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AS A PROUD BARBADIAN, my first reaction to the Sputnik news story about the Political Prostitutes Party (PPP) was embarrassment and curiosity. I wanted to know why a Russian government-backed newspaper would be interested in Barbados and how it got the story.
But on reading it, I was forced to conclude that the story was not a hit job, but a well-researched and well-sourced piece of journalism. They quoted and provided links to their sources so that you could see the original material for yourself. This is a practice I would like to see our own local online newspapers and other online news services adopt.
I went the further step of searching for previous stories about Barbados in Sputnik to see whether this was a one-off; but no, there are several stories about Barbados that are equally well-written and sourced.
Even the headline Swapping Erections For Elections: Prostitutes Dip Toes In Caribbean Politics is not merely sensational, though it could be seen that way. But objectively, it is also witty and humorous, and accurately captures the content of the story, not to mention the attention of readers. But, of course, as a Bajan, it still makes me cringe.
There is just one sentence in the whole piece that I could take issue with, mainly because the sources were out of date.
I came away with the impression that Sputnik’s journalism in this instance cannot be seriously faulted and any argument that the story was planted or a hit job simply cannot be sustained.
We must be aware that what happens in Barbados has serious implications, and that we are being monitored by the Russians, the Chinese, the Americans and just about every other world player. We are embedded in an interconnected world and cannot escape the consequences of our interconnectedness.
The Prime Minister cannot simply refuse to call elections and think because he is following the letter of the law, that it’s just a local thing. He cannot open the door to a political circus and think no one else is watching.
Tragically, the political sycophants have already started crying wolf, alleging that the story was planted by the opponents of the Government, as though it’s not the whole of Barbados that suffers from the body blows to its reputation. No one needs to plant anything; once it’s out there, it will be picked up.
I urge every Bajan to take a step back and objectively assess what’s going on and consider the nature of the world we live in today. We are at a crossroads as a nation, and if we keep getting it wrong, we can lose it all.
– DAVID BRATHWAITE