Friday, December 14, 2012

T&T Ministers want apology from Jamaica paper

Suruj Rambachan and Roodal Moonilal said Thursday The Jamaica Observer newspaper owes Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and the people of Trinidad and Tobago an apology.

The government ministers were responding to an edittorial in the paper titled: "The more important issue is abuse of substance".

The editorial referred to allegations by former cabinet minister Verna St Rose Greaves in the local media that the Prime Minister has an issue which was interpreted to be a substance abuse problem. The PM promptly dismissed the suggestion and said she would have nothing further to add on the subject.

The Jamaican paper wrote: "The real problem in the energy-rich republic is not substance abuse, but the abuse of substance. By that we mean the abuse of the substance of government business because of the ethnic stocking of public offices and the widespread perception of corruption."

It added, "Notwithstanding Minister Jack Warner, the current Government of Trinidad and Tobago has systematically practised ethnic stocking; rewarding individuals with positions even though they (are) not qualified, either by professional training or by pertinent transferable work experience."

T&T's High Commissioner to Jamaica, Dr Iva Gloudon, issued a statement to the newspaper on Wednesday expressing disappointment and regret over the editorial.

She said, "As the High Commissioner for Trinidad and Tobago to Jamaica, let me first respectfully say that in my experience, there are times when shouting across the Caribbean Sea does not help a cause. I must, therefore, use this opportunity to say, softly, that it is with regret and disappointment that I read the Jamaica Observer's editorial of Tuesday 11, November, 2012 "The Abuse of Substance".

"My main concern is that so much of what was said lacked, among other things, respect and an overall understanding of the complexity of Governance in the Caribbean. When logic and empirical evidence are not presented one often resorts to generalisations which can become inflammatory."

She added that after two years in Jamaica, she has experienced enough to know "that the views expressed in this editorial hardly reflect the sentiment of the Government or the people of Jamaica. Our two countries remain strategic to the ideals of Caribbean unity and integration.

"Pointing the proverbial finger at each other is not the answer. We must respect each other. We must be sensitive to each Most importantly, institutions such as yours must be used to inform, educate and examine our countries and our region in ways that, in the end, would bring about the cohesiveness that is necessary for us to make significant impact in the current and future global environment," stated Gloudon.

Rambachan told the Express newspaper, "What happened is extremely unfortunate, I think a fair-minded newspaper and a fair-minded board of directors of that newspaper would seek to find the truth which is quite opposite to what they wrote and in that context I think they should apologise to the honourable Prime Minister and the people of this country.

"It was very unfortunate that the newspaper has chosen to write an editorial that lacks facts and truth and goes further to attack a democratically-elected Government that has the constitutional majority...

"We recognise that there are elements in this country who are not in favour with this Government and on a daily basis these elements stir issues to create a psychology of instability in the country, hoping that it would stick and they are using their Caribbean contacts in order to carry out their dirty work...

"Fortunately they have all failed and they will continue to fail because at the end of the day people will judge us by our quality of delivery and our fair and equitable governance."

Moonilal, who is acting as Foreign Affairs Minister told the paper he endorses Rambachan's statements and the statement issued by Gloudon.

"I agree that the Jamaica Observer owes the Prime Minister and the people an apology," said Moonilal.

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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