I have not penned a note in months on happenings in my homeland. Sounds old fashioned, but the concept of a state-run medium to be called National Broadcasting Network (NBN) tickles me while I wait for the Oscars to come on my TV screen. In conversation with associates, most Saint Lucians are not surprised, as the Labour government parades their priorities, unconcerned with public opinions.
While I write, there is a 4% bug, aka the "lowcash virus", in the Saint Lucian atmosphere. This development has to do with the government offering for wage increase and benefits. With a take it or leave it attitude.
On the other hand, the government is back to its old tricks, employing a flood of consultants, most commonly referred to as loyalists. Right now there are more consultants in certain government departments than public service employees.
In one instance, it took some uneasiness at the Government Information Service (GIS) and the National Television Network (NTN) before the announcement of three consultants and ongoing plans could be made public. They are Kirby Allain, who was hired to make recommendation and restructure the GIS and NTN, as well as create a blueprint different from the blueprint for growth, for collaboration between GIS/NTN and Radio Saint Lucia (RSL). In case you’re thinking of reading the recommendations to be made by Kirby Allain, don’t hold your breath. Historically, it’s none of the taxpayers business. We (taxpayers) simply have to pay for the report.
The other consultant is a former news director at RSL, Shelton Daniel who has been given a one year contract to host a new mid morning talk show called 90 Minutes and other programs on RSL, as well as a nightly newscast on NTN.
Now here’s the best one. Former press secretary to prime minister Kenny Anthony, Earl Bousquet, who would have preferred a posting in Cuba to hang-out with friends, has accepted a contract to produce and host a TV version of the newspaper supplement, Nationwide, to give his spin and detail his government coming and goings. How difficult could that be for someone who’s verbatim comes naturally.
On this cold evening, almost midnight in London waiting for the Oscars, all of these consultants/loyalist/actors are eligible for a nomination in 2014. But not before the following questions are answered:
• Is the government of Saint Lucia creating an avenue so as not to have use for outside media and give them the stiff?
• Will the media have unrestricted independent access to government information and ministers to account to the people of Saint Lucia?
• Or will the NBN be the sole source to access and direct government information with the sympathetic views of the hosts.
• What checks and balance will be used other than to angle programming to win public opinion towards the Labour Party using taxpayers’ money?
• What will become of attaining factual knowledge of the reporting by NBN?
• What is the cost to the taxpayers in this ‘guava season’?
Already, dissenting voices and opposition parties have to succumb to Radio Saint Lucia to the language of “not approved” for the non airing of community information, news inserts, paid political advertisement and messages.
Based on experience, the theory to merge or “dovetail” the various government information units, RSL and NTN, to form NBN have all the trappings of an SLP defence network. You may take issue with my claim but straight-up to my face; this cannot be denied. Just look at the cheerleaders surrounding this venture. And by the minister for information and broadcasting’s own statement that “the focus of NBN is to highlight government achievement and to disseminate government information.”
So there you have it folks, what more is there to be said. NBN could very well be a grand scheme for the distribution of SLP propaganda. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zREhsv7kHp4