Last update: 08-Dec-2013 4:55 am
Sunday, December 08, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Media personalities Ian Alleyne and Errol Fabien have agreed to withdraw their services from Guardian Media Ltd (GML) while they contest the St Joseph by-election on November 4. Fabien will no longer appear on Vibe CT 105’s morning show Mixed Nuts, while CNC 3 stopped airing Alleyne’s Crime Watch programme from last night.
Both men met with senior GML management at the Trinidad Guardian Building, St Vincent Street, Port-of-Spain, yesterday afternoon, hours after they had filed their nomination papers with the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC). In a release yesterday evening, GML managing director Gabriel Faria said the company’s decision to ask both men to withdraw was part of the company’s policy, which is observed “scrupulously.”
“We are enforcing company policy that once a GML staff member, freelancer or contractor is active in electoral politics, they must withdraw from providing services,” Faria said. "The company policy is that all our stations—radio and TV—as well as the T&T Guardian, must be politically neutral,” he added.
He said while Alleyne’s show was a valuable recent addition to CNC3’s lineup, there were no exceptions to the company’s policy. Faria also said that GML wished to “thank both Mr Alleyne and Mr Fabien for their invaluable contributions to its programming and wish them well in their political ambitions.” Alleyne’s show came to CNC3 in April after rival television station CCN TV6 decided not to renew his contract with them. His show was previously aired on central-based television station WIN TV.
In recent weeks, the Crime Show host had been involved in a public bust-up with long-time friend and lawyer Om Lalla, who is also contesting the St Joseph seat, and a squabble with Independent Liberal Party (ILP) leader Jack Warner over the prospect of his running for the PP.
At a public meeting in San Fernando last month, Warner had announced that Alleyne had been approached by Attorney General Anand Ramlogan to accept a post in Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s Cabinet and in particular the national security ministry post. However, Alleyne subsequently denied this claim, saying he constantly spoke to the AG but only in relation to crime-related matters as he dealt with the daily operations of his popular show.
He, however, said if offered the opportunity to take up a ministerial post he would think about it. Several calls to Alleyne’s cellphone yesterday evening went directly to voicemail and he did not return messages. But in an interview with CNC 3 yesterday immediately after the meeting, Alleyne insisted he would remain with the station.
Fabien on hiatus
In a brief telephone interview yesterday evening, however, Fabien said he was initially unaware of the policy referred to by Faria. “There is a written policy?” Fabien asked. He said yesterday’s meeting brought clarity. “My understanding is that I will take a hiatus until the campaign is over and then we will meet again,” Fabien said. He announced his departure from the radio programme on his Facebook page on Sunday morning.
“Keep the faith, folks, people have a right to have policy for their operations and to adhere to them. 105 has been good to me over the years as have I been to 105. I am saddened but we all must do what we have to do and I must move from the pavement to Parliament,” Fabien said.
Works and Infrastructure Minister Dr Surujrattan Rambachan, who was once a presenter of the Morning Panchayat programme on GML’s Sangeet 106.1FM, stepped down in March 2010 after he decided to contest a seat in the general election When asked afterwards why he stepped down, Rambachan described his decision as a “matter of ethics.”
Alleyne and Fabien’s present situation has been likened to the one faced by former Cumuto/Manzanilla MP Harry Partap, who was forced to part ways with the Trinidad Express newspapers in 1995 after he was selected to contest a general election. Partap held the post of head of that newspaper’s South Bureau before his departure.
However, veteran journalist and former Trinidad Express editor-in-chief Lennox Grant said yesterday there was a clear distinction between Partap’s scenario and the Alleyne and Fabien case. “I don’t see how the two can be compared,” Grant said. He said he could not consider both men as journalists, although they both work in media houses. “Alleyne is a talk show host, show business person and an entertainer. His values have never been journalistic.
“Fabien is not a journalist. I tell him sometimes he is a literal joker,” Grant said.
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