last 20 years anyway) while the Barbados Advocate crawls on its belly for the Democratic Labour Party. The public broadcaster CBC, of course, sways like a cane in the wind according to the master of the day.

No matter their political leanings though, all of the news media generally protect the political and business elites when and where possible. Some of this protection is because individual journalists are frightened of government retaliation. Fair enough. The former editor of the Barbados Advocate, Reudon Eversley, explained this fear when he said that Owen Arthur and his lot attacked and bullied the press into submission. See Evil as Hell.

But it was the Barbados Advocate that fired columnist Adrian Loveridge at the behest of the then Minister of Tourism – so the Barbados Advocate cannot claim the high ground without acknowledging that they traded their integrity for government advertising revenues.

Then there is the matter of the non-reporting and covering-up of news stories that would be front page if they happened in the UK or the USA. If a Cabinet Minister was shown to be living on land that his government expropriated from a private owner, that would be NEWS in the United Kingdom. If the Health Minister was involved in the online porn industry and made money from websites featuring pregnant teenage mothers or women having sex with horses, do you think the Canadian or US news media would ignore the story? They sure would! But not the Barbados news media.

If the management of a hundred million dollar government contract was shown to be involved in bribes in another country, that would be news, right? Not in Barbados – at least not until the blogs reported the story for almost two weeks and forced the news media to mention it.

So when The Nation falsely reported that eleven members of the DLP Government affixed their signatures to a letter to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, and published bits and pieces out of context to give their readers the impression that the letter was something it was not – that was a calculated move to further a political agenda.

To whom the benefit?

That’s easy: the beneficiary of the fuss was the lapdog Nation’s master, The Barbados Labour Party and Owen S. Arthur.

Here’s what DLP Member of Parliament Ronald Jones has to say about The Nation…

THE Nation Publishing Co., in its edition of the Sunday Sun on December 11, 2011, published an article which purportedly carried contents of a letter written to the Prime Minister. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados News & Media, Corruption, Ethics, Freedom Of The Press, News Media, Politics

Troublemakers in Barbados

UPDATED: June 1, 2012

With the firebombing of homes lately, we’ve put this article at the top for a day or two as Bajans consider what kind of a society we have, and what kind of a society we want. We at BFP do not count ourselves heroes in the grand scheme of things. There are some real Bajan heroes out there, and we honour a few of them in this post…

Where do the troublemakers go from here?

We have to take the next step. We have some ideas that we’ll share in the next few weeks, starting with this one: VOTE INDEPENDENT. Vote for anyone but a Bee or a Dee. We must disenfranchise the ones who for the past 20 years have lied to us and stolen our tax dollars. In truth, they stole our future. They are amateurs playing with other people’s money and consider it their right to skim off the top.

The next 10 years are going to be difficult ’bout hey, and if we’re a billion or two short with nothing to show for it, you can blame the BLP and the DLP.

Original post published October 19, 2011…

by BFP’s Anonymous Cowards

We at Barbados Free Press are anonymous cowards – and for good reason. We’ve seen what happens to the troublemakers on this small island who have the courage to stand up in public and criticize the political and business elites.

Death threats. Arson. Threats to pets and family members. Crops burned. Shots fired at a home. Cars keyed in the middle of the night. Jobs lost. Feces smeared on a business. Homes broken into. Home searched without warrant in the middle of the night. Woman arrested and vagina searched for a copy of the home rental contract. (Really!). Police question your child at school to pressure you.

Oh yeah, we’ve covered all these stories and more here at Barbados Free Press. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Freedom Of Information, Freedom Of The Press, Human Rights, News Media, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption

Barbados Advocate, Nation News, won’t say we borrowed $15 million from China

(Shout out to a reader who sent us the BGIS press release website photo.)

Government press release said “Barbados and China to sign Loan Agreements”

Words matter… That’s why Barbados Advocate, Nation News dropped “loan” for only “agreement”

It’s not journalism – it’s feel-good propaganda designed to make the DLP government look good while keeping the citizens in the dark. Check it out…

Caribbean Press Releases.com says Barbados and China to Sign Loan Agreements

That’s “LOAN” as in “We have to repay our Chinese Massas”.

But the Barbados Advocate says Closer Ties and doesn’t use the word “loan” or indicate in the paper’s entire 300+ word article whether the $15 million has to be repaid.

Then check out $15.7 China deal in the Nation News. Did Barbados sign for a loan? You tell me! The Nation News says that we signed “banking agreements and accounting procedures for the financing”. The words “loan” or “gift” are absent from the article.

Is it a loan? Is it a gift? Why hide it? (He said knowingly!)

Hey… I’m just saying that Bajans deserve better than that from their news media. Doan ya think?

