N Touch
Friday 17 August 2018
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Letters to the Editor

Reporting standards must be maintained

THE EDITOR: The front page of a daily newspaper has identified three government Members of Parliament from Tobago as having secret keys.

Another has covered the so-called 100 acres “land grab” in Chaguaramas under the former United National Congress (UNC) administration.

While we appreciate the dynamics of media coverage and their responsibility to the public, there are sometimes questions by the public regarding the choice of front-burner issues making the news. Successive governments have created an air of suspicion surrounding affairs of the State but we as citizens have the sober task of keeping our own watch on issues.

The recent story on MPs from Tobago neglected to mention the policy of successive governments to retain appropriate HDC housing units. These units are used to house foreigners on State business, working as technocrats or in other official capacities as well as providing State accommodation for MPs from Tobago.

This is a call for various members of the media to continue the established levels of appropriate fact-checking so as to properly inform the public on issues.

One television talk show host recently singled out the original Parliament headquarters, which we know as the Red House, and said it looks like a People’s National Movement (PNM) building. This building is indeed red and will be ready in 2018 to resume parliamentary sittings.

How about some of the open wrongs that we have witnessed as a nation?

The Prime Minister just revealed that one UNC activist received 100 acres of State land in Chaguaramas, signed off on the eve of the 2015 general election. The Government must be recognised for diligently pursuing and recovering 50 acres of this parcel to be made available to farmers. Giving a UNC activist 100 acres of State land reveals a pattern and two similar events of undue favouritism that took place under the former UNC-led administration can be examined in this regard. The elevation to Senior Counsel (silk) of the former prime minister and the attorney general at the time.

Secondly, there was also the issue on the port of waving customs duty of $7 million on the day of the general election in 2015 as revealed by a former Port Authority board member.

Events in the public domain are sometimes so regular that people get weary of hearing about these issues. However, the public looks forward to the media continuing to be an independent institution in our society which will raise the issues of merit, in the interest of the citizens of TT, regardless of which government is in office.



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