Attack on MP Sets New Low as Newspapers Continue to Lose Credibility in The Bahamas

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Former PLP Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries and MP for MICAL V. Alfred Gray appears at an international conference presenting. (File Photo)

Nassau, Bahamas – A headline published in The Tribune of an alleged incident involving a Member of Parliament, reported to have been caught having a ‘back seat romp’ with a woman in his car sent readers running to read the morning daily to catch the details. However, once again as the daily appear to have lost it credibility already across the country, the article appeared having loops in connecting with any truth and the daily could face a court battle for libel in a Bahamian court for the salacious article deemed an ‘exclusive’.

The paper reported its ‘police sources’ confirmed that the MP V. Alfred Gray was allegedly found by officers in the back seat of his car in the parking lot of a Methodist Church in Yamacraw. The newspaper went in detail to further report that the incident involving the MP occurred on November 20th at 10PM whilst officers were on ‘routine patrol’ in the area.

The Tribune further alleged that Gray – who is married – was in his ‘birthday suit’. However, the newspaper sources could not confirm if the lady in question with the MP was indeed his wife.

“This is the most reckless, watlass style of journalism practiced by this morning daily (Tribune) in the history of the profession and the Tribune must have such serious declining sales, that they must move into gutter mode. That being the order of the day for them to stay in business.”

“They have moved from being a mainstream paper to the number one ‘rag column’ the region has ever seen.” An Acklins native said.

The Royal Bahamas Police Force confirmed that no such report was filed or was ever reported or by any police and further confirmed to our newsroom that no such incident or compliant by any person involving the MP existed in their department.

Editorial attacks on members of the opposition Progressive Liberal Party and the morning daily began many years ago, as early as from the days of Sir Lynden Pindling. In early 2007 an election editorial war reached a highpoint when the Tribune published ‘stolen photographs’ from Horizons, the home of former Playboy model Anna Nicole. The photographs circulated around the world with former Minister of Immigration Shane Gibson and the model in an embrace. The former PLP minister contended then that the entire incident was an attempt to suggest something that never was.

A few weeks ago the Speaker of the House of Assembly Hon. Alvin Smith asked the daily to withdraw a headline that suggested the leader of the PLP was being paid the same as then opposition leader now Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham.

The Tribune Nov. 14th headline titled; “PM says parliamentary salary he was accused of accepting now being paid to PLP leader.” was raised in Parliament by PLP leader Perry Christie to be untrue, was also acknowledged by Hubert Ingraham to be not true.

The Tribune’s story retraction the following day, confirmed serious credibility issues, with the daily resorting to gutter tabloid headlines. The morning daily is slapped with declining circulation numbers and sluggish advertising sales figures this year, causing the formation of a ‘Joint Operating Agreement’ with its rival the Nassau Guardian.

The Tribune however still publish the November 14th story having never heard the Prime Minister suggest Perry Christie was paid the same as he was, the morning daily did not have a reporter in the House of Assembly at the time of the Prime Minister’s remarks. The 100 plus year old newspaper further did not ask the PM to comment on what he did say nor did they asked the former Prime Minister or the ministry of finance if what the Prime Minister said was true. However they [Tribune] misguided their readers in the November 14th headline.

“What is sad in all this, we have so many problems in this country, where the ‘fourth estate’ is most needed to raise debate about corruption in the registration department, immigration, crime and murder. We need a healthy editorial debate on the fact that over 114 persons are now on bail for killing someone, and foreigners in the country are holding two voters cards and voting twice.”

“We need media especially – a newspaper that been around as long as the Tribune – to lead and be investigating these matters. Not declining themselves to a gutter press of nonsense.” An angry taxi driver said.

A press statement by the PLP issued late yesterday commented on the headline that has further ignited political tensions just days before the Christmas holidays. Still months after a continued politically charged temperature since the May 2nd general elections, the PLP’s statement called for the media to allow for Gray to respond, who is on holiday out of the country with his family.

“The Progressive Liberal Party has taken note of a story circulating in the news media concerning Mr. Alfred Gray, the Member of Parliament for MICAL.”

“Mr. Gray is currently out of the country on holiday with his family, and in this circumstance, it is important for the public to be reminded that the Member of Parliament has yet to respond as to the nature and/or the truth of these allegations.”

“Until such time as Mr. Gray has responded, the public is further reminded that for any accurate understanding, Mr. Gray and the other side of any story is entitled to be heard, notwithstanding what has thus far amounted to a trial by newspaper.” The PLP press statement said.

Gray announced recently in an interview with the press that it is possible he could run as a contender in the race for the chairmanship of the PLP at the February 2008 convention. Gray is currently the MP for the MICAL constituency.