Sunday, November 18, 2012

Letter: Patriotism lacking in negative reaction to OPV settlement

Last Wednesday, the Attorney General, Mr Anand Ramlogan, SC, announced (via a media briefing at his offices), that closure had finally been brought to the touch-and-go OPV arbitration trial our nation had been engaged in against BAE, one of the biggest transnational corporations on the planet. 

The news went viral immediately, as expected. And why not? Regardless the outcome, the sheer magnitude of the stake involved would have had a huge impact on the Treasury's bottom line and also the local, regional and international assessment of the seriousness, capacity, sagacity and ability of the legal and political will of Trinbagonians in the pursuit of getting their just deserts in the sometimes treacherous ocean called "international trade". 

However, it dominated the airwaves and Internet in ways totally unexpected (in fact, downright shocking), for the media initially all but called the Attorney General a liar, making me wonder to which country those who control the media belong.

Because of the import on our National Coffers (as I mentioned in my first paragraph), one would have thought the news that we triumphed over BAE would have been taken in the same grain, therefore would have instantly generated the same rush of patriotic euphoria as we saw when Hasely Crawford captured gold in Montreal in 1976, and when Claude Noel whipped Rodolfo Gonzalez comprehensively in an epic contest for the WBA Lightweight Atlantic City in 1981, and when Leslie Stewart triumphed over Marvin Pops Johnson at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, and when the Strike Squad came close against USA in 1979 then came through against Bahrain in 2006, and when Keshorn Walcott soared his way to Field gold this year in London, and when Maestro Brian Charles Lara drove, cut, flicked and smashed his way to batting records which still boggle the imagination and still confound the so-called critics. I can also say the same of Janelle Penny Commissiong, Giselle La Ronde and Wendy Fitzwilliam.

But no! Nothing of the sort occurred: instead, every media house at first and more than once, slanted their reports in a manner to suggest they would not believe until they put their finger inside the wound and twist it around to make sure. 

It was as if the media houses, man, woman and child, had divested themselves of their Estate duty to report truthfully and had joined the PNM in its fruitless endeavour to cloud every issue by making kuchoor where none existed or is possible. 

Regarding the PNM, on Thursday morning last its PRO, Senator Fari Al-Rawi, appeared on CNC3 and matter-of-factly told the nation that no reasonable comment could be made until after he got and read an authentic copy of the settlement. 

His inferences were obvious. as to both the PNM and the media, they both chose to rely on a clearly unsubstantiated, unaccredited report from the Evening Times (a Scottish publication) to declare that the AG had lied.

This unexpected, unpatriotic and downright hostile initial response of the media literally forced the Attorney General to hasten to the House of Representatives on Friday last to repeat the same BAE statement he'd made two days prior. 

By that time, the Evening Times had retracted its story completely, removing every so-called unimpeachable leg of authority on which the media and the PNM had tenuously relied to rail against the news of Trinbago's victory against BAE. 

I couldn't help but comparing his being forced to go through the same statement again to the fact that sometimes we just have to flush twice, if you know what I mean? 

Maybe that's why I'm noticing how reason has replaced mischief in today's newspapers: there are a number of prominently-placed articles lauding and highlighting the work of the Attorney General, Anand Ramlogan, in the matter of Trinidad and Tobago versus the BAE transnational conglomerate. 

In future, I hope the media would display a more patriotic spirit when reporting news of our interactions with foreign companies, regardless whether we win, lose, or draw.

Thanks for for publishing this.

Ayodele Chieng | Irving Street, in Petit Bourg.

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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