by George Alleyne
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart today nimbly deflected a question on Barbados’ support for Venezuelan opposition protests, and steered clear of current issues involving local journalists.
Responding to a question on whether Barbados would assist in restoring democracy that is supposed to be under threat in Venezuela, Stuart acknowleged there was unrest in that South American country and told the Inter-American Press Association conferenced being held at the Hilton, Barbados, that his government would do all possible to ensure an end to disturbances so the democratically elected government of the day can function.
In his address, the Prime Minister spoke in generalised terms of the historical relationship between media and governments with CEO of the Nation Newspaper, Vivian-Anne Gittens, who along with two colleagues face criminal charges for an item published, sitting at the head table.
“Enlightened governments too, need newspapers because they need an informed public if they are to maximise and optimise the pursuit of their agenda for development and for nation building,” he said, and added, “The existence of a healthy relationship between the two sides, based on mutual trust and respect, is therefore, an indispensible prerequisite to the achievement of the democratic ideal to which both governments and the press aspire,” he said.