The state-owned Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) has been accused of operating as if it were an arm of the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP).
The charge comes from General Secretary of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) Dr Jerome Walcott, who said that the main Opposition party continues to be stonewalled whenever it requests airtime on the media entity funded by taxpayers.
As matter of fact, Walcott stated that even though the state broadcaster has announced that it was deep in debt, it has still managed to turn down paid advertising from the BLP.
“There were situations in the past where we offered to pay for ads and we were refused. In March we thought we were making progress, there was the request to have ads aired, there was discussion about having those ads aired, contracts were signed, the times and cost ads were arranged. The ads were supposed to be carried for three consecutive nights but they were only carried for one night and thereafter it was pulled. We wrote CBC and we were refunded part of the monies. A station which is over $100 million in debt and recently admitted that it could not pay outstanding increments, can return cheques,” he said yesterday at a news conference at the party’s Roebuck Street, The City headquarters to launch the BLP’s 79th annual conference.
With Opposition leader Mia Mottley down to address the conference scheduled for next weekend at Queen’s Park, the BLP is demanding that Mottley’s statement be carried live on CBC.
Walcott revealed that following the Democratic Labour Party’s conference in September, during which remarks by the party’s leader, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart were carried live by the state media, the BLP wrote General Manager Doug Hoyte requesting that Mottley be afforded equal treatment.
However, he said four weeks the station has yet to respond.
“I have made the request in writing by registered mail to the general manager of that station on September 15 and as I speak to you this morning some four-and-a-half weeks later, I am yet to receive an acknowledgement of receipt of that letter from the corporation. Apparently CBC, which is financed by the taxpayers of Barbados and should be operating in the interest of all Barbadians, seems to have a recurrent problem with the request of this country’s loyal Opposition party, while ostensibly operating as an arm of the DLP Government,” Walcott charged.
Both parties have been accused of turning CBC into their mouthpiece when in office.