Dated October 13, 2007

Many times local journalists are chastised and accused of not investigating and checking facts before airing or printing. However, journalists must also highlight and note instances where the authorities attempt to mislead the public with false information.
I listened to the Throne Speech delivered by Governor General Sir Daniel Williams on Friday October 12, 2007 and came across this quote during the presentation.
“Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, most recently at the United Nations, Grenada, through the Prime Minister, Dr. the Rt. Hon. Dr. Keith Mitchell delivered in the presence of President George W. Bush of the United States, Chancellor Merkel of Germany, President Sarkozy of France, President Mbeki of South Africa, President Lula of Brazil, representatives.. …..what by all accounts was a well received paper on Climate Change to Small Island States.”

Here are the facts: Prime Minister Mitchell spoke at the Thematic Plenary IV dealing with Financing, speaking on behalf the Alliance of Small Island States on Monday September 24. Four plenary sessions were held simultaneously. President Nicolas Sarkozy of France was the second speaker in the Plenary session on Financing but then left immediately. It was not until Tuesday September 25, the following day, did Presidents Bush, Lula da Silva, Mbeki or Chancellor Merkel spoke at the United Nations in addressing the 62nd Session of the General Assembly.
In fact, Secretary Condoleeza Rice represented the United States at the Plenary Session dealing with Technology. President Bush was at the Waldrof Astoria Hotel meeting with some leaders including the leader of the Palestine Authority.
I attended the sessions at the United Nations so I am aware.
I hope the speech writer wasn’t trying to convey to the public that the Prime Minister’s presentation was well received in the presence of these world leaders, the likes of Bush and others.
It might have been appropriate if mention was made of the President of Senegal or the Prime Ministers of Norway and Sweden or even some of the regional leaders.
Here is a link that can guide you.

http://www.un.org/webcast/climatechange/highlevel/index.asp?go=e070924

The information is not meant for condemnation but for your consideration since journalists are quickly labelled “irresponsible”, “biased” and “unprofessional”, among others.
Journalists must not be afraid to challenge the status quo, whether government or opposition, public or private even though you may be accused of a ‘political agenda’.

Regards
Michael

 
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