Minister of Education St. Clair “Jimmy” Prince, a former media worker says some of what is broadcast on radio in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is “unfortunate”.
He expressed the opinion in last week’s budget debate as he praised the state-owned media the Agency for Public Information (API) and the national Broadcasting Corporation for their work.
“And as I am on public information, broadcasting, let me just say that I am proud of the work being done by the API and the National Broadcasting Corporation. I put them in the same basket,” said Prince, who entered politics in 2015 after retiring as director of the API.
“On the part of the NBC, it is a radio station that you can depend on to give you the correct news, a radio station which has social responsibility as the watchword. It is a model radio station, Mr. Speaker,” the education minister further stated.
“Mr. Speaker, I am not saying that the other radio stations are not that way. I am saying it is one of those stations that I acknowledge as a model institution on the airwaves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
“I may put myself out on a limb a little bit more by saying some of what I hear on radio these days is unfortunate and I think maybe we have released a monster into the public.”
At this point, someone in the chamber urged the minister to call names.
“I wouldn’t call names, I would never call NICE Radio name …” he said to laughter.
“The speaker say I mustn’t call name,” Prince further stated, in an apparent reference to an earlier intervention in which the speaker, citing the rules, had stopped him from calling the name of private citizens who had completed a government programme.
NICE Radio, a privately-owned radio station broadcasts the main opposition New Democratic Party’s (NDP) daily talk show and several other pro-NDP programmes and is generally considered to be pro-NDP in its programming.
The minister said that the capital budget for his portfolio this year is EC$17.6 million, more than twice that of last year.
The API has monies for much needed equipment, including computers and computer accessories, video equipment, he said, adding that an EC$100,000 vehicle was bought for the department.
A sum of EC$140,000 has been allocated under the NBC-API Improvement Project to settle outstanding payments for the construction of the building, he said.