13th October 2015
Port of Spain
Re: Dr. Rampersad and the Colm column
According to the words of Nelson Mandela in an interview with Ted Koppel "one of the mistakes that some Political Analysts make, is to think that their enemies, should be our enemies".
Dr. Indira Rampersad in her Saturday column sought to describe Finance Minister Hon. Colm Imbert MP's budget presentation as "politricks". This in my opinion was unexpected from an analyst who has not entirely succeeded in appearing unbiased to the public during the lead up to the 2015 election campaign. To maintain the credibility that a position of Political Analyst requires, a scientific or researched opinion is expected.
If the urban definition of politricks holds true, politricks is the word "politics" altered to convey the empty-campaign promises often experienced after politicians get elected. This doesn't at all describe the mode of Finance Minister Colm Imbert during his Budget Presentation.
Colm Imbert did an excellent job in delivering a confident and solid budget presentation which he aligned to the People's National Movement's (PNM) 2015 Manifesto. This is the correct composure necessary at this time to help restore much needed confidence in the government. Where does the idea of politricking come from in this regard?
A preamble incorporating the state of affairs that the government met upon assuming office was highly appropriate and appreciated by the public to quell their many suspicions.
Dr Rampersad's column was particularly misleading in stating that the Finance Minister said that the Rapid Rail would be completed by the end of September 2016. A review of the presentation would reveal that the Minister gave a timeframe of the end of the fiscal year for a decision on the best financing option.
It was also strange that Dr. Indira Rampersad sought to identify the number of votes that were garnered by the Opposition. This I thought had no relevance to the column.
The quotations from Dr. Rowley's victory speech and his speech at the opening of parliament called on the nation to unite and work together in harmony. While from all reports the nation embraced this as a healthy way forward, it was referred to as "rhetoric" by Dr. Indira Rampersad.
Finally the columnist made another misleading comment that if not handled properly, the repercussions of interfering with GATE can be more political than economic. This was outrageous because the PNM introduced GATE and had to rescue the Medical Students recently from the UNC's cut in the GATE program.
There are many who may have thought there was a trend in Dr. Rampersad's offerings as an analyst which tended to favour a particular side of the political divide. On May 26th 2014 for example, in a C news interview Dr. Indira Rampersad said she believes that PP Government's approval rating will improve nearer to the 2015 General Election. This statement came after both the Local Government Election and Chaguanas Bye Election defeats for the partnership.
Dr. Rampersad has a duty to the Express Newspaper as well as the public to ensure that her columns are properly researched and represent the facts to the best of her knowledge. This particular column lacked in this regard.
Public Relations Officer