Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 4th 2014 Contents A14
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt May 4, 2014
A platform shared by former United
National Congress (UNC) chairman
and minister Jack Warner and former
UNC attorney general Ramesh
Lawrence Maharaj yesterday prompted
hopes that another RamJack faction
was in the future.
The two, who formed a brief alliance
back in 2009 with the Caravan for
Change, spoke again about joining forces
for social change in the face of public
dissatisfaction with the People's Part-
This alliance, called the Platform for
Change, will see the two speaking at
meetings throughout the country for
Maharaj described Prime Minister
Kamla Persad-Bissessar as a "weak
leader" who let her ministers do what
they wanted regardless of the conse-
quences. He criticised her complicit role
in the unfolding "prisongate" issue and
said she was wrong to allow Attorney
General Anand Ramlogan to investigate
his own office.
Maharaj recalled being screened to
contest the Tabaquite seat in the build
up to the 2010 elections and said he
was denied because of a strong and vocal
stand against internal corruption. Warner
was already speaking and paused to ask
Maharaj to tell the crowd what Persad-
Bissessar asked him during the screening
process. Maharaj said Persad-Bissessar
asked him if there were allegations of
corruption against the Prime Minister
and the Government, would he stay
quiet or be vocal.
"I said madam, I would be more vocal
than I was years ago," Maharaj said.
"The Prime Minister is the weakest
Prime Minister we have ever had, even
worse than Chambers," he said.
He called on the public to be more
involved in what was happening in the
country, saying that the waste of tax-
payers money directly affected the coun-
try. Warner, speaking after Maharaj, said
a "gang of six" benefitted from the pris-
He called on the Congress of the Peo-
ple to come forward and speak out
against what is happening in the Gov-
ernment as they spoke out against him.
Warner said he was going to write to
the Commonwealth Secretariat regarding
Ramlogan's excesses and will also write
to all the Attorneys General within the
Commonwealth to inform them of Ram-
Maharaj said he was unifying with
other groups to fight for social justice.
"It is not a political alliance."
CHARLES KONG SOO
Veteran broadcaster and man-
ager Vic Fernandes says the
media must be the watchdog to
guard against the threat to press
freedom and democracy.
He was speaking at the T&T
Publishers and Broadcasters Asso-
ciation's (TTPBA) tenth annual
dinner and awards for media excel-
lence at the Hyatt Regency, Port-
of-Spain, on Friday.
The awards were presented to
Port-of-Spain Gazette editor Andre
Terrence Paul Ambard and veteran
calypsonian Andrew Marcano
Fernandes said, "We as media
are the gatekeepers of the public
information process and must crit-
ically examine and report on mat-
ters that impact our societies.
"We must persistently demand
of our elected and appointed lead-
ers accountability and disclosure
on matters of public interest and
if we won't do it, then who will?
"I submit that in supporting the
Caribbean Broadcasting Union
(CBU) The Caribbean Media Cor-
poration (CMC) and Caribbean
Vision, we're recognising that in
the region it is necessary to have
both a delivery system for cross-
culture of our countries and also
to have a watchdog overlooking
the role of the media."
He said the media had the
capacity to police itself and democ-
racy came with a price of eternal
Fernandes said the fourth estate
must be the overseer of democracy
to our Caribbean nations and can-
not drop its guard as the threat
was ever present.
He said one of the most impor-
tant responsibilities was the sup-
port for and promotion of cultural
industries. Fernandes said T&T
and Jamaica were in the forefront
producing mas men, musicians,
writers, Nicki Minajes, Rihannas,
Bob Marley, Sparrow, Arrow Dave
Martins and Tradewinds.
He said while he personally did
not support legislating quotas,
broadcasters had a sacred obliga-
tion to support authors writers and
entertainers and not use the over-
worked excuse that the media
reflected what the public wanted,
as the public was largely influenced
by what the media provided to
Fernandes said training for those
who guarded the airwaves was
needed, likening the releasing of
an untrained communicator on the
airwaves to giving a child a molotov
cocktail to play with.
...to fight against PP corruption
join forces again
'Media the watchdog against
threat to press freedom'
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