Heated exchange at press briefing

CheavronTuesday’s post-Cabinet press briefing by a Minister of the new Grenada government ended prematurely when reporters sought to question Communication & Works Minister, Gregory Bowen on issues relating to the Kuwait-funded road projects in Grenada.

THE NEW TODAY understand that the session ended in disarray when Kisha Alexander-Grant, the Press Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister intervened and directed the reporters not to fire questions on the Kuwaiti issue.

MTV’s Chearvon Benjamin was the reporter who asked Minister Bowen about information which the government had previously promised to give to back their allegation that Kuwait had suspended Grenada under the former National Democratic Congress (NDC) government of Tillman Thomas from the fund.

Minister Bowen had used the occasion of the Press Briefing to announce to reporters the names of persons selected to serve on several statutory bodies.

The source said that the senior government official was apparently trying to evade the question when veteran broadcaster, George Grant took the microphone and reminded him that the issue was raised at a previous press conference held by him.

He spoke of Minister Bowen indicating that the government had now gone pass the issue and that everybody already knew about the issue of the problem between the former government and the Kuwaitis.

The minister also said that the new government had already signed the new contract and was now moving forward with the Kuwaitis on the road project.

A disappointed Grant reminded the Minister that the media was trying to report the facts and needed the evidence from government about its claim.

Grant also reminded Minister Bowen that Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Timothy Antoine had promised to make the information about the allegation available to the local media on Grenada’s suspension from the Kuwaiti fund.

He noted that only the previous day Antoine was asked at a press conference about the information that he promised and the PS in Finance was dismissive of the media.

Amidst the heated exchanges, the Press Secretary intervened and reminded the assembled journalists in the room that the press conference was not about the Kuwaiti allegation but to deal with only matters arising out of the Cabinet meeting.

In response, Benjamin responded that the media were fully entitled to ask Ministers questions about other issues and they were expected to give answers once they were knowledgeable about the subject matter.

The MTV reporter was of the view that Minister Bowen fell into that category and that the media had a right to ask him questions about the issue since he had introduced it to them at an earlier press conference.

Amidst the heated arguments from both sides, the media personnel were seen picking up their belongings to leave the room.

Minutes later, some of the media personnel were seen approaching Minister Bowen and continued to engage him in a heated debate on the issue.

THE NEW TODAY was told as they left the room one member of the media was heard saying openly that they should really think about boycotting the next Cabinet meeting in protest against the manner in which the post-Cabinet briefings were apparently being closely controlled by the new government.


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