Rodney Charles wants to know if PNM responsible for TV host being removed

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Rodney Charles wants to know if PNM responsible for TV host being removed

Naparima MP Rodney Charles is questioning whether a PNM official is responsible for having TV6’s part-time Morning Edition host Urvashi Tiwari-Roopnarine removed from the show.

In a release, Charles asked: Why are hard hitting reporters not invited to Rowley’s news conferences?

He said: “If our suspicions regarding the reported – and as yet unexplained – removal of journalist Urvashi Tiwari-Roopnarine from hosting Friday Morning Edition programme are correct then our democracy is in trouble and we may be witnesses to a galloping dictatorship.”

“A reasonable man may well ask if this is just another example of a galloping dictatorship.”

Charles said her removal comes suspiciously close to her humane, empathetic and frank comments concerning the unacceptable levels of crime in TT and the unfortunate murder of Tyrel Webster Thomas, an 18 year old engineering student who was reportedly used as a shield.

The incident took place three weeks ago and during her commentary, Tiwari-Roopnarine said that National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds should be ashamed to collect his salary.

Dr Rowley took to Facebook and in a not-so-veiled reference criticised Tiwari-Roopnarine without calling her name.

On June 17, he wrote, “ ‘A journalist writes’ to condemn the Minister and politicize a recent tragedy. Police ain’t doing nuttin! and ‘he should be ashamed to collect his salary.’

“Did she see the Police action in Cocorite where policemen confronted men ARMED with assault, military grade, prohibited weapons and who engaged the lawmen in a firefight. The officers stayed in the deadly contact and eventually suppressed their fire and seized three most dangerous weapons and restrained persons.

“I would never see a line of commendation from “a journalist”. In fact this happens every day as officers (men and women) put their lives on the line to protect the citizens.

The ‘journalist’ will remain absent and unknowing until the next time the mind of the criminal plans and executes the next outrage.”

In a Facebook post on Friday, Tiwari-Roopnarine said, “I am told I would no longer be joining you.”

She was the host of the programme on Fridays with Marlan Hopkinson doing the other days of the week.

Charles said, “Suspicions are high that her comments on our worsening crime situation did not find favor with the PNM in general, and in particular with Dr Rowley and his inept Minister of National Security.”

He added: “If our suspicions are correct it confirms that our democracy is in crisis and all institutions appear to be taking conscious steps to remain in the good graces of Dr Rowley and the PNM.”

In the interest of transparency, MP Charles is calling on PM Rowley to remove all doubt in this matter and confirm that he and his government had nothing to do with her removal.

At the same time, Charles said, “Dr Rowley must tell us what is the policy regarding journalists invited to cover news conferences by his government.
Is Robert Amar for example invited?
Is Stephan Reis invited?
Why am I not hearing Prior Beharry asking pointed questions at those news conferences?”

He said, :In the US the independent White House Correspondents’ Association controls the 49 press seats in the James Brady Briefing room. Why is MATT not performing a similar role?”

“In TT apparently it is Dr Keith Christopher Rowley in his infinite wisdom who determines which reporters cometh and who goeth to his state funded press conferences.
And given the tameness of the questions asked, only friendly reporters are apparently invited.
The time has come for Dr Rowley to recognise that he is doing untold damage to the fragile institutions which protect our democracy.”

Charles said Rowley is showing future dictators the handbook on how easy it is to win elections (minus foreign election observers) and subsequently dismantle all the guardrails set up by our founding fathers to protect our democracy