Newspaper says PM should focus on national issues, not its reportage

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – One of this country’s weekly newspapers has used its editorial to respond to comments by Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves about its reportage on him and his Unity Labour Party (ULP) government.

“The News newspaper today, to put it in local language, gives this government and gives De Comrade hell. I don’t know what ah did [its editor] Shelly [Clarke] Gonsalves said Tuesday.

He noted the high ranking this country received recently by international press freedom watchdogs as he responded to a reporter’s question about when the Freedom of Information Act Parliament passes in 2003 would take effect.

“…during the latter NDP (New Democratic Party) years, when The News was very critical of the NDP, it was not nearly as critical of the NDP as it is now critical of us (the ULP administration),” Gonsalves said.

The NDP was in office for the 17 years ending March 28, 2001, when the ULP came to office.

“The NDP stopped giving them (The News) ads. The government stopped giving them ads. But, pick up any News newspaper and you will see the bread and butter in advertisements is coming from the government,” Gonsalves said, adding, “That is a fact. So you need to take account of that and know that we don’t hold malice over anybody. And we are open and free.”

But The News, in Friday’s two-part editorial, said: “Instead of using valuable time in his news conferences to attack the editor of The News and the News for no specific reason, the prime minister should instead concentrate on telling us how he will be coordinating his charges to fix the things that matter to poor people in this country.”

The editorial said Gonsalves should “Fix the roads, fix the economy, fix bananas, fix the high cost of living, fix the Vinlec fuel surcharge which is higher than the cost of energy used, fix the water rates, fix the carnival poster, fix these things instead of looking for a scapegoat by attacking individuals and trying to change the agenda.”

Gonsalves in the same press conference Tuesday announced that the Vincentian economy grew 0.41 per cent last year, after three years of decline, adding that economists projected 1.5 per cent growth this year.

The News also responded to Gonsalves’ comments about advertisements, saying:

“On the question of government advertisements in the media, one should understand and make a clear distinction between individual politicians, political parties and what is called the government, an institution that employs public servants and is there to serve all citizens.”

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19 thoughts on “Newspaper says PM should focus on national issues, not its reportage

  1. Well NICE RADIO don’t get any adverts, they suffer the spite of being the only radio station who not only is cut from the advertising list, but are also denied government information. Even simple information is denied them, they have to resort to repeating what they have heard on other stations.

    Many of the readers letters in newspapers are planted by ULP, they are not bona fida, even some articles attributed to others are written by government or probably can be attributed to Gonsalves.

    The SVG news paper reporters are frightened to ask Gonsalves questions because he lambastes and belittles them if he doesn’t like or approve of the questions.

    Therefore we get more Gonsalves news and action related stories from foreign newspapers than SVG ones.

    I have sat in on several of these question and answer sessions and can confirm that the questions asked by local reporters are subdued and irrelevant, resulting in suppresion of news and information.

    Posted by Peter | May 20, 2012, 07:22
    • Agree strongly with your final paragraph. Many of our journalists are amazingly pitiful.

      Posted by justice | May 20, 2012, 18:30
  2. “‘…during the latter NDP (New Democratic Party) years, when The News was very critical of the NDP, it was not nearly as critical of the NDP as it is now critical of us (the ULP administration),’ Gonsalves said.”

    Shelly Clarke and The News supported the ULP when they were in the opposition…, and that’s their choice in a free democracy. But, having lived through the years of both administrations and comparing the two Mr. Clarke and The News have had a change of heart. What I gather from this statement is the fact that Mr. Clarke and The News put country over party and politics – the characteristic of a true patriot – a trait that every citizen should have (or strive for). If Dr. Gonsalves is able to come to this realization, shouldn’t he see that he is losing (or has lost) some of his ardent supporters and should look within himself, his party and his administration in an attempt to find out where he has gone wrong over the years? He shouldn’t criticize the messenger. Mr Clarke is an outsider looking in at the state of affairs of both administrations, making a comparison, coming to a conclusion and reporting on his findings (which is more that just opinion). Mr. Gonsalves should then view this as constructive criticism coming from Mr. Clarke, who seems to be quite impartial in his judjment and analysis. Does Mr. Gonsalves really believe that poor people (and then some – many somes) and not hurting in the nation, or does his rose colored glasses only allow him to see the rest of the nation on the same economic footing as himself, thereby not recognizing the needs of the prople.

