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Monday, December 12, 2016


Rick’s one-man “press conference” show with the PM last Thursday night has to be ranked as one of the outstanding tragicomedies in local journalism for the year 2016! It might have been better if the ever omniscient "Mr Universe" had allowed the PM's Senior Communication Officer (SCO) to do her job!  Earlier, the hurried substitution of Mc Hale for the PM as well as the reasons given by the SCO for the "non-event" was even more farcical.

Menissa’s characterization of Sir John as a toothless tiger was a great fit for the once powerful "Mr Universe" that night - as it has been for him for some time now! The show was a genuinely tragic act of "bastardisation" of journalism by someone who deems himself to be a world-class, Weider-inspired, renowned journalist.

Despite his “Americanization”, Rick did not do justice to the practice of American journalism where network anchors irrespective of their political orientation do not stoop so low to politicians in the hope of a "winning a favour". The great Mr Universe stooped to a "new low" on Thursday night which undermined the excellence of his Yankee diction in direct proportion to his betrayal of the "questioning techniques" of journalism. The toothless tiger apparently did not only lose his teeth and venom; but also, his tongue!

If the questioning technique by the Interviewer was without art, then the answers by the interviewee were woefully disappointing and short on substance! The PM obviously did not demonstrate that he had a command of the contents - far less the "nuances" and logic - of an agreement that he has committed his government and people of St. Lucia to, in the way that Dr Hilaire demonstrated! Despite the lollipop questions tossed up to him, he tended to pussyfoot when answering them rather than hitting them over the boundary, suggesting that he might not have grasp the full implications of the deal. None of the clauses in amended agreement was adequately addressed and if they were, then it was only in a highly nebulous fashion. 

If Rick sinned cardinally against journalism, then the PM did the same against logic, rationality, honesty and due diligence.

For example, in response to a question for clarity on the DSH race track, the PM responded that he did not want to mislead the country about DSH; clearly, that was a stark admission of “ignorance” and it might have been better if he had honestly confessed that he had not studied or understood the agreement in its fullness.

Let's juxtaposition the PM to Dr Hilaire on the matter of DSH. One could hardly find fault in the latter's presentation (which preceded the PMs contrived interview with Rick). Perhaps, it might have been more appropriate for Rick to have Dr Hilaire as the guest instead for obvious reasons. In the first place, he may be an authority on the CIP; secondly, he would have been very au courant with the nuances of the DSH agreement and hence give us a comprehensive and global perspective of the nature of the beast which threatens to devour the South. Thirdly, he would have genuinely enlightened the audience on the critical aspects of the deal.

Having said the above, I suspect that the interviewer was no better off; he seemed equally lost on the contents of the DSH agreement. 

In any case, let's give Jack his Jacket: he probably didn't have much of an interest in the ongoing DSH Debate because, among other things, it contained nothing to crucify his "nemesis"; but Grynberg did! Hence, a diversion was predictable and it happened.

Interestingly, it is noteworthy that Chastanet who is facing a major misfeasance case in the High Court against state was "exonerated" in Rick’s High Court of Justice; but Kenny who is untainted by corruption was being indicted for an “imaginary” Grynberg mirage. I don't wish to say much on this because I suspect that there may be a “legal surprise” coming from Kenny's attorneys anytime.

Suffice it to say that, PM Chastanet deserved some marks for scoring a "pyrrhic victory" of sorts over Rick when he demonstrated an inkling of prime-ministerial magnanimity and honesty on the Grynberg matter. He masterfully rebutted Rick’s attempt to nail Kenny when reported that he had contacted two legal experts and they both advised that the Grynberg matter was a dead end; given our knowledge of the provisions of the Interpretation Act, that was hardly any news for us. It was only Rick who could not get out of his fixation. Having said so, it was noteworthy that at the end of the interview that the PM thanked Rick for his work on Grynberg.

Chastanet smartly continued to sideline Rick’s Grynberg’s fixation when he said that the biggest indictment against Kenny was not Grynberg but his failure to do anything for the people of VF.

Rick's “press conference” with the PM was like a pro-wrestling match with much drama and contradiction. Rick foolishly justified Chastanet’s Black Bay deal by saying that the developer for Black Bay "cannot put the land on his back and carry it away"! But according to his Gospel, Grynberg can put the entire seabed on his back and carry it away. Let's see how Grynberg Part 3 unfolds.

Perhaps the highlight of the night was a caveat from a petulant caller warning Rick to put an end to the Grynberg diversion and focus on "bread and butter" and more relevant issues of the day like the bad roads etc. Another caller asked him to let the PM answer the questions. Those callers deflated him and seemed to have tooken away whatever little energy that was left in him.

Thereafter, the interview was on auto-pilot.

The PM gave his rationale for global trotting as climate change: to convince the world that we are not the cause of climate change.

All in all, the interview was disappointing and uninspiring. Both interviewer and interviewee were intellectually flat. It was a sorry night for journalism and politics; and Nicole probably regretted allowing Rick to do her job for her.

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