Public Administration and Communications Minister Maxie Cuffie defended the Cabinet's decision to wind up Caribbean New Media Group (CNMG) and re-launch its predecessor Trinidad and Tobago Television (TTT). Cuffie made his defence in response to criticisms of the decision from economist and former parliamentarian Indera Sagewan Alli.
In a statement, Cuffie said contrary to Sagewan Alli's claims, "TTT as envisioned by the Government is not simply a cosmetic name change." Reiterating the position he made at a news conference last Friday, Cuffie said, "For branding purposes, there will be a reversion to the name TTT but that is where the similarities end. "
He said CNMG is wound up, a new board will be appointed and its mandate will be to, "create a company with a bias towards the production and procurement of local content." Cuffie said CNMG was created to be “a new broadcasting company on a commercially viable basis.” He explained that similar to the old TTT, CNMG was supposed to, "operate like and compete against, private media houses with profit as the bottom line."
Cuffie said the new TTT will, "not be solely profit driven and will be established as a public service broadcaster." While this will incur a cost to the Government, Cuffie said, "However, it is a public good for which people expect to pay a price, as borne out during the 2015 consultations on GISL and CNMG." He said as a public service broadcaster, TTT would be mandated to have universal appeal, portray the country's cultural diversity, promote national identity, provide a platform for local content and provide studio and editing services.
He reiterated that the new TTT, "will also be required to provide public and government information and news." Cuffie said to ensure this plan is not a drain on the Treasury, the subvention for the new company will not be increased. He said the new TTT, "would be funded by Government, donors and commercial revenues."