You should check out the Barbados Advocate and Nation News articles at their website and the press release at Caribbean Press Releases.com, but we’re going to reprint all three pieces in full here because you know how it is: the Barbados Advocate and Nation News are famous for erasing history… Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, China, Economy, Ethics, Freedom Of The Press, News Media, Offshore Investments, Politics

More WikiLeaks hit the fan! Journalist Kenton Chance reports on his own relationship with US Embassy personnel

St. Vincent Journalist warned US about decaying freedom of the press under PM Gonsalves, wiretapping of news media

Kenton X. Chance is a Vincentian journalist living and studying in Taiwan for the last five years. He also runs the excellent I Witness News blog and today he had the unpleasant duty of reporting on his own WikiLeaked conversations with US Consulate personnel.

Chance and other journalists in the WikiLeak were concerned about PM Gonsalves using his power to curtail freedom of the press. They spoke confidentially to the US diplomats and now it’s all over the place.

At least Chance has the courage to publish his own words from the WikiLeaks cables. Unlike some folks who are trying to convince everyone that they said not one word of what was reported in many cables for many years, Kenton Chance is not going that route: he’s standing behind what he said.

It’s called “integrity and character”…

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – While Glenn Jackson, murdered press secretary to Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, was the main contact here for U.S. officials in Barbados, according to WikiLeaks, several other Vincentian media professionals were also contacts for American diplomats in Bridgetown.

A classified U.S. diplomatic cable dubbed “St. Vincent:  A Democracy Under Stress” lists two journalists among “an increasing number of Vincentians” who in 2006 warned that “the PM’s fondness for the leaders of Cuba and Venezuela is indicative of his autocratic nature”.

“Legislation recently proposed by the Government would increase Gonsalves’s power to silence his critics, warn several Vincentians including the [Human Rights Association’s president] Nicole Sylvester and journalist Kenton Chance,” the 2006 cable said…

…The cable also relate a conversation that Shelly Clarke, editor of The News newspaper allegedly had with U.S. diplomats.The document cited Clarke as saying that the United States should have funded the opposition New Democratic Party in the December 2005 elections.

… Read the full article at I Witness News: Journalist asked Americans to intervene in St. Vincent: leaked cable

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Ethics, Freedom Of The Press, Human Rights, News Media

Trinidad & Tobago Police investigate emailed threats to journalists

Barbados Police refused to investigate similar government threats here

Trini Police are investigating an advisor to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar for sending threatening e-mails to Trinidad Express journalists Omatie Lyder and Anna Ramdass.

Government advisor Sasha Mohammed belatedly denies sending the threatening emails, but the problem for her is that the police say the e-mails came from her home internet. Mohammed’s lawyers are doing the slippery routine, but one senses a bit of bluster there.

“The e-mails were sent from an e-mail account under the name Janice Thomas which was traced to Mohammed’s computer.”

… from the Trinidad Express story Sasha Under Fire

The fur continues to fly and we’ve linked to some stories in our post – but when you read the newspaper accounts it sounds like there is a possibility that Sasha Mohammed was not interet-savvy. She didn’t know about IP addresses before she hit the “send threatening email” button on her PC. She sure does now!

Barbados Police cover up threats against journalists

It reminds us that the same sort of event happened in Barbados, but in that case the Barbados Police didn’t investigate because they wanted to protect the ruling class. You see, back in 2007 and 2008 a series of threats were made on the internet to murder Barbados hotelier and journalist Adrian Loveridge.

When it turned out that some of the threats came from a computer in the Members of Parliament lounge, well, that was the end of the investigation. Adrian Loveridge filed a formal complaint with the police, but in the end they didn’t even bother to interview Mr. Loveridge. The police did nothing except to protect the BLP government at the time.

Welcome to Barbados where the “rule of law” means that those who rule are the law and the law is whatever is convenient at the time.

Later, a Member of Parliament, Doctor Duguid, confirmed that the anonymous threats to murder Mr. and Mrs. Loveridge and arson their business came from the Barbados Parliament computer. Information posted on another blog even named a Member of Parliament as a suspect.

But the Barbados Police did nothing.

Mr. Loveridge is known for writing well researched news and opinion stories about the tourism industry, but his opinions are sometimes inconvenient for the government. Mr. Loveridge used to do a column for the Barbados Advocate, but was fired when the Tourism Minister of the day, Noel Lynch, threatened to stop government advertising to that newspaper unless Loveridge was sacked.

So the cowardly whores at the Barbados Advocate sacked Loveridge so they could continue to suck on that government advertising revenue. That’s pretty well the way it happened and Adrian wrote about it here and nobody sued him so we believe Adrian.

There is a difference between the Barbados Police and the T&T Police

In Barbados, the police rough up and man-handle journalists, take their cameras, erase the photos and get away with it. When a journalist is threatened by a Member of Barbados Parliament, the police cover up.

Give Trinidad and Tobago Police their due respect for at least this: When two journalists were threatened in emails coming from the home of a powerful government insider, the police did an investigation and by the looks of it they pressed for the truth. At least they did that. Whether they had the strength of will or a strong enough case to lay criminal charges is another story – but at least they investigated the threats and interviewed the suspect and witnesses.

Oh that our Barbados Police could have similar integrity!

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados News & Media, Corruption, Crime & Law, Freedom Of The Press, Human Rights, News Media, Police, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption, Trinidad and Tobago