|Jamal Mohammed: "I apologise if I have hurt anyone or done anything to make anyone feel uncomfortable in any way."|
The apology was for his apparent attack on the media through personal e-mails to Express and TV6 journalists. He sent a private and confidential e-mail to an Express journalist last week in which he took issue over an article that he believed was taken out of context.
Earlier this week he wrote another email to the media - this one to Dominic Kalipersad, head of news at TV6 in which he stated that he was not writing as a Government Minister, but as "an insignificant, Muslim coolie from San Juan".
The email accused TV6 and the Express of a bias against the government. Reporters asked Mohammed about the matter at Thursday's post-Cabinet news conference. That's when he offered an apology and also made it clear that the media have nothing to fear from the People's Partnership government.
"I believe that media in Trinidad and Tobago has the full support and cooperation of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago," Mohammed said. "We view freedom of the press and press freedom as a very important aspect of our development here in Trinidad and Tobago and your best friend in Government is the Minister of Communications."
He said he has learned a lesson from his actions - that he cannot separe his private and public life. "And if I've caused any discomfort to anyone I humbly apologise," he added.
"I apologise if I have hurt anyone or done anything to make anyone feel uncomfortable in any way, but rest assured press freedom is a very important part of the operations of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and I would like that we leave it at that and we would do what we can to ensure that we have a free press in Trinidad and Tobago," said Mohammed.
"We may not agree with what you print or what you publish but we will give our lives to ensure that you have the freedom to print and publish what you would like," he said.
Mohammed did not entertain questions about the matter raised in his email. "I prefer not to make any comment on the content of the letter." He reiterated that the Government of Trinidad and Tobago stands firmly behind the media and pledged to "do what we can do to ensure that we have a free press in Trinidad and Tobago."