Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has chastised the media in Dominica saying that it goes to the gutters and garbage bin to find negative stories about the country.
He was addressing members of the media after the contract signing for the architectural design of a National Multi-Sports Complex in Dominica on Friday.
He said the media should work with facts and leave it to the audience to form an opinion.
“I just find that in this country we go in the gutters and we go in the garbage bins looking for negative stories about Dominica and unless we cannot find one, we don’t want to print our newspaper or we don’t want to go with our newscast,” he stated.
The Prime Minister was speaking against the background of a story in The Sun Newspaper which claimed that the government of Dominica owes the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Supreme Court about $8-million.
It appeared Skerrit was not pleased with the article saying it was a ‘totally and a complete lie.’ He stated that the government owed the Supreme Court ‘over seven or so million dollars’ but a significant sum has already been paid and Dominica is now owing $4.4-million which will be placed in this year’s budget and paid off by the end of 2017.
According to the Prime Minister, in some countries there is an understanding among journalists, the government and the state that “salacious and negative stories” never appear on the front or back pages of newspapers.
“I don’t want to call countries here but we all know the countries …” he noted. “We go to these countries and we feel that there is no crime because never will you see the reporting of any crime on the front page or the second page or the back page or the headline news.”
He stated that there should be a greater sense of nationalist spirit and commitment to country in Dominica.
“If there is something that has to be said, it has to be said but we cannot always want to be so salacious, so scandalous and so rumor mongering,” Skerrit noted. “It is becoming the order of the day.”
The Prime Minister said he has no problems with people criticizing the government but it must be done in a certain manner.
“I have no problem with people criticizing the government but criticize the government from a standpoint of facts,” he stated. “I have done my research and these are the points that I came up with.”
He described the matter as very serious since, according to him, negative news has the ability to undermine Dominica.
“Bad news travel around the world five times before positive news can put on its clothes and at the end of the day when we give people out there the impression that our country is not a safe place to come and visit and so forth, who you think is going to be affected?” he said.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister said he expects to see an apology and correction from The Sun Newspaper when it goes to press on Monday.