Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Tourism, Information and Broadcasting, Dominic Fedee, declared Tuesday that the government is not here to muzzle the press.
He spoke following Monday’s news conference which turned testy when a reporter raised questions about concessions being granted to Sandals resorts for the importation of 97 vehicles.
“We meet with the press every week. I think that the freedoms that you enjoy come with responsibility,” the minister asserted as he dismissed claims that the government gave concessions to Sandals Resorts for 97 vehicles.
He said the claims represented ‘untruth.’
“The fact of the matter is that the government gave concessions to Sandals for four vehicles,” Fedee told a news conference Tuesday.
According to the minister, who is a former Sandals employee, it is ‘quite normal’.
He told reporters that he could share with them various cabinet conclusions that the previous administration would have given to developers who have never developed a single room here.
“The issue here I thought was very malicious – I didn’t add my voice to it. I dismissed it as pure propaganda and really as pure political mischief and I didn’t want to deal with it,” Fedee explained.
At a pre-cabinet news conference on Monday the minister, a former broadcast journalist, was involved in an exchange of words with a reporter over the issue of concessions to Sandals.
Fedee refused to answer questions on the matter, asserting that he would not respond to ‘rumours’.
He told Tuesday’s news conference that the matter was easily verifiable.
“There are various ways of finding out – Sandals actually denied the story when it was mooted. All of you in the press knew that. The cabinet conclusion would have turned into a statutory instrument and will be going to parliament. There is absolutely nothing to hide,” Fedee declared.
He said he was not there to tell the media practitioners how to do their job and insisted that he would not add his voice to rumours.
“I think we have a responsibility to ensure that fair and balanced and factual information goes out to the people in Saint Lucia. That is not a personal attack on anyone, I think it is a standard that we must uphold for our democracy,” Fedee declared.