Politicians work the most whenever elections come around. At this time, they always try to make the right promises and do the right things. This is done in an effort to ensure that the masses cast their votes in the desired direction.
Politicians usually say that each vote counts. But I find that many politicians behave in a manner that suggests to me that they do not see media operatives as voters or apparently our votes just do not count.
Politicians interact with journalists more than they interact with the average person. But, little or no attempts are made to win our votes. Do our votes count?
They speak about what will be done to improve the lives of teachers, sugar workers, police, rice farmers, health care workers and almost every other profession but I cannot recall any politician proposing betterment for journalists. Do our votes count?
Setting aside the fact that nothing seems to be in the making for us, politicians have now gone the extra mile to try to disrespect reporters. Why? Are we not contributing members of society? Do we not pay our taxes? Do we not follow the laws of Guyana? And of course I have to ask again, do our votes count?
Kwame McCoy is kingpin for disrespect to anyone he views as being beneath him. I do not know what gave him the idea that he is above even the least among us. That view cannot be attributed to his level of integrity or moral principles.
Mr. McCoy’s disrespect to the media has been reported on numerous occasions. But what is worrying is that it seems as if Mr. McCoy has begun to coach some others in the People’s Progressive Party.
At the first press conference former President Bharrat Jagdeo held since his return to the political scene, Mr. Jagdeo disrespected a very senior reporter. And this reporter is someone I had looked up to. This reporter, who is a member of the Guyana Press Association, said nothing. He did nothing. He made no known moves to protect himself from further abuse. I asked myself, if he did not say anything, who am I?
But yesterday was bad. PPP General Secretary, Clement Rohee seemingly took up the mantle. He was harsh to almost everyone in the room who posed a question to him. By no means did Mr. Rohee cross the line in the way his comrade Jagdeo did; but it is very unpleasant to deal with that sort of behavior the first thing in the morning. It was at a 9:00 press conference.
Rohee was easily the oldest person in the room as Adam Harris was not there to rival him in this regard. But in no way did Rohee behave like he was brought up (‘old skool’). I wasn’t around in those days but from what I heard, manners was the name of the game back then. I wonder if when Rohee was speaking to Media operatives he remembered that we are voters too.
I did not enter the media to be disrespected.
Rohee was one of the few politicians that I had sincere respect for. During my five intermittent years in the media I never heard about him being involved in corrupt practices; I never heard him give into the highlighting of racial disparity. He never disrespected anyone’s religion nor have I personally witnessed him abuse his power.
I viewed Mr. Rohee as a humble man, and humility is something that must always be admired. But his behavior yesterday was atrocious. I sat there and asked myself, is this the same man?
I do not know if it is the pressure of the campaign season, or if Mr. Rohee just woke up in a bad mood. But oh did he spoil my day.
I do hope that my letter will be taken constructively, I am not a politician, nor do I have ambition to be involved in politics as being in the media has often made me wonder if there is hope on either side. All I want is a change in the way politicians address reporters because we are voters too and besides, we must be views as respectable and contributing members of society.
Kaieteur News reporter
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