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Written by Ray Roberts

GBN’s Flagship program Beyond the Headlines now has a charming young hostess in the person of Government Senator, Katisha Williams, who is also Grenada’s ambassador to the OECS.

No doubt about it, the young attorney is bright and articulate; therefore this article has absolutely no problem with her academic brilliance and pleasantries.

Instead, the focus of this article is ethics/judgment and the precedent now being set by the owners of GBN — the Caribbean Media Corporation.

Ms Williams is a highly enthusiastic political activist for her government in her community and in the senate; and from all indications, is being groomed as the NNP’s candidate for 2023 in St. John.

Considering her affiliation and significant role in the ruling NNP party and government, is she the fit and proper person to be employed by the Grenada Broadcasting Network to anchor the nation’s number one talk show?

And more so, in a period in which one political party holds all the elected seats in the House of Representatives?

Clearly Grenada’s democracy is not being helped by Ms Williams’ employment in GBN – a station that prides itself for fair and balanced coverage.

There is absolutely no way Ms Williams could be a fair and balanced anchor while being an integral part of the government. She is an overzealous NNP advocate, and people who have contrasting views to her government shall not get a fair chance to debate an alternative perspective. In other words she is an extension of the Government Information Service and the Party organ.

GBN, and more importantly, the Caribbean Media Corporation, ought to be ashamed of themselves. They are directly contributing to national censorship, and betraying the free press. Ms.  Williams is best equipped to host an NNP program; not a program that champions openness.

The NNP Government controls every state institution in the nation, and the media — often considered the Fourth Estate is the one institution that could provide the opportunity for accountability in all areas.

The young lady is a practicing attorney and ought to have an appreciation for ethics and decency.

Why would she want to reduce herself to host a TV show? One has to conclude it is all about creating a state monopoly on information.

The Caribbean Media Corporation ownership of GBN two decades ago was hailed as a new era for the free media.

The Governments of Sir Eric Gairy and Dr.  Keith Mitchell – more than any other – have a horrible history of media abuse.

I was President of the Media Workers Association and, along with the late Leslie Pierre, welcomed the new Trinidad owners. Prime Minister Mitchell gave a commitment that his government wanted to see a professional and free media.

The likes of media icon Ken Gordon and the editors of the Nation Newspaper in Barbados and Gleaner in Jamaica all attended the handing-over, and praised the prime minister.

If Ms. Williams becomes the permanent host then we have returned to the bad old era of government controlled programs

Yes, like-able, but Ms Williams does not bring special talent that GBN cannot find among its workers. Immediately coming to mind are Brenda Baptiste and Joseph Cadore. Both anchor the daily To the Point Morning show, Monday to Friday, and do a great job.

In related news – another government information officer and party activist is tipped to become the new news director at the second most popular TV news station — MTV.

The individual is in the vanguard of her party constituency group — therefore she cannot be considered a genuine personality.

Like Ms Williams, who strongly defends her government’s social and economic programs in the parliament, the new director echoes — over and over — her Prime Minister’s words on social and economic matters.

What a pity GBN has chosen to dump Lew Smith unceremoniously. The veteran broadcaster journalist was an independent minded anchor and earned the respect of the vast majority of Grenadians as a fair and balanced presenter.

Unfortunately we have returned to the days of “Radio and TV Lionel” being overwhelmed by NNP in the two major media houses.

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