According to United National Congress politician Jack Warner, any journalist who exposes his party should be "above reproach", while his party colleague, aka Anand Ramlogan, has called for "self-analysis and self-introspection by the media".
Although I am not above reproach, as my ex-girlfriends would testify, I have frequently bad-talked both Warner and Ramlogan. But, in my defence, I did so only because it's so easy to do. Nonetheless, following Jack's and aka Anand's advice, I have spent the past week thinking about my career as a journalist, author and curl-activator. And, in order to help my fellow journalists to do the same, I am today printing an introspection test which they can use to determine if they are professionally, morally and follically qualified to reproach politicians, financiers and small ruminants.
Have you ever done one or more of the following?
(a) Oversold tickets to a World Cup qualifying football game, hence endangering people's lives and making an obscene profit.
(b) Been fined for giving a contract to your family's business to sell World Cup packages.
(c) Resigned from an international organisation which is about to put you on trial rather than disprove their allegations.
(d) Been described as being "prone to an economy with the truth" by an international court.
If you answered "Yes" to any or all of these questions, then you are above reproach and can bad-talk women who are too smart and sexy to friend with you.
Have you ever:
(a) Milked a goat?
(b) Caused, through inaction, a goat to be milked?
(c) Pretended that you milked a goat?
(d) Fantasised about milking a goat?
If you answered "No" to any or all of these questions, then you should be reproached for lying, because who doesn't like to milk goats?
As a journalist, have you ever:
(a) Written articles praising yourself for coming from a poor family?
(b) Written articles praising yourself for not being racist?
(c) Threatened legal action against a 14-year-old girl for making bad jokes?
(d) Used three or four pseudonyms to post on chat groups denying that you are a bad joke.
If you have done some or all of these things, then you are above reproach and, if ever charged with misfeasance, can plead innocence due to your ignorance of criminal law.
Have you, or anyone related to you, ever had cause to:
(a) Planass a doubles for too much pepper?
(b) Told your girlfriend to give you a planass, hold the doubles.
(c) Spent $2 million to teach children how to eat doubles without planass.
(d) Plan ass, using PowerPoint and the outside woman.
If you answered "Yes" to one or more of these statements, you are above reproach when you pontificate on good parenting, morality and male-pattern baldness.
Which of the following best guarantees integrity as a journalist?
(a) Never giving reasons for your opinions.
(b) Making allegations to the editor about your colleagues behind their backs.
(c) Having search-and-seize powers equivalent to the police.
(d) Using the police to find out your rival's sources.
If you agreed with all of the above, you are above reproach and qualify to move out of the newsroom and into the Integrity Commission.
When reporting on Parliament, do you remember:
(a) Every member is Honourable, not "Honourable"?
(b) Every member is obliged to not mislead Parliament, except when speaking?
(c) Every member reads every bill which is being debated?
(d) No member ever sleeps—they close their eyes to hear better?
Once you adhere to these parliamentary standards, you can't be reproached for biased political reporting, except by people who are not MPs.
Have you ever reported on any of the following topics?
(a) Pundits having sex with minors.
(b) Priests having sex with boys.
(c) Imams who want to marry 12-year-old girls.
(d) Science, history, and bogus PhDs.
If so, then you will be reproached by God, God and also God.
If you were given a national award for your work in journalism, would you:
(a) Praise the Prime Minister's acumen?
(b) Praise the Prime Minister's compassion?
(c) Praise the Prime Minister's courage?
(d) Praise the Prime Minister's slippers?
If you would do all of this, you would never be reproached by shrimp cocktails.
As an editor or media manager, have you ever:
(a) Hired a friend who was totally unqualified for the job?
(b) Published a bogus story in order to finance your finances?
(c) Pretended you never saw the bogus story and fired the reporter?
(d) Dropped two cans of beans on each of your feet?
If you have committed all these acts, you should be reproached as an editor, but not as a Prime Minister.
Have you ever displayed bias against:
(d) Beauty queens?
If you answered "Yes" to any or all of the above, reproach yourself for being unfit to report on Trinidad and Tobago.