T&T Senator under fire for describing journalists as vultures

(Trinidad Guardian) Disrespectful, unfortunate, irresponsible. These were the responses of members of the media community to Opposition Senator Fitzgerald Hinds’ reference to the media as vultures. Hinds, last Saturday, said the media displayed “vulturistic behaviour” as journalists sought an interview with Cheryl Miller after she was released from the St Ann’s Psychiatric Hospital.

Miller was removed from her workplace at the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development 16 days ago and detained at the hospital after a confrontation with a senior employee. She was released last Friday after High Court Judge Vasheist Kokaram granted her a week’s leave from the hospital.

Miller, a Seventh-Day Adventist, could not go to church on Saturday because the media were encamped outside her house for hours, Hinds said in a radio interview yesterday. In an angry outburst, he called the media vultures