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Premier Smith bashes local media

- Accuses media of abusing freedom of expression
Premier and Minister of Finance Dr the Honourable D. Orlando Smith alleged that the media is “abusing” freedom of expression and is a matter of concern to him. Photo: VINO/file
Hon. Marlon A. Penn and Hon. Myron V. Walwyn, all first time legislators, are among the National Democratic Party (NDP) members who are guilty of criticising the media with Hon. Walwyn even calling for censorship. Photo: VINO/file
Hon. Marlon A. Penn and Hon. Myron V. Walwyn, all first time legislators, are among the National Democratic Party (NDP) members who are guilty of criticising the media with Hon. Walwyn even calling for censorship. Photo: VINO/file
Archibald C. Christian is among the rookie members of the National Democratic Party (NDP) who have bashed the media in the past. Photo: VINO/File
Archibald C. Christian is among the rookie members of the National Democratic Party (NDP) who have bashed the media in the past. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Leader of the National Democratic Party (NDP) and Premier of the Virgin Islands, Dr the Honourable D. Orlando Smith has joined his rookie legislators in criticizing the local media.

Premier Smith joined the usual media critics including Archibald C. Christian, Hon. Marlon A. Penn and Hon. Myron V. Walwyn, all first time legislators, when he bashed the local media in the October 14, 2013 sitting of the House of Assembly.

The premier alleged that the media is “abusing” freedom of expression and is a matter of concern to him. “The way that the press is using or abusing them, the whole question of freedom of expression is a matter of concern for all of us, Madam Speaker,” stated the Premier.

He acknowledged, however, that the media is very important from the social and government points of view. “But they need to understand also, Madam Speaker, that there is more responsibility when it comes to the media and freedom of expression.”

Premier Smith also alluded to the recent instruction given by High Court Judge Vicki Ann Ellis on Monday October 14, 2013. Justice Ellis ordered that no blogging be done on articles about ongoing matters in the High Court.

“I think as a House we need to look at it more closely in order to assist the media in being more responsible when it comes to the question of freedom of expression,” said Dr Smith.

He acknowledged that the Minister for Education and Culture Honourable Myron V. Walwyn had spoken of the issue at the level of the House of Assembly on a number of occasions and, according to Premier Smith, it surfaced as a matter of concern by Member for the Eighth District Honourable Marlon A. Penn.

According to the Premier the issue of freedom of expression is a matter of concern not only in the Virgin Islands but also other countries in the Region.

Background to Premier Smith taking issue with the media

Premier Smith had first taken issue with the media back in September when he had expressed his disappointment about the headlines carried by local online news sites on the recently opened Office in Hong Kong, which is now headed by his wife Mrs Lorna Smith.

BVI Platinum News on September 6, 2013 had headlined their story “Lorna Smith Is Interim Director as Hong Kong Office Opens For Business” while BVI NEWS’ mirrored, “Lorna Smith appointed interim director of new Hong Kong Office.”

The Premier vented his disgust during a telephone interview with ZBVI radio announcer Mr Zan Lewis, sections of which were first aired on ZBVI radio on September 10, 2013.

The Minister of Finance was not pleased that the online news sites chose to play up in their headlines that Mrs Lorna Smith was named the interim-director when the focus should have been on the opening of the Hong Kong office. He said Mrs Smith being the Interim Director was nothing new.

"I want to make mention about the meeting or the opening of the office in Hong Kong. Needless to say I was very disappointed and troubled that on the occasion of the establishment of a very significant activity in the Asia Pacific region to our financial services, the headline on the opening of the office on the online media read, Lorna Smith is interim director of Hong Kong office," Premier Smith had stated.

At the time of this discourse with Mr Lewis, the Premier was responding to questions about the Gibraltar leg of his overseas meeting when he choose to divert to address the issues about the headlines.

