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Wednesday, December 11, 2013
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Matt: Nothing wrong with journalists obtaining HDC housing
President of the Media Association Curtis Williams says journalists should not be disqualified from receiving subsidised government houses or other benefits on the basis of their profession. He was responding to claims made by Independent Liberal Party political leader Jack Warner that he intended to reveal the names of journalists who obtained Housing Development Corporation houses from the present government.
Williams, in a telephone interview, said he did not know what kind of evidence Warner had to substantiate his allegations concerning journalists. “However, what I do know is that if journalists, like all nationals of T&T, meet the requirements for HDC houses and receive them,” he said, “there ought not to be the suggestion he or she is in the pocket of any politician. “A journalist ought not to be disqualified from receiving houses or any other benefits from a government programme simply because he or she is a journalist.
“If one were to buy that argument, then one should also question whether a journalist should qualify for the Government Assisted Tertiary Education (Gate) programme.” What if Warner’s allegation that he had a list of journalists who were bought with HDC houses were true? Did he see this reflected in a lot of pro-government articles in the media? Williams replied, “I don’t know what is a ‘pro-government’ journalist. “I see articles in which the journalist generally tries to cover his assignment as truthfully and as objectively as he can.”
Daren Lee Sing, president of the T&T Publishers and Broadcasters Association, and Kiran Maharaj, vice-president, could not be reached for comment. Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal, in response to Warner’s claims says Warner should not judge by his own standards.
The ILP leader also claimed journalists were being bought with HDC houses and said he had a list of every one of them who received HDC houses. He said some of the houses were in posh Santa Margarita. “I know who live there, I know the homes,” Warner said. Asked to comment on Warner’s campaign style, “Moonilal said, “His platform is called the ‘dutty-mouth platform.’”
Editor's Note: This story has been edited. The original version appeared on page A6 on October 15, 2013.
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