The Ministry of Communications is calling on CCN TV6’s Head of News, Dominic Kalipersad, to apologise to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar for disrespecting her.
The issue arose following the airing of a telephone interview on Wednesday night with the PM conducted by Kalipersad seeking comment on the video recording showing a man resembling and sounding like a government minister rolling a joint of ganja in a hotel room.
Asked by the Express for comment on the ministry’s release yesterday, Kalipersad said: “My interaction with the Prime Minister was with full due respect. I am committed to so do in all future interactions with the head of government.”
In its release yesterday, the ministry said, “In what must be one of the most unprofessional and mocking interviews ever conducted by a local media professional, Mr Kalipersad taunts the Prime Minister whom he had called on her cellphone and placed live on air.
“Unable to hear him properly and insisting that she cannot make a comment on a video which she has not seen, Mr Kalipersad can be heard assuming a mocking tone, as he incants in sing song fashion, ‘Do you recall what I told you was on the video? You don’t remember? I told you four times Madam Prime Minister, you don’t remember?’”
According to the ministry, “Kalipersad’s contemptuous disregard for the nation’s Head of Government is an embarrassment to his profession and the station he represents.”
It added that viewers of the broadcast had called the ministry and United National Congress (UNC) party headquarters “to express their dismay and disgust at the treatment meted out to our nation’s Head of Government. Whatever Mr Kalipersad’s personal political views may be, he should be guided by a professional conduct that entreats with our nation’s Prime Minister in a dignified manner becoming of the office holder”.
The ministry added: “It is certainly not to the station’s credit that such a flagrant disregard for common courtesy to be so displayed. Unlike her predecessors, the Honourable Prime Minister has always demonstrated such humility and openness with anyone, including the media, but this access is not permission to be disrespectful. The Ministry of Communications enjoins with members of the public in calling for CCN TV6 to offer an unreserved apology to the Honourable Prime Minister.
“CCN TV6 could be well reminded by the quotation: “You can’t force a person to respect you, but you can refuse to be disrespected.”
The following is the exchange between TV6 Head of News Dominic Kalipersad (DK) and Prime Minister (PM) Kamla Persad-Bissessar which was aired by TV6.
PM: What is this story you are carrying against my Government?
DK: Say that again.
PM: You are sounding very badly. But you see that I can’t respond, OK? Not until I see it myself. I’m sure you could appreciate that
DK: Of course madam Prime Minister, of course. (But) Do you recall what I told you was on the video?
PM: Please tell me again
DK: Do you recall what did I say was on the video?
PM: Would you kindly respond again and tell me?
DK: You don’t remember? I told you four times madam Prime Minister, you don’t remember?
PM: (inaudible) Perhaps if you send it to me, would you kindly send it to me?
DK: Yes I will madam Prime Minister, certainly I will do that in the morning.