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FRONT PAGE EDITORIAL


Barbados Nation

FRONT PAGE EDITORIAL

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ENOUGH!

We do not doubt that governor of the Central Bank of Barbados, Dr DeLisle Worrell, takes the responsibilities of that high office personally. But that can be no justification for him to assume the prerogative to turn public accountability of office into a personal periodic plaything.

The last time Dr Worrell held a genuine news conference to address issues related to the economy was on May 7, 2014. Last night, for the second time since then, he chose instead to go the route of a highly-promoted televised “discussion”, paid for by a bank with declining profits. We note that two hand-picked media men were invited, presumably to lend it journalistic legitimacy.

We do not question the integrity of the two journalists selected by the governor to attend his event, but a stage-managed “discussion” surely cannot lead to creation of the best atmosphere for appropriate scrutiny.

We abhor this obfuscation of culpability and transparency and dismiss it as counter to the best interest of the country.

It is clear from his evasion of our journalists since the 2014 news conference, that Dr Worrell has had major difficulty with the manner in which this newspaper has reported on matters of an economy that has not been on its best behaviour. But we are not yet an arm of the public relations department at Church Village and we will resist any left-handed attempt to corral us.

Carrying out our time-hallowed mandate will naturally bring us into conflict with governors and governments. It is par for the course and requires maturity on both sides. We may not always get it right, but we will not resort to tantrums or the boyish behaviour he may anticipate.

The maintenance of good governance of our public affairs will not be achieved if, on a whim, our leaders choose to create barriers to genuine public scrutiny.

For decades the bank’s standing in the Barbadian community was influenced by the fact that its governors did not shy away from engaging all sections of the Press in robust question-and-answer sessions, providing enlightening information for public consumption.

Indeed, faith in the economic policies of the government of the day was often influenced by the way past governors Dr Courtney Blackman, Mr Winston Cox, Dr Kurleigh King, Mr Calvin Springer and Dr Marion Williams explained particular circumstances and responded to questions from the media.

Subjective a conclusion as it may be, we get the impression that the communication methods of this governor have contributed in no small measure to an attitude of cynicism and mistrust about economic information among Barbadians.

The era of a colonial governor telling Barbadians what he felt like and when he felt like ended 50 years ago. We are not about to celebrate that significant political turnaround by kowtowing to any modern-day Westminster remake of any hue.

We invite Dr Worrell to return to the high road set by his esteemed predecessors.

It is his duty and we will not let the public forget that.

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