31 Responses to “Premier Smith bashes local media”

  • ooooo (16/10/2013, 08:36) Like (8) Dislike (7) Reply
    this ndp government likes to sweep things under the rug...they dont want us to talk about the bad thats happening at all
    • Peaches (16/10/2013, 16:14) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
      I think that Justice Ellis was wrong to issue directives to the media that no blogging should be allowed for the cases that are going on. This is very wrong. Only in the BVI these nonsense happens. I think the whole thing is because she does not want the Jury's mind to be swayed by the blogging of these trials as she told them that they should not read the blogs. If that is the case where the judge does not want the jury on a particular case or cases to read the blogs then SEQUESTER THEM! Make arrangements for them to be placed into a hotel until the trial is over! that is what is done in the UNITED STATES! are we living in a communist country? we can't speak out about things that are going on around us? well this is trouble! Dr. Smith I think that you should seriously look into this matter if this is what these judges are going to be coming with against the people. SEQUESTER THE JURY!!!!
  • ooooo (16/10/2013, 08:39) Like (8) Dislike (3) Reply
    vip took their licks from the media so you take yours now doc
  • ratz (16/10/2013, 08:51) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    Do not censor .. speak the truth let the people know what is going on !
  • +++ (16/10/2013, 09:01) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    is Lorna the interim director of the Hong Kong office? yes. fact. Skelton-Cline is managing director of Ports Authority. yes. fact. He is defending his wife...
    I wish reporters dug deeper to do some real investigative reporting to tell the public about back door deals.
  • apple pie (16/10/2013, 09:08) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    we will not stop blogging and speaking out
  • raincoming (16/10/2013, 09:10) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    doc you of all people knows the media is the voice of we the people of the virgin islands..
  • VIlander (16/10/2013, 09:12) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Inability to do their work. They don't know what do or what to say. Or how to fix the probs affecting this place so they cuss & fuss about NOTHING!!!
  • Knowledge is Power (16/10/2013, 09:34) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    We have to educate our people and by censoring the media creates room for disturbance in this little country. Not only what is said and who is saying it is important but if it is true on what is said.

    The media is important but educated people say educated things.
  • BREAKING NEWS (16/10/2013, 09:36) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    I am ashamed of Dr. Smith it tells he is a follower NOT A LEADER
  • mashing corns (16/10/2013, 09:39) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    Everything is fine until you talk about them. They cant take negative and true comments. Say something against them, they ready to shut you up by whatever means. Give them a chance, we will be on par with Cuba and North Korea
  • David (16/10/2013, 09:52) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    Real leaders do not need to target the media when things are going bad. They focus their attention on fixing their problems. If you do your job and serve the people, the rest will fall into place . . . including media reports. Good policy makes for good politics.
  • sad (16/10/2013, 10:06) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    welcome to the land of dictatorship and commnisism
    • face the facts!!! (16/10/2013, 22:36) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      Frankly, I am tired with all the spewing by the NDP particular deeds media haters with their own current inability to lead the BVI.
  • Hmm (16/10/2013, 10:08) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply
    and again empty vessels make alot of noise and miss the whole point....the point is not that the media should not speak, the point is that a LOCAL radio station should be careful what it speaks about its LOCAL...worst when it is not a LOCAL who is doing the speaking about the LOCALS! i swear you bloggers just does need company in the day time..come on here chatting bull. thats why yall can't get no where. Crabs in a barrel mentality then somebody who have sense just come dump all of ayo in a pot of hot water. shut ayo up for good!
  • Blackbeauty (16/10/2013, 10:27) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    It's okay to disagree with the thoughts or opinions expressed by other people. That doesn't give you the right to deny any sense they might make. Nor does it give you a right to accuse someone of poorly expressing their beliefs just because you don't like what they are saying. Learn to recognize good writing when you read it, even if it means overcoming your pride and opening your mind beyond what is comfortable.
  • . (16/10/2013, 11:52) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    leh ndp cart dem tail.
  • the view (16/10/2013, 12:11) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    While I am a firm believer in the freedom of expression and “free speech”, I have to agree with Dr. Smith on this topic. I’ll explain…the matter or problem in this case is not that people should not blog or that the Media should refrain from publishing the facts. I think the sentiments by the premier are that, there must be a high level of diplomacy and respect while this is being done. Personally, I have seen on various occasions where some news articles are geared towards appealing to the ignorance of the masses, creating a political divide, encouraging racial and cultural prejudices etc, etc. Your view on this may be different; however, I think that this is a sure recipe for societal degradation, as a community that is divided stands a remarkable 99.99% (my estimate) chance of failure! I am completely convinced that the media has a responsibility to disseminate information that is devoid of sensationalism, unless, the article is a commentary, in which case, the reader is left to interpret the opinion as he or she understands it. In relation to the BLOGS…as a community we should by now recognize that what is put out there on the world-wide-web is being viewed by people outside of the Virgin Islands! Though we would like to pretend as if we don’t care if they visit or invest here, the reality is plain and simple, we need their business in order to survive! A potential investor or visitor is going to do market/destination research I guarantee you and if their impression of us is that we are a bunch of ignorant maniacs, then you can kiss that business good bye! The point I am making is that you can disagree without being degrading or disrespectful. Some of the blogs on here are borderline Cyber-Bulling. So people don’t just dismiss the Premier’s thoughts as a political tactic but rather look at the broader picture which unfortunately also goes beyond the media and blogs.
    • Are We Sober? (17/10/2013, 23:21) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      What a wonderful piece! Too bad some of the more ignorant, boorish bloggers won't take the time to read it for fear they might actually learn something. Often times we forget that with right come responsibility and it is the responsibility that we must focus on. We have brought ourselves to such a low ebb that we don't even recognize that many of the ills in our society that we complain about are fueled by the very sentiments we spew on talk shows and write on the blogs. Unfortunately, even some of the commentators that ought to know better have joined the fray and make some of the most incendiary comments that are not only divisive but downright foolish.....and all of this as they prep to contest the next election.

