The new MATT executive. Photo CCN TV6
By Marcia Braveboy
Caribbean News Now Senior Correspondent
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad -- A new executive has been elected by the Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago (MATT).
After a series of controversies and failure to attract members to its previous election meetings, MATT members finally appointed an interim management committee
headed by senior journalist Sunity Maharaj to ensure the association held elections with a respectable turnout of members.
Saturday’s election was held via video conferencing to accommodate journalists from San Fernando and the surrounding areas.
Seventy-four members voted, the highest turn out in over a decade. And for the first time members voted by secret ballot after a vote was taken in favour of that option. This is allowed by the MATT constitution. The constitution says voting shall be done by a show of hands unless otherwise decided by the members.
Curtis Williams. Photo Trinidad Express
In close race for the top spot, freelance journalist Curtis Williams pipped WIN TV’s Sheldon Yearwood 35 to 32 votes to win the position of president.
Williams is energy reporter for the Trinidad Guardian and Caribbean correspondent for the Oil and Gas Journal.
Other nominees were: Anil Goorahoo, Sheldon Yearwood (president); Wayne Bowman, Sampson Nanton, Sunil Ramdeen, James Saunders (vice-president); Kalifa Clyne, Acshah Gulston, Paula Lindo, Anil Seerattan (assistant secretary); Cindy Raghubar (treasurer); Joel Julien (floor member).
Treasurer nominee Karen Cozier Phillip and floor member nominees Nathalie Chrysostom and Kwesi Hopkinson were all absent from the elections. But members were still allowed to vote for them if they wanted to.
The new executive team is:
- Curtis Williams, President - Freelance journalist
- Khamal Georges, Vice President - CNC3 television journalist
- Akash Samaroo, Secretary - i95.5fm radio - Reporter
- Omatie Lyder Asst Secretary - Editor-in-Chief: Trinidad Express
- Carla Bridgelal, Treasurer - Reporter: Trinidad Express
- Richard Charan, Floor member: Trinidad Express
- Jabari Fraser, Floor member - TV6
Five of the elected members from the secretary to the floor members work for the Caribbean Communications Network (the CCN group), a member of One Caribbean Media (OCM).
The two top positions are held by members who work for the Guardian media group, where the latest controversy hit the association and forced the resignation of the entire executive
Unlike previous election meetings, there was a healthy turnout of members for Saturday’s elections.
Among the changes that members want for the association is a more stable MATT and more training for journalists.
The last two elected executives collapsed with the resignation of the elected members; Williams said that must not be allowed to happen with the newly appointed executive.
“We cannot have executive pre-collapsing,” Williams said.
He added he is pleased with his team and looks forward to working with them.
Maharaj encouraged the newly appointed team to consider appointing sub-committees as was done in the past, so the expertise of associate members can be utilized in helping develop the association.
Associate members are not allowed to vote at MATT elections, but can assist in the running of the organisation.
The interim management committee that saw the successful election process through was media consultant, Sunity Maharaj, TV6 journalist Faine Richards, University lecturer Kayode James and journalist and owner of Wired 868 Lasana Liburd.