    Fix the things that need to be fixed. First, start by attempting to return to the years when that banana industry had financial reserves to take care of crops and farmers in the event of natural disaster and crop diseases were taken very seriously and treated with urgency (but, as we all know, that was unbder a previous administration). Start with a genuine concern for the needy, you know…, compassion. They you can follow through with economic policies and fiscal responsibility.

    To begin with criticism of the messenger, my good Dr., is to be complacent in the midst of failure.

    Posted by DWells | May 20, 2012, 07:39
  3. Very Good! Excellent editorial. The News newspaper is the BEST! Ralph, don’t you agree?

    Posted by L Sutton | May 20, 2012, 10:29
  4. To the Government of SVG, Stop giving the news jobs, stop the adverts now

    Posted by READER | May 20, 2012, 12:25
  5. This is a national issue, lets focus on this.

    Los Angeles Times May 25th 2008.

    Excerpt from front page article.
    Rape cases roil Caribbean island nation

    At least four other women claiming to have been sexually assaulted by Gonsalves have come forward since Andrews made her accusation.

    “Ralph is a victim of his personality. He has a very informal style,” Williams [the DPP] said. “Here they call him Huggingson Kissinger, because he’ll greet you with a hug and a kiss.”
    He said the five incidents to which women have sworn statements were either old or unsubstantiated by physical evidence.

    To the allegations of a 43-year-old woman who testified that she was raped by Gonsalves when she was an 18-year-old job applicant at his office, Williams [the DPP] bellowed with amusement, “That was more than 20 years ago, man!”

    Does anyone know who the other women are, what there names are?

    Posted by Peter | May 20, 2012, 13:21
  6. The GOAL of the “socialist orientation” marxist-leninist communists is to COMPLETELY CONTROL AND HIJACK THE FREE PRESS AND ELECTRONIC MEDIA, IN ADDITION TO THE MASS POLITICAL ORGANIZATION, INCLUDING THE WORKERS’ UNIONS [SVTU, PSU, CTAWU, etc.] and POLITICAL PARTIES [SVLP, NDP, etc.] — to ultimately OVERTHROW our free enterprise, representative democratic system in SVG.

    From day one, on attaining office, the unofficial grapevine seriously informed us that the Copycat comrade was visiting the newspaper offices prior to each publication issue to ensure that what went out for public consumption was completely to his taste and favourable to his NARCISSISTIC ATHEISTIC COMMUNIST SELF.

    The EDITOR of The NEWS newspaper was a strong supporter and ally of the Copycat, enabling him to achieve his deceptive political goals. But, in office, the COPYCAT has been grossly, embarassingly, incompetent, inept, reactionary, and repressive. The Editor obviously became woefully DISENCHANTED with the Copycat’s FAILURE to implement any real meaningful developments in this needful State. Instead, the Marxist-Leninist copycat has drastically, atrociously, shockingly MADE MATTERS WORSE for all of us in SVG. As a deeply concerned national, son of the soil, and patriot, who had unheedingly supported the so-called ‘former’ Marxist-Leninist, the NEWS Editor could do no less than to withdraw his political and editorial support from the mendicant hugo messenger who was/is rapidly destroying our State and sending our national economy DOWN THE TOILET DRAIN.

