When we left you yesterday we told you of the abrupt resignation of Doug Singh, the now former Chairman of the Social Security Board (SSB) and the salacious 19-minute recording of Singh and Breaking Belize News Reporter, Aaron Humes. The public has been weighing in on the issue on social media and it has now become a debate as to who erred. Was it the reporter for not informing Singh that he was recording the conversation or was it Singh for being so laid back with a news reporter. Our News Director engaged with Channel 7’s News Director, Jules Vasquez to address two aspects of the matter, the first being the journalistic standards in Belize.
One of the key issues that arose from this morning’s Zoom dialogue was the absence of a media association and set standards and guidelines for reporters in Belize.
As it relates to the response from Singh to Reporter Humes, while the opinions differ, it was undoubtedly one that required an immediate exit. An unfortunate exit particularly for reporters who he rarely ever denied an interview.
Love News spoke with Singh yesterday who stated that he was unaware the conversation was being recorded and that he would be looking at his legal options. Our newsroom also spoke with Reporter Aaron Humes who said he was shocked when he learned of the leak. He added, quote, “we’re still investigating and part of that is talking to Mr. Singh and that is in the hands of his bosses.” According to Humes, he had shared the recording in the newsgroup of Breaking Belize News and it may have been from that platform that the recording was distributed. Humes ended our brief phone conversation by saying, quote, “For the record, I made my share of mistakes in terms of how I handled the recording but I still think it needs to shake out.” End of quote. Minutes after Singh’s resignation, the People’s United Party sent out a release demanding that he be fired. Today we reached out to the Leader of the Opposition, John Briceno who declined an interview but did provide a comment saying, quote, “saying it nicely, his comments are disappointing and he did the right thing to resign”. End of quote. As a backdrop to this story, Singh was recorded as saying, using expletives, that compared to other economies like the US and other countries that are taking weeks and months to provide financial aid to its citizens, Belize’s government and its personnel are working overtime in processing payments. He added that Belizeans who are on the receiving end should be lucky that the Government is pushing to help the citizenry. In that conversation, Singh asked the reporter to be balanced in his reporting and let it be known that efforts are being made to disburse the monies to the unemployed. Love News reached out to the Prime Minister this evening for comment but we are still waiting.