As we noted at the top of the news, the liveliest debate on social media up to our news time this evening is that of the recorded conversation between Doug Singh and Reporter Aaron Humes. The debate has seen the participation of former journalists, attorneys, members of the general public and current reporters. One former journalist from the days of Radio Belize wrote, quote, “A public official has no expectation of privacy or protection when he behaved with such wanton disregard.” End of quote. One current journalist in Belize weighed in as well, stating, and we quote, “ It’s a crying shame that a seasoned journalist would commit such an egregious act and undermine an interviewee’s trust, downright disgraceful and unethical.” End of quote. The debate goes in various quarters which was one of the issues discussed with our News Director and Jules Vasquez of Channel 7. Here is a snippet of the 30-minute discourse.
Renee Trujillo, Love FM News: “I find it interesting Jules, and I know you don’t have a Facebook page but I’m sure you have people who report back to you; there’s a mixed feeling in terms of what happened yesterday from the public. You know you have people who are saying “Why are you listening to the tone and not to the message that he is sending?” Some people went as far as saying “Why will you get vexed with the man when the man is just talking the truth?” You know when he spoke about people trying to capitalize and trying to come up on things when they may not even qualify or certain aspects of it you have people on social media batting for him in that sense.”
Jules Vasquez, Channel 7 News: “I heard about it yes indeed I’ve heard that the message has resonated with many people and it’s also indicative of what is the schism in this program because when the Prime Minister first proposed it it it was to help out people who had lost their jobs in tourism which is just over 20,000 we believe, like between 20 and 25,000 but it was the insistence of the Leader of the Opposition and his members were pressuring him to include everybody who is unemployed which is what ballooned it to 60,000 and that’s what Doug was saying and that was really expressive of the schism between the parties or the divide on this issue. The Prime Minister conceded to the Leader of the Opposition’s recommendation but it greatly changed the profile of the program and so what Doug Singh was saying was that he does not believe that those who weren’t working should be clamoring, who were unemployed, should be clamoring for assistance when they’ve been living without for so long and that has resonance with a lot of people. Actually people who just lost their job to tourism, these were people who were earning and because of a unprecedented global event just lost their job in tourism and are now saying “Well if these other persons weren’t on that list, if these 35,000 other people weren’t on that list, we would be getting instead of $150 every two weeks we would be getting $300.” So you know it’s really a little social friction that’s there, that’s why what he was saying has resonance with so many.”
Renee Trujillo, Love FM News: “Even at the Prime Minister’s Press conference Jules I don’t know if you recall when the Prime Minister announced that even those who were unemployed not as a result of COVID-19 would be getting assistance I had to ask the question again because I couldn’t understand how we went from aiding those who are unemployed because of this pandemic to aiding people who were unemployed even before the pandemic because that would mean you’re cutting resources from those who are actually affected and now in a situation where it’s on a first come first serve basis there is no guarantee that those who were truly affected will be helped because there’s just so much money to share around. It’s not like you have a you know a bottomless well that you’re going to get money from so it is a social friction and people are upset and I don’t think that it’s so much so that the system is moving slow but I think it has to do with who are the beneficiaries of this program and to not have a system to ensure that those who are affected are the ones who are going to be helped for sure that adds to it as well.”