The ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) has slammed the publication of a list of people who owe to the state-owned Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) over $1.5 million, accusing an unnamed member of staff of betraying the broadcasting company.
While neither confirming nor denying that his party was among the entities heavily indebted to state broadcaster, General Secretary George Pilgrim, who also sits on the CBC board, said his concern was the “shameful manner in which confidentiality was breached”.
“I do not comment on party accounts and as a board member I do not comment on board matters. I bet you that all those persons’ names that were mentioned in that article may very well now have to receive an apology from CBC because this cannot be fair to the clients. It is a breach of confidentiality and my phone hasn’t stopped ringing as a result of that issue,” Pilgrim told Barbados TODAY this afternoon.
According to the local newspaper article published yesterday, the state media entity was making serious efforts to recoup $1.6 million, the bulk of which was owed by Government corporations and departments.
The National Cultural Foundation (NCF) tops the list at $257,783 while DLP, categorized as a private client, owes the TV station $109,609, second only to the NCF.
The article stated that the list of debtors and the amounts were revealed in an email from financial controller Kim Sealy-Lewis to the management team and account executives on August 23.
Even when confronted with the poor optics of the circumstances, Pilgrim insisted that it was the staff who would be most affected by the revelations, as financial institutions may now be reluctant to give loans to employees because of the perceived financial issues at CBC.
“The staff told me that they were concerned because they don’t know how a fellow staff member could betray the organization like this when they know full well that we go to the banks for loans. The next minute CBC is going to be treated as an institution that is not financially stable. This is not about the party, it is about the staff. It adds to the vulnerability of all the staff and it is not at all fair to them,” Pilgrim argued.
However, in statement released this morning, the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) said both the DLP and the CBC management should be ashamed of themselves.
BLP General Secretary Dr Jerome Walcott, who in recent times has accused CBC of operating as an arm of the ruling party, pointed to the debt as clear evidence of “how crude partisan politics is destroying our state-owned corporation.
“We see such action as totally improper because it undermines and eventually destroys the governance of the institution, and leads to dissatisfaction and low productivity in the workplace. No wonder CBC staff continually express discontent with the goings on at the corporation.
“It is ironic that the DLP’s General Secretary George Pilgrim sits on the CBC board; its General Manager Doug Hoyte was a DLP candidate; and its Deputy General Manager Rodwell London boldly declares his close friendship from school days with the late DLP leader David Thompson.
“As key party players one would have thought they would have been able to ensure that the DLP bill was paid,” the statement read.