      We behave like a community of opportunists just waiting for a chance to shine even at the expense of the country. Yet, we claim to be civil and learned people. We blame the politicians for everything and do not realize that we should elect people who represent our best interest and not merely who are just like us. We do not need people who will tell us what we want to hear but to give us the harsh reality of our conditions. We abuse, insult and berate each other then blame it on others. We throw gasoline on the fire then turn around and report the very fire we started.

      Not only is the world looking at us but they are doing so with a jaundiced eye. What we say about ourselves define who we are and tell others how they should view us. We act like we are God’s gift to the world and everybody needs us and we don’t need anyone. The view of us from the outside is not a pretty one and unless we stop the nonsense we would surely bring about our own demise….or should I say hasten our demise.
  • small head (16/10/2013, 13:03) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    look this man who should set the example is just like the rest of them fools
  • Queen Mary (16/10/2013, 14:10) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is why bvi is ranked so badly as it relates to red tape and doing business....now freedom of the press
  • Want2Kno (16/10/2013, 14:25) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    The Media is only good when it suits a political agenda! But really, do we need 13 members in the HOA for 30,000 people? This "Mixed System" introduced in the 1990s, has not made things better for the people.

    Really and truly, this should be examined. We could get the same work for 7 or 9 representatives and save a whole ton of $$$!!

  • VIlander (16/10/2013, 14:27) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Boss freedom of speech is freedom of speech, god bless we have a bill of rights now. Imagine the Republicans demanding media censorship...will never happen. IT comes with the job we have a right to say what the hell we feel to say. U guys do what the well u want to do. Rather than raise tax on incorp businesses u raise departure tax on we, rather than keep a water taxi service ferry to usvi u decide to expand airport to tell us in a few months that u have to bring in Mariott. So leave the blasted media alone, they have to report & discuss & that's all we can do anyway why take that away. Disrespectful
  • Say WHATTTTTTT!!!!!! (16/10/2013, 14:34) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    The people of the BVI are caught between a rock and the NDP.
    The rocks have more sense. Now Dr. Smith has come up with another way for the government to destroy the country by destroying the media after they destroy the economy!!!!
  • question (16/10/2013, 14:37) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    when will the Premeier and his govt. address the ineptitude, mismanagement and handling of the country's economic affairs
  • virgin gorda (16/10/2013, 22:07) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Just one more example of how badly broken our political system is.
  • wondering (17/10/2013, 05:54) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I will like to know how much of you people that blog can vote?
  • 4 g (17/10/2013, 07:01) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The time will come shortly when they will need the media…but too late will be there cry!!!
  • ... (17/10/2013, 07:13) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    fighting with the media is a lose lose situation
  • Real Talk (17/10/2013, 10:12) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    ORLANDO!! Snap the hell out of it. JESUS was nailed to a cross. So who y'all feel you are that ppl can't talk about y'all. Maybe if you were not busy being a follower and not a LEADER you wouldn't have to worry.


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