    What’s with the “personal” accusation. ITS NOT PERSONAL COMMIE — just logical, rational, professional business. You so redishly PERSONAL with those who don’t KOW – TOW to you, you twistedly conclude that we are merely being ‘personal.’ SO, the only way you wont accuse us of being personal – – – is if we allow you to ABSOLUTELY, TOTALLY, COMPLETELY DESTROY THE COUNTRY ? To challenge or oppose your RAPID-MOVING COMMUNIST TAKE-OVER TRAIN-WRECK is to lay the Editor, and the rest of us, open to false ‘socialist’ charges of being ‘personal’ ? Your MARXIST communist buddies in Grenada had the usual fool-proof “scientific socialist” METHOD of dealing with those who they deemed to be “personal” – – – they lined up the ‘Revolutionary’ Cabinet members, Mr. Maurice Bishop, Unison Whiteman, pregnant Education Minister Jacqueline Creft, etc., SHOT THEM AGAINST THE WALL, then took the bodies away at night to secretly dismember the bodies, behead them, and SECRETLY BURY THE MURDERED BODY PARTS. Communism KILLS !

    THAT’s how you, with a full communist take-over, would treat those who DARE BE ‘PERSONAL’, i.e., not go along with your ‘soviet’ oblivion slide – – – THE USUAL COMMUNIST WAY. Ask castro wha’ happen to the original heroes of the original anti-Batista coup d’etat, when the CIA assisted him to power and put CIA pressure on that Latin American Dictator to make space for this one.

    The NEWS tried to be independent, objective, rational and professional in their news coverage, and the wannabe ‘international’/ Russian socialist cursed him out, called for a boycott of his paper, berated him, and sought to totally demonize him for simply doing his job. Communists are just simply NOT interested in the free exchange of ideas and fair news coverage. The Marxist-leninists only want false communist propaganda. I have checked the local newspapers for evidence of Government advertisements; the facts definitely do not bear out what the doctrinaire LENINIST is saying, or trying to say.

    Devout Catholic, Vincentian patriot and NICE RADIO STATION manager, and close cousin to the Copycat, DOUGIE De FREITAS, had his NICE RADIO STATION OFFICES AND STUDIO raided, for presumably political harassment motives, SUDDENLY by the POLITICALLY-DIRECTED POLICE. Their peace, tranquility, PRIVACY, CONFIDENCES, and SECURITY were BRUTALLY VIOLATED. The only apparent motives seem to be RANK POLITICAL SPITE AND MALICIOUSNESS. Or, was it for a politician to spy on his political enemies, critics, or detractors who give their private and personal information, IDs, etc., to the station or personnel ?

    You get it : Mr. Dougas De FREITAS, proprietor-manager, and the influential NICE RADIO, do not toe the Copycat’s political-ideological line.

    The Editor of the VINCENTIAN recently referred to a certain non-invitation to an official tour on the West Coast. It is noted that that newspaper, too, has been increasingly showing signs of independence and lessened political ‘control’ by the Copycat and his ‘SOCIALIST ORIENTATION’ crusade. When you are perceived by the Leninist as getting non-dependent, then he turns on the vicious political spite screws.

    In further assaults on PRESS FREEDOM IN SVG, fascist SUE-SAN has been seeking to use a plethora of legal actions and the courts to intimidate or otherwise silence his critics, or any non-supporters. SVG’s laws have been revised and updated, even having the evidence procedures Americanized, But, NOT the archaic statutes most affecting the operation of the FREE PRESS IN A POST-COLONIAL INDEPENDENT SOCIETY – – – i.e., the Laws pertaining to LIBEL, SLANDER, and DEFAMATION. Hence, SVG’s laws in these regards are miles away from the similar laws in nearby TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO. This the LENINIST demagogue cynically exploits. Press Freedom consequently atrophies, and our citizens’ DUTY to protect FREEDOM OF THOUGHT, CONSCIENCE, SPEECH, ASSEMBLY, or JOURNALISTIC FREEDOM, are seriously hampered, stymied, and obstructed.

    A prominent critic of the regime, self-styled SERVANT OF THE LORD, is still MISSING, with no obvious OFFICIAL SEARCHES for him. Fortuitous, or sinister ? Only time will tell. Hopefully not the worse.

