Sunday 5 July, 2020

Joseph refuses questions from reporter he claims is a 'politician'

Guy Joseph, Janeka Simon

Guy Joseph, Janeka Simon

What started off harmoniously – journalists asking questions of Economic Development, Civil Aviation and Transport Minister Guy Joseph as he made his way to parliament today, June 11, 2019 – turned out a few minutes later to be somewhat frosty as the minister confronted a television reporter, claiming she and other reporters are politicians masquerading as reporters.

Turning to Janeka Simon of Choice Television as she came to ask him a question, Joseph said, "I have no intentions of answering any questions you ask me. If you want to be a politician then be a politician and then we will deal with it from a political perspective."

Pressed by other reporters to explain his reason/s for not wanting to answer Simon’s questions, Joseph said he does not consider Simon a reporter.

“This is disrespectful,” said one reporter to Joseph.

“You go ahead and form whatever conclusion you want about me,” said Joseph in reply.

“Are you saying there are reporters masquerading as politicians,” asked another reporter of Joseph.

“Yes, that’s what I am saying,” replied Joseph.

“When people declare they hands I speak to them. I know how to speak with my colleagues in parliament, because I know we are all politicians but when people disguise themselves with their political agendas and try to present themselves as reporters who are being objective, that is where I have the problem,” Joseph said.

When asked if he was calling Simon a politician posing as a reporter Joseph said: “I’ve said what I have to say.”

Simon, undaunted by Joseph’s outburst, asked him if he agreed that he has a responsibility to account for his actions in office. Joseph responded that he always accounts for his actions.

Simon: “Sir do you not believe that I am asking questions from a factual basis for and on behalf of the public.”

Joseph: “I said I have no intentions of having any conversations with you.”

Simon: “But what about the other members of my team.”

Joseph: “I said I have no intentions of having any conversations with you.”

At this point, another reporter interrupted the discourse between the two telling Joseph that his remarks were disappointing and unbecoming of him as a minister of government.

“We have had great relations with you, yes combative, but to tell a reporter you do not consider her a reporter, you are acting like Donald Trump.  I am appalled,” said Miguel Fevrier, former president of the Media Association of Saint Lucia.

“When you have respect for me, you report what I say. You don’t give it your twist and report it as what I say. When you report what I say, I have respect for you,” Joseph responded.

Speaking to her colleagues minutes after Joseph walked away, Simon said she was unsure of what to make of Joseph’s outburst.

“I am baffled as you are about this. I am not sure why he took that position. My job is to ask questions of the people holding public office and I intend to do that job as best as possible,” Simon said.

Simon, who edits the Choice News Now nightly segment on Choice Television, says she will continue to do her job and hopes that Joseph feels it necessary to continue to do his.

“Journalists are political actors and I make no apologies for that. I think it is very unfortunate that a veteran member of parliament such as himself would continue to confuse partisanship with political action,” Simon said of Minister Joseph.

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