It’s not about two friends of mine…..
But the powers that have gone mad
IN THE INTEREST of full disclosure – Rawle Titus is not just a journalist, but a friend of mine.
So, too, is Richard Simon, the press secretary to Grenada's Prime Minister Tillman Thomas.
In both those cases, we all go way back – and appreciate them at both the personal and professional levels.
I may not agree with everything they have done professionally, and I am sure they have not with me either.
And that’s fair.
People who have sought through the years to take pot shots at Richard, I have always thought are unfair.
Richard works for the Prime Minister, and as long as he in this job, it is to protect his image and to boost him however he can.
He does not have to agree with him on everything or, for that matter, on anything.
That’s how a professional behaves.
If I were in his position, I’ll do the same.
Now, a few people have called me and said Richard got Rawle fired from the Grenada Advocate newspaper.
Knowing the two gentlemen as I do, I don’t think it was anything personal, and I don’t think Richard got Rawle fired.
The system got Rawle, and Richard just manages to work for the system.
And I have no less regard for either gentlemen today, than I had of them yesterday.
As a graduate from the University of Hard Knocks – I am acutely aware of how the cookie crumbles. And I have the scars to prove it, though I never want to complain too loudly.
We must get the message – the system will get you – whoever you are – once you are “manish” enough to stand up to it.
And it does not respect old friendships.
In debating what’s before us, let’s not get the real fundamental issues muddled in personalities.
You don’t have to like Richard or Rawle or both, to understand what’s at play here.
MWAG’s new stance now against Tillman Thomas should be no different from their stance against Keith Mitchell when he was in power.
Thomas, as Prime Minister now, is the head of the “system” as Mitchell once was.
And as the head of the snake, they will do whatever they are allowed to do, and can get away with, to protect that system.
There is always going to be a natural tension between those who head the system – and those whose day job it is to question the system.
That’s why all politician love those who question the system when they are out of it; and watch them with suspicion when they get into it.
And then they find ways to justify their attitude – as if they are in defense of some broad unquestionable power that is beyond reproach.
Naturally, the Prime Minister’s Office will soon respond to this new development (see the MWAG statement), with a response they were just “asking” a newspaper to correct some “inaccuracies”; and they are guarding against “irresponsible” Journalism.
(BTW, through the years I never understood who ever appointed the system to be a guard against anything irresponsible; when their conduct; their spending; their policies; their politics – are the epitome of irresponsibility).
It is one thing for anyone to point out inaccuracies, which any responsible journalist must correct if it is found beyond doubt to be such.
But since when do you demand “an apology and retraction” in two letters about some perceived “inaccuracy”, without it being seen as undue pressure when it comes from an office as powerful as the Prime Minister’s?
And when the reporter says he is satisfied with his information – after cross checking it again – you still insist on an apology – to the point where he had to standup not just for his dignity but his manhood – so that a frightened Barbadian team – unschooled in Grenadian political realities – got cold feet and sent a man home they concede that they never had to question his professionalism before.
If the letters from the Prime Minister’s office were not meant to be used as undue pressure – why the demand for an “apology” – if you said it was just some inaccuracies?
And if the reporter decided to stand by his story, isn’t the normal thing in that circumstance to release your version of events – and let the public decide?
Anything more will be to try to bully people from your position of strength.
Just as a side note – seeing the story in question was really about internal party going-ons – how come agents of the state in the Prime Minister’s Office were the ones that were back and forth on the issue?
Do they really know what’s going on in the party to ask for rebuttals?
And what about the Prime Minister’s much vaunted separation of powers?
Or is it like democracy, and press freedom? Are all those virtues, just virtues when they are convenient?
And then, they will have the gall to come up with this talk about “irresponsible” reporting.
We should be more afraid of irresponsible government.