    Remember the bungled official declaration of the date for the election, recently. The discredited regime was still prepared to propagandistically extricate itself from that embarrassing CROSSING OF THEIR WIRES, despite KENTON CHANCE’s presented proof.

    With the undiplomatic diplomat incident, almost all the media reports were predominantly given the one-sided reports/ interviews of the Baby dipper. When the NYC-PD and associated side was about to give their side of the incident, then the political henchmen began virtually threatening, intimidating, less the Police/NYPD version didn’t match the previous one-sided propaganda. That’s how the Copycat and company treat news. No apparent objectivity. No fairness. No justice. No rationality. Just opportunistic parochialism. After all, the communist leader LENIN proclaimed that “PROMISES ARE MADE TO BE BROKEN.”

    Much of the real news in SVG is actively suppressed by the SOCIALIST ORIENTATION regime. The COPYCAT beats his chest in boasting that he MANAGES the news. The political carrots and sticks are blatantly employed. Polical patronage and largesse are freely offered as unprofessional enticements. Threats to you and yours are readily made. The more common devices are the public castigations, discrediting, de-humanizing, and demonization. Boycotts are frequently called for or encouraged.

    What is any self-respecting journalist, or print journal owner-editor, to do ? I think the editor of The NEWS simply digs in and conscientiously tries to do his work — his professional best. Despite the OPPORTUNISTIC political attacks and assaults. TIME FOR THESE LENINIST ATTACKS AGAINST THE FREE PRESS TO CEASE.

    Indeed, the personnel and leaders of the SVG HUMAN RIGHTS ASSOCIATION are subjected to even more strident attacks and public redicule. Recently, the two more prominent female leaders of this SVG – HRA have had their homes burglared and thrashed. Could these be politically motivated warnings ? Did the police investigations examine this glaring possibility ? An undisclosed amount of violation of clients’ privacy, confidentiality, and human rights records may have taken place, The safety of the persons of these legal officers of the court and human rights guardians were untenably put at risk and in grave danger.

    A regime oversees increasing threats to the print and electronic media, and the human rights community, and the principal politician begs the question that PRESS FREEDOM must be of less importance than his narcissistic PERSONAL and political coverage.




    Posted by STEVE_ HUGGINS | May 20, 2012, 14:18
  7. Ralph Gonsalves is too petty as a prime minister. He really focuses on the non issues when there are so many critical issues he needs to focus on. This government is terrible that is why the “News” has to be so ‘critical’ of them.But it’s not just baseless criticism, the gov’t is doing lots of nonsense that must be criticised.

    Posted by justice | May 20, 2012, 18:27
  8. Have you ever seen the searchlight carry 1 negative ulp story,not every newspaper smokes from the searchlight crackppe

    Posted by Joe | May 20, 2012, 21:51
  9. Yes! An editorial!

    Posted by Jeannine James | May 20, 2012, 23:02
    • Interesting, what was the date of this said SEARCHLIGHT newspaper Editorial, JEANNINE ?

      As a keen reader of this SVG paper and, I think, sometimes contributor, who has/had very great respect for the founders of that paper, I HAVE RECENTLY BEEN SHOCKED TO SEE THEIR LATEST EDITORIALS SOUNDING LIKE RE-HASHES OF 1970s YOULIMO ‘Freedom’ and ‘Justice’ hate-sheets.

      Anyone of you guys, I challenge you to check those latest editorials online. They reflect ralph-worship, and would put the communists’ propaganda toilet paper, “GRAN-MA” to shame – – – in their slavish, irrational, surrender to communist dogma. I had always the economist and author, had family-friend common roots with the editor, and came to consider their top “proof-reader” as a personal friend. I guess, business is business, and some practising journalists must sing the tune of their perceived masters. All understandable.

      But, an Editorial being critical of the COPYCAT’s leninist regime ? Highly unlike. Maybe, tame critique, well mixed in with some goble-de-gook. But “a negative ulp story” in as editorial ? Not more recently ? Difficult, if not absolutely IMPOSSIBLE TO CONTEMPLATE.






      Posted by STEVE_ HUGGINS | May 22, 2012, 10:37

    Posted by F.U.D.Z. | May 21, 2012, 08:59
  11. It’s unfortunate that things had to get to this state for the News to stand up and do their job, but it’s better late than never. And the Pm is actually shocked at the news for doing something that is normal in most countries, and that is asking hard questions and getting the news out to the people. Keep the fire burning on the Komrade and let’s get some real answer about our country.

    Posted by blane | May 21, 2012, 09:58
  12. READER, if you have nothing real to add, go stick your head up SVG’s largest …

    FUDZ, so your back you foul minded moron.

    PETER, I agree with everything that you wrote, hang on a minute isn’t that me?

    Posted by Peter | May 21, 2012, 16:34
  13. This man has to think he’s GOD. No one should oppose, no one should have a dissenting view, no one should question. And it goes back to before he bullied his way into power. He came to ensure Greaves, Viera, and Bonadie would go out of business. And I know for a fact that the day he uttered such nonsense, their were people in the audience who works at any of these institutions, or, have families that works there, who applauded him. The News is just the latest in a long line of institutions who have come under fire from King Jong Ralph for having an opposing view, and have to nerve to go public with it. Chris Jones, who was once called 2cool by our dear leader, is now 2fool. He humiliated Shelly during the last elections by revealing to the nation what Shelly Clarke was suffering from and how he helped him see a Doctor in trinidad. Even if the man didn’t want people to know of hi illness, Ralph made sure the world knew.
    The bottom line is, our comrade, is probably the pettiest person on the face of the planet. He views himself as king and the rest of us vincies as his royal servants.
    Tow the company line and all is well. I feel sorry for anyone who has to nerve to speak out when things are going wrong in our blessed country.

    Posted by vincy in bad shape | May 21, 2012, 20:33

    GONSALVES, Canada is waiting for you, there is a special welcome awaiting you, Be a man and go to Canada, stop being a coward, if you have nothing to fear go.

    Be a sport, cheer us up.

    Posted by Peter | May 22, 2012, 13:38
  15. Are you more than hinting that the Canadian legal authorities may ssek to snatch him on certain overdue legal actions ? Those would have to be human rights groups, women’s rights organizations, and the private lawyers of certain Canadian or international citizens ? Now, if it was Spain, or the ICC . . .

    Posted by STEVE_ HUGGINS | May 24, 2012, 09:52
  16. WHICH Searchlight newspaper EDITORIAL negative, or NOT FAVOURABLE to Leninist Dictator ralphie’s ULP ?

    Posted by STEVE_ HUGGINS | May 25, 2012, 10:11
  17. The unofficial grapevine tells me that in addition to the SVG government’s information service, there may be A LARGE NUMBER OF CHARACTERS WHO ARE BEING HIRED, with taxpayers’ money, to SPOUT PARTISAN, PAROCHIAL, PROPAGANDA on behalf ot the POLITICAL PARTY of the incumbent administration.

    If these creatures are actually being remunerated by the taxpayers, then they would be in violation of the law, and the civil servant regulations. If accepted, these emoluments make you a civil servant or substantive employee of the public service. To accept these payments, and engage in these politically party partisan, parochial, actions is to violate the laws and civil service rules.

    All such occurences, where they do occur, should be prosecuted, and seriously sanctioned, to the FULLEST EXTENT OF THE LAW. Adequate, FULL, and complete restitution and compensation of all such monies OUGHT TO BE MADE AND COMPELLED.

    All who continue to make such pay-outs, and all who authorize or contenance same, must be prosecuted thoroughly.



    Clean up all political corruption in SVG.

    Posted by STEVE_ HUGGINS | May 28, 2012, 18:43

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