Just two days after the national media was rocked by a story that first appeared on the Caribbeannewsnow and was featured and commented on by a number of media houses here it would seem like a firestorm has started. At least one public official seems to have taken issue with the reporting of the story by one radio station in particular.
In a verbal statement first aired on Radio Saint Lucia on Friday morning, this is what National Security Minister Phillip La Corbiniere had to say; “my fellow St Lucians, over the last few months there has been a concerted attack on the minister with responsibility on home affairs, legal affairs, and national security in relation to a number of matters concerning my portfolio and concerning me personally.
He went on; “I believe it would be very fair to say that since my entry into political life in this country I have bent over backwards to ensure that the media has complete access to me and also that they feel comfortable in the pursuit of questions directed at me and ensuring that they are able to have those questions answered.
Indeed there have been instances when they have clearly gone overboard, there have been instances when I have been advised that there have been clear cases of defamation and in all such cases I have been extremely tolerant, extremely flexible. The reason for this is that I believe that good government requires the public figures to answer to the public and to the media.
However, over the last few weeks and months it is clear to me that there is a concerted effort to undermine me at personal capacity and in my professional capacity. I have therefore instructed my attorneys at law to pursue certain legal action in relation to these comments over the last few months and weeks. And that has begun. I am advised by my legal attorneys, by my attorneys at law, with effect, as of today, that action is going to be started and served upon Mr Timothy Poleon as well as Radio Caribbean. This is just the first round.”
La Corbiniere says “others are also going to be included and served. I have also asked my attorneys to pursue this matter as vigorously as is necessary to ensure that an end is put to this.
“I will repeat that this is not an attack on the media. I have had and encouraged a good relationship with the media over the years, I have made myself fully accessible to questions, I have made myself extremely flexible and as I have said even in instances where on occasion, in one instance, a book was written and in that book there were some outright lies in that book concerning my own character.
I have allowed that to pass by in the wash of politics but I am no longer going to sit by and allow what is happening in this country to continue down that road under the guise of journalism. And so I want the country to know this is not an attack on the media fraternity. I want the media fraternity to understand it is not an attack on them, it is not an attempt to muzzle them, it is simply that as journalists things have to be done properly and they cannot pursue this type of agenda and feel that it will be alright in the morning. It will not be alright in the morning. Thank you.”
While the minister’s statement was included in Radio Saint Lucia’s midday news, there was no mention of it during RCI’s midday news edition. Timothy Poleon, the host of Newsspin, announced during the show that he would take no calls on the issue.