The serious errors committed by the Gleaner which carried the breakdown of vehicles purchased by the JLP cannot be overlooked as not significant. As a media we need to be very careful what we publish. You see we have a very close parliament as it relates to the number of seats on both sides of the House. So the government is naturally sensitive about its public image. This position that was taken by Dr. Nigel Clarke, Finance Minister is the right think to do. Congrats!
The newly appointed Reader Ombudsman at the Gleaner is a step in the right direction. We wish him well. We hope he will not be undermined.
This publication was the highly circulated flagship paper, the Sunday Gleaner, which carried a breakdown of the motor vehicles purchased by the Andrew Holness led administration since taking office, two plus years ago. This can help to form the level of frugality, an important image or level of extravagance. It is a crucial image as potential or fence sitting electors can lose confidence in an extravagant administration. This is not a joking matter.
The circulation likely doubles other days in the week. Most Jamaicans only buy a Sunday Gleaner, how much of it is read is another matter. Yet it is highly purchased. That is how it is.
The presentation by Dr. Nigel Clarke pointed out that only fourteen vehicles were bought (14) and not eighteen (18) as stated by your article. Four of these vehicles were purchased prior to February 16, 2016. What level of research was done prior to this publication?
Taxes were added to the total figure at the end of the day. Customs handling charges were also added which did not happen before. This made a big difference as it is added to the Carriage, Insurance and Freight (CIF) which impacts the bottom line. This was not therefore, in fact, a fair comparison when one did a comparison of vehicles purposed for Ministers et al under the PNP adminstration of Portia Simpson Miller of 2012.
The previous PNP Ministers et al purchased the fleet they had as per policy. This policy previously pertained under the PNP has been changed by the JLP. So no fleet was left. Should the JLP ministers walk? We do not think so.
Mark Golding was of the view that the Finance Minister should have been sent out a news release and not raise the issue as a ministry paper in the Parliament. Is Golding intoxicated with ignorance? WE HOPE NOT. One does not have to have obtained a PHD to be able to appreciate the circulatory power of a Sunday Gleaner. Does Mark Golding wish for us to take him seriously? Let us hear from you Mr. Mark Golding MP … we expected better from you Sir. We all utter the wrong statements at times.
It is my perspective that the real plan appeared to have been to embarrass the JLP led Andrew Holness government. We are compelled to conclude this as fact as we have no reason to see it otherwise. The Gleaner is not a back street publication so we expect the highest level of accuracy and professionalism. We hope we are not expecting too much. Are we?
Will you give the retraction the same level of prominence as you gave the previous story? Fairness dictates nothing less. To whom much is given, much is expected. That is how it is.
After over a century of unbroken publication you have won our trust. We are sure you can be trusted to do the decent thing and retract your grossly erroneous story. Enough said!
It is not our policy to appear to be attacking other family members in the media fraternity, but this error appears to be the last straw to break ….
What is your perspective? This is ours.
Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie is Senior International Correspondent & Photojournalist for Vision Newspaper Canada.