Another journalist under fire

One journalist is under fire from members of the public after she posted a comment on her Facebook page about the prime minister of Trinidad Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

On Friday afternoon, Trinidad’s CNC3 News reporter Ria Rambally tweeted: “Our prime minister is a mother… under whose government children are being murdered. I am so angry!” Rambally made this comment a day after the gruesome discovery of the decomposing body of six-year-old Keyana Cumberbatch, who went missing earlier this week. On Friday, an autopsy conducted by senior pathologist Valerie Alexandrov revealed that she was sexually assaulted while unconscious, or when already dead. The cause of her death was given as blunt force trauma to the head.

Cumberbatch’s body was found stuffed in a plastic barrel inside her apartment in Maloney on Thursday. She had been missing since Monday.

She was the second child to have been murdered in recent times. On November 20, toddler Jacob Monroe was found dead in a cesspit near his home in Maracas/St Joseph.

These two deaths, especially Cumberbatch’s, have sent the nation into shock and mourning, hence the outburst of Rambally, on the social network. Rambally even went as far as using obscenities towards someone who was pleading with her to keep her emotions at bay and telling her that Persad-Bissessar should not be blamed.

In the exchange with a poster name: DrMikeOfficial, Ria Rambally wrote: “Our prime minister is a mother… under whose government children are being murdered. I am so angry!”

DrMikeOfficial replied: “What does that have to do with the prime minister? I understand the outrage, but keep your emotions in check.”

To which Ria Rambally countered: “Don’t tell me what to do or how to feel. Who the hell do you think you are a**hole?”

DrMikeOfficial responded: “Nice response, very ladylike? All I did was ask a question, and you respond like a bigger a**hole?”@CNC3 TV hiring quality boy.”

A hail of comments in Facebook groups and fan pages were hurled at the reporter, with very little support for Rambally.

One person wrote: “It is unfortunate that Ria Rambally chose to stoop this low and cast blame on the prime minister for the death of this innocent young girl. It is highly irresponsible for a journalist to make such comments! The PM cannot stop anyone from taking criminal action; however, she has the authority through the relevant ministries in her government to bring legislation to Parliament in hopes of establishing deterrents to potential criminals.

“I truly hate politicising a sensitive issue such as this, but I think it necessary to remind Ria Rambally of the actions of the PNM with regard to legislation brought to the Parliament in an effort to prevent incidences such as this. I am sure Ms Rambally in her infinite wisdom, would remember, in 2011, when the PM and her government brought the Capital Offences Constitution Amendment Bill (the Hanging Bill) where the PNM refused to support it! Then again in 2013, the Defence Amendment Bill, where AGAIN they refused to support its passing!

“Ria Rambally, I don’t need to explicitly state where the ‘blame’ should be laid… you are a smart woman… well… I would hope!

“Interestingly, as well, it is indeed peculiar that Rambally was never vocal while hundreds of children were murdered under the PNM’s watch! And they say the media isn’t biased! SMH!”

In the meantime, Persad Bissessar said in a statement: “The murder of young Keyana is a tragedy that is simply too horrific to imagine. My thoughts and my prayers are with Keyana’s family, but as Prime Minister, I will not allow this to happen to our children. I will not allow it to continue, enough is enough! And to the one who is responsible for this crime or any crime such as this, we will find you, and we will punish you!”

Over the last two weeks Facebook has been buzzing with allegations of another journalist from a leading newspaper in the country who has allegedly been
using her position in the newsroom to extort multimillion dollar contracts from newsmakers.

The journalist in question is said to have found allies on both sides of the political divide.

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