You’re no Joe the Plumber, Mr Prime Minister

You’re no Joe the Plumber, Mr Prime Minister

Communication | Judette Coward-Puglisi

November 10, 2008


Local media "got a wake up call from hell last week".  But it could be a blessing in disguise. Why? Because finally and collectively, media houses appear  to have shaken off their  inertia, exhibited by a deafening silence  on the broadcast code,  to take a much required hard stance against  the Prime Minister for his ill fated  visit to 94.1 Boom Champion Radio.


The Express newspapers (still my favourite daily) devoted its prized front page yesterday to editorialise the issue and columnists and announcers both on and off-air have pontificated on the significance of a Prime Minister leaving his barber  in San Fernando late last month, driving some 40 miles into Port of Spain, cordoning off a part of a street and walking into a radio station to complain  about comments he had heard on the air while he was getting his hair cut. 


5 thoughts on “You’re no Joe the Plumber, Mr Prime Minister

  1. The thing that disturbed me the most was the fact that the Prime Minister considers himself an "Ordinary Citizen" when clearly this is impossible.. When you hold one of the highest offices in Trinidad and Tobago you can never possibly be an "Ordinary Citizen."

    My father and I argued about this issue for days and he believes that although he felt that the prime minister was out of place..someone had to put a stop to a lot of issues & a lot of things that take place on air. My argument is not the accuracy of the statement or the fairness but the manner in which he handled it. There is a media complaints council and MATT and other organizations where he could have voiced his opinion and lodge a formal complaint as an "Ordinary Citizen."

    As the Prime Minister you have for your disposal a PR agent..who could have done up an immediate press release to send out to all media houses, clearing up the issuing and asking them to desist from "defaming" you and your government. BUT instead the PM chose to roll up in 94.1 and use intimidatory tactics.i assume that his presence alone is intimidating and call the the bosses into an office and lay it to them on the table "calmly." No Calm man is going to leave San Fernando and speed up the highway, taking a 40-60 minute drive to "calmly" visit a radio station after u were displeased with a statement made.

    My thing is, why didn’t the PM ask the radio station to go on air immediately and have a special sor something of the sort if it was so pressing? Let the public hear what u had to say immediately…

    In a situation like this all media houses and all persons affiliated with the media should let their voices be heard! It makes me feel as though we are heading to a communist society..where is our freedom of press going man? **sighs** Come on Mr. PM…know your place!

  2. Thanks Adanna.

    Your dad is right though but let’s take the conversation further, what happened is now in the past. To move forward, how would you advise the PM. What, if anything, should he be doing now to extend an olive branch to MATT, to the country?

  3. I am not certain how to advise the PM. I would say however, that he should make rational decisions and use his Pr/Communication person/persons to handle such matters. I did see one good thing that came out of the issue; radio stations, tv stations, news dailies and their personnel would realize all over again the amount of the responsibility and power they hold.

    I apologize but i do not quite understand what is meant by "extend an olive branch" I am not familiar with that term..

  4. I agree Adanna. I was just talking about this same issue with a friend last evening, about how easy it is to abuse that power and how we, as citizens, must be vigilant on both sides (the gov’t and the media)

    Oh! and extending an olive branch means making amends. It originated In the biblical story of the Noah and the great flood.

    A freshly plucked olive branch was the first thing to give hope to Noah and his shipmates. This finding was soon followed by a promise that the flood would never be repeated.

    As a result of that incident, an olive branch became a symbol of peace and good will.

    So I was asking how should we advise the PM to make his peace, extend an arm of cordial respect to the media and is it even necessary?

    Oh I feel a blog coming on……

  5. Hi Judette, thank you for explaining the meaning for me. It is much appreciated

    At this stage I really cannot see anything that the Prime Minister can do. Maybe he can outline his grievances and his expectations of the media. Maybe he could push for stricter policies in the media and accountability.

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