Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Trouble In Paradise: Antigua and Other Caribbean Nations Show How A Free Press Has A Price

Discouraging Words Are Discouraged As Islands Refuse To Let Sunshine In

The feisty blog Barbados Free Press brought our attention to an item from Caribbean360.com about how Antigua gave the boot to the editor of the local daily paper, the Antigua Sun, under the guise of immigration violations.
This happened, despite the fact that Vernon Khelawan is a citizen of the Caribbean Community and Common Market, where people who live in any of the 15 member nations are supposed to be able to travel freely.
The government also deported Lennox Linton of the privately owned Observer Radio.
In case you were wondering, Antigua's constitution explicitly guarantees freedom of the press, but Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer doesn't seem to concerned about that for now.
Regrettably, incidents like these are hardly shockers in the Caribbean Basin, according to Barbados Free Press.

Folks in larger countries do not realise the power that small island governments have over their citizens and their local media. If a reporter or a citizen says the wrong thing or asks the wrong questions in Barbados, Antigua, St. Lucia or a host of other Caribbean islands, they probably won’t have their leg broken when they answer the door in the middle of the night…

But their wife or brother will be fired from their job for no apparent reason. Or that building permit that their sister wanted won’t come through. Or their good friend’s computer servicing company will suddenly find their government supplier designation “under review.”


Anonymous said...

This is so error-filled (regarding widely available facts) that it's hard to know where to begin. In fact, I won't. But I will say try to at least get the facts right before venturing to blog on a subject.

Steve Gosset said...

If you had bothered to read the blog entry properly, you would have noticed that most of the entry was devoted to citing other sources, who are certainly entitled to their opinion.
"Widely available facts?" If they're so widely available, then how about providing them.
What's more apparent, to me and others, including journalism groups, is that there's the appearance that Antigua's leadership is conveniently enforcing immigration laws to its own advantage to silence a critic, and maybe even applying those laws improperly.
You might disagree with that assertion, but that doesn't necessarily make it a fact. If you have something more concrete to add, why not do so with some "facts." Since you can do that anonymously, it wouldn't hurt and can even enlighten.
That's one purpose of this blog. It's easy to throw flames, but I'd rather it be done when we are all on the same page. We might disagree, but at least we're all disagreeing from the same foundation. Cheers.