CHOICE TV responds to Controversy!

CHOICE Managing Director Wayne Whitfield.

For the third consecutive year, CHOICE TV has been granted exclusive rights to broadcast Carnival events in St Lucia. The decision was made by the Carnival Select Committee of the Stakeholders after media houses participated in a bidding process. That decision was not received well by one media house.
Over the last few days, reports indicate that one television broadcaster in St Lucia has questioned the decision to grant CHOICE TV exclusive rights.
In a brewing debate over radio and social networks, many including talk show host and Vice-President of the Media Association of St Lucia (MASL) are now questioning the transparency of the Select Stakeholders Committee, asking whether it was a fair bidding process.
According to a letter released by the committee dated June 25th 2012, the Committee concluded deliberations on June 9th after a number of meetings were held to consider offers received to contract for broadcast rights for Carnival 2012. The committee says it has acted at all times in a transparent and open manner in the sole interest of Carnival in accordance with its mandate. The letter further stated that each offer was considered based on its merits.
“Following its decision, and in an effort to strengthen the national awareness of the Community Carnivals, the Committee decided to offer another Media House a license to cover the Community Carnival events; the Media House declined the offer and indicated it wished to cover ALL national events.
“In a further effort to accommodate that Media House, the Committee asked the company that was awarded the contract to voluntarily relinquish its right to cover one major national event and offered that national event to the Media House as an incentive to cover the Community Carnivals. The Media House failed to respond to this offer of accommodation and instead resorted to threats of legal action against the Committee. . .The Committee will not be bullied by any party into acting in accordance with such party’s dictates and interests. Moreover, the Committee is satisfied that there is no credibility in the threats of legal action as the facts of this matter can provide no credible basis for a successful challenge to the Committee’s decision,” the letter stated.
Meanwhile, Managing Director of CHOICE TV, Wayne Whitfield sat with the STAR in an exclusive interview and shared his thoughts on the issue.
“In my opinion, I think it is just jealousy. Particularly because CHOICE TV as a young company has really been developing and growing. You find the more established TV stations are now losing that notoriety, that fame. And of course, CHOICE being more youthful and vibrant has gained much popularity.
“I think CHOICE is driven by vision and the others are not, so what they tend to do is follow CHOICE. Right now, everything CHOICE has done has been innovative thus far, and I think the public at large is recognizing that which in turns puts pressure on our competitors. They don’t know how to handle it, therefore, they rebel and surrender themselves to unethical behaviour,” said Whitfield.
The Director further stated that should CHOICE have lost the bid, they would just accept the decision of the Stakeholders’ Committee and support Carnival 2012 in any way that they can without defying the decision.
Whitfield also elaborated on international productions his company has undertaken such as coverage of the St Lucia Jazz Festival for BET.
He says his company has a track record of delivering quality and reliable service that is set apart from other media houses and that, according to him gave him the edge in the bidding process.
“We have been producing the St Lucia Jazz for BET for a number of years now and by extension, BET which has been so satisfied with our work has given us to cover Cayman Jazz for them. This is remarkable you know. A small company in St Lucia with only a few years in operation has been able to achieve this; I mean, my competition has been there for years and have not even been able to broadcast out of St Lucia. CHOICE is the only broadcast station broadcasting outside of St Lucia.”
In response to Delia Dolor’s statement, Whitfield says he is disappointed with her reaction to the matter. He believes she did not gather the facts of this controversy nor did she attempt to make any contact with him to gather more concrete information. He says her statements have raised doubts in the minds of his clients and may have cost his company sales.
“I think the first thing Miss Dolor should have done was consult her other executives. I don’t know if she did and as a member of MASL, which my company is also a member, if my company is at the heart of the controversy, MASL is supposed to represent all of us, you call and you get the facts. Get the facts before you say something on the matter. With the president being out of the country, you really have to get the facts straight.
“When you make a statement, that statement represents the executive and the members, so whatever you say there will be under the microscope. Basically, her comments were regarding transparency and she questioned the process, whether there was a proper process or not. How dare you insult the committee put in place by the Government? How dare you insult the credibility of the people on that committee?” said Whitfield.
In the letter, dated June 27th, Whitfield expressed even more dissatisfaction with the statements made by Dolor.
“As Vice President, Ms Dolor was featured on the news making speculative comments as to the process, transparency and ethicality of the selection of a media house for the live broadcast of St Lucia Carnival 2012.
“She has obviously spoken from a very misinformed point of view, considering that she did not conduct any due diligence on this matter of rights being awarded to Choice TV, and clearly does not understand the concept of broadcast rights. Choice TV is a member of MASL, have attended meetings, was part of the democratic process where she was selected her as Vice President, yet still, Ms Dolor would take to the airwaves without even having the audacity to dialogue with all parties involved, before making speculative statements about the situation.
“Had she done her homework, and called me or any member of the Select Committee of Stakeholders, or had read and understood the media release by the same committee, Ms Dolor would have a clearer picture . . .” the letter read.
Whitfield says despite his company having received exclusive rights to broadcast Carnival, the station in question with objections has since been advertising spots during what may be a possible live broadcast of the main Carnival events.
The STAR did contact the station in question but they have declined comments on the matter.

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