What is Housing Minister Randall Mitchell up to?
That is the question which former Housing Minister, Dr Roodal Moonilal, wants answered.
Moonilal issued the following media release on Thursday:
Mr. Mitchell must publicly explain why he took the unprecedented step of attempting to muzzle the media from discussing aspects of his public performance.
The legal move by Mr. Mitchell to censor talk show hosts is a dangerous development, since it is tantamount to scaring and intimidating citizens from exercising their constitutionally-entrenched right to freedom of expression.
Like all other citizens, the Minister has the recourse of legal action if he feels defamed or slandered by public commentators, but his manoeuvre to gag the media is extraordinary and treacherous.
The move seeks to undermine the legitimate role of the media to scrutinise public officials and hold them accountable in their duties, the proper use of funds under their watch and appropriate personal conduct.
In my five years as Minister of Housing, I withstood intense media enquiry and provided relevant information without ever considering the peculiar and dubious measure of seeking to block such investigations.
Indeed, I will defend a citizen’s right to express himself or herself and to call public officers, including myself, to account.
Mr. Mitchell’s attempted gagging of the media ties into the shady activities of the incompetent and corrupt Rowley regime, which has been hiding information from the public and indulging in spin-doctoring and double-speak.
I look forward to public statements on this worrying issue from the Media Association, publishers and broadcasters and other stakeholders.
I also urge media practitioners to continue to remain vigilant in their duties and not to be bullied by the schemes of government politicians.”