‘Emailgate’ PNM complains of social media ‘mischief’

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It must be ironic and bordering on bizarre that an organisation which publicly introduced bogus emails in order to unseat a government is now protesting posts on social media.

Stuart Young, basking in his brief stint as a frontline government minister, has intoned that social media is being used for mischief.

Young is a member of an administration led by Dr. Keith Rowley, who while in political opposition in May 2013 introduced the now-widely discredited “emails” which recklessly touted treacherous and sinister threats by public officials.

Rowley consistently declined to take responsibility for the “emails”, insisting that his sole responsibility was to expose them publicly.

After extensive separate investigations, the police and Integrity Commission dismissed the alleged social media communication.

Rowley held strong to the phony “emails” even after they were debunked by the respective independent investigations.

“Emailgate” remains a blotch on Trinidad and Tobago’s public affairs, a lurid example of the depths to which political contestants would fall in their cavalier attempts to wrest power.

Rowley seemingly thought nothing of the damage to the characters and reputations of people in public life.

Today, Young, a new figure on the public landscape, is deeply bothered about posts on Facebook and other social media streams about T&T’s public life.

To be sure, churlish entries on digital media are an international feature, since these streams permit literally anyone – even anonymously – to become a publisher or sorts and to reach vast audiences.

Neither Young, nor his colleague Shamfa Cudjoe (who has flared similar protests) nor anyone else could successfully use a big stick to curb such rash interventions.

That would take place only through an honest sense of responsibility and patriotism and a professional filling of the communication void.

But PNM spokesmen hardly have the leverage and moral authority to seek to curb wild and thoughtless social media dispatches.

Instead, government policy-makers must consider that flawed digital media posts could be the end result of sloppy official government communications.

We have commented before on the ineffectiveness of Communications Minister Maxie Cuffie.

In the absence of efficient, timely and purposeful official statements, the government is now “shooting” the messenger of speculative and thoughtless posts.

The entire shenanigans should provide an appropriate opportunity for the government to consider its public credibility and communications machinery.

For now, we ponder on the proponents of “emailgate” taking the high moral road on social media and denouncing marketers of “mischief.”

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