Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Letter: The press have a responsibility to be fair and balanced

At my age, a comfortable three scores and three (Thank God), not having the mobility I once enjoyed as a public servant, I spend a lot of time looking at cable TV and of course reading the local papers and listening to the radio talk shows. I enjoy it.

I have worked alongside many ministers in several administrations and have dealt with many persons in the private sector, many of whom I admire for their integrity, efficiency and interpersonal charm. 

Such a person is Larry Howai. I got very upset today (Oct. 28) when I read the column of Keith Subero who has been launching scurrilous attacks on the PM and her Ministers. However, the attack on Howai who has just joined the government has caused me to write. It is unjustified.

Larry Howai is a very successful banker who took the FCB formed after the collapse of NCB, Workers Bank and Cooperative Bank and made it a success through his leadership, innovativeness and his integrity above all. 

I bank with FCB and find it to be most customer friendly and helpful to me. The growth of the bank and its expansion in the Caribbean is testimony to the skills of Mr Howai in growing a local financial institution.

Larry Howai could have stayed in the bank and retired. But he chose to do otherwise. Demonstrating that he was a national to the bone, he entered the world of politics and accepted the challenge of being Finance Minister at a time when the need to settle CLICO and HCU is still around. 

There have been few criticisms about Larry Howai’s decision until now, when it appears that he has strengthened the government of Kamla Persad Bissessar in a no-nonsense kind of way and has brought private sector approaches to managing the finances of the country.

His Budget presentation was good and I believe that it for these reasons that he has come under attack from Subero and company. Though Mr Dookeran did a great job, Howai is more likely to put the country on a growth path and with the presence of Vasant Bharath, himself a successful Management Consultant and Minister Indarsingh who has labour negotiations experience, the Ministry has been strengthened in a way that it was not before these changes. 

One therefore must give credit to the Prime Minister for her ability to attract Larry and to put the team of Vasant and Rudy Indarsingh to support him. This move by the Pm is a good example of leadership and a leader who is a thinking leader. It is a good example of situational leadership.

In attacking Larry Howai, Subero and the PNM are showing that they are worried about the potential for success by Howai in transforming the economy and in making it even more attractive to investments, thereby realizing growth in GDP. It is for this reason that Larry became the subject of Subero’s column which is another anti-government column in the Express newspapers.

It is really unfortunate that the Express would not care to examine its unbalanced approach to reporting about the PP Government but is prepared to continue to damage the govt whether it be by its failure to report on the good work of the govt or by making a mockery of Jamal Mohammed a devout Muslim who only spoke what he believed to be a truth. 

The response of the Express was to classify it as interference with the media. The Express must ask of itself whether it is also not subject to scrutiny in terms of fairness. Maybe it should ask what has happened to the principle of fairness as a value for journalists, or is it about twisting a story for a buck?

Subero finds a certain kind of hollow joy every Monday in his attacks on politicians of the PP government. This is not different to the hiring by the Guardian of Maxie Cuffie and Judy Raymond as “canons” on the PP. The bias is so obvious that it shows up in the letters to the editor where only negative letters about the government have been published over the last few months.

Larry Howai must not be perturbed. You have brought integrity and knowledge to the job of Finance Minister and as well creativity. You are going to succeed and it is this that they are attacking you. They want to depress you. You are a man of sterner stuff as we all know.

By the way, if the Express and Guardian were that fair as they want to claim, why is it that they have not allowed a PP columnist to write on a weekly basis?

Larry Howai is the first of many Ministers of Government who will be stripped naked by Subero and the Express. Unfortunately when you strip them in return it is deemed an attack on press freedom. What a joke!

Chandra Harnanan | San Fernando

No comments:

Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai