Wednesday 11 December, 2019

Prime Minister’s office slams ‘misleading’ articles in daily newspaper

The Office of the Prime Minister has taken issue with two articles published in a daily newspaper on Friday, following a near three-hour ‘conversation’ with media hosted by the Prime Minister at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s on Thursday.

A statement from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) on Friday described the articles in question as misleading and false, and disheartening.

In reference to the first article which claimed that Canadian low-cost airliner Sunwing wanted Government to invest in the Turtle Beach Hotel, the OPM said the Prime Minister did not indicate at any time during the conversation that Sunwing made a request to the Government for participation or that the Government would be investing in Sunwing’s upgrade of Turtle Beach Hotel.

“As such the article’s opening sentence “With Sandals Resorts International pulling out of Tobago all may not be lost for the island’s tourism sector, as Canadian-based Sunwing Travel Group wants the Government to invest in Turtle Beach Hotel which they recently acquired” is totally false.”

“Consequently the article’s further claim that the Prime Minister “opted not to give details as to when the upgrade will begin and the cost involved” is nothing short of malicious.”

The OPM stated that Government of Trinidad and Tobago is not investing or contributing any costs to the upgrade of the Turtle Beach Hotel in Tobago.

Another article by another journalist for the same newspaper headlined, “Rowley speaks on Dragon Field Project”, claimed that the Prime Minister stated that the Dragon Gas Field deal Rowley was surrounded in secrecy.

The OPM said there was no secrecy regarding the project, nor was that stated during yesterday’s conversation.  

“In fact the Prime Minister was at pains to point out that the Government continues to be transparent regarding its negotiations with Venezuela. He also pointed out that, to this end, he deliberately took the media with him on two official visits to Venezuela in furtherance of this objective.”

The statement noted that the Prime Minister spent close to three hours in frank discussions with the media underscoring the importance of the need for the dissemination of accurate information and the role of the media and the Government in ensuring that the public is adequately and accurately informed.

“It is therefore extremely disheartening that the reporting coming out of this session calls for these corrections before they take root and become a basis for persistent responses to damaging misinformation in Trinidad and Tobago,” the statement concluded.

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