Sunday, January 21, 2018

Activist submits $.9m proposal to watch the media

A proposal has been made by political activist Phillip Alexander to the Government which seeks to monitor print, radio, television and social media.

The Express obtained the documents, which showed that Alexander’s company, Caribbean Web Publishing (CWP), sent the proposal to the Ministry of National Security on May 21, 2014, outlining the provision of Media Management Services.

The proposal lists Media Monitoring, Crisis Management, Rapid Response Communication Management and Communications Support.

Sources told the Express that all ministries have Communications Units which already have these services, but sometimes hire outside their units.

Alexander’s proposal includes monitoring broadcast and cable television, radio, print,digital and social media.

“The monitoring of all radio broadcasts with special emphasis paid to talk radio stations and talk shows on stations not considered talk radio”, was also listed.

The proposed agreement is for 12 months at a rate of $75,000 a month, due on the first of every month.

“Renewals of this agreement shall be considered automatic and services continued uninterrupted unless indicated in writing thirty days before the expiration of the current agreement.”

Contacted on Friday night, Alexander said the document which the Express has is a proposal and not a contract. “I don’t have any information about it being otherwise,” he said.

Asked to whom the proposal was submitted, Alexander said he did not have that information available “at this time” and would have to check.

Asked whether he was asked to submit a proposal and if he received any feedback regarding his proposal, Alexander said, “I do media management for companies.

“If we are at a point where we are making a proposal, we assume it will eventually have a contract,” he said.

He said his company makes suggestions to companies and was unsure why this proposal is news.

The activist was asked whether his proposal covered all facets of the security ministry (coast guard, fire, police etc).

He said: “I doubt. If it was blanket for the entire ministry, it will be in multiples of millions of dollars and that will be a lot of work.

“You are talking $75,000 and I’m thinking this is a small proposal for media management,” he said.

National Security Minister Gary Griffith, when contacted, said he has no knowledge of the proposal.

He added that such matters were more administrative.

“From the Ministry of National Security, I am not aware,” Griffith said.

“Has Mr Alexander ever approached you seeking to submit any proposals for his services?” the Express asked.

Griffith said: “I am not going to get into personal aspects of my conversations with Phillip Alexander or anyone when it comes to my conversations. When it comes to contracts, dollars and cents, I can say I never saw any contract with Phillip Alexander and the Ministry of National Security.”

On Thursday, People’s National Movement (PNM) Senator Camille Robinson-Regis read from an e-mail sent on May 31, 2013 from Alexander to Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal.

The e-mail was a proposal from Alexander seeking to have an hour of airtime on State-owned Caribbean New Media Group (CNMG) “to give PP supporters something to rally around”.

The proposed name of the programme is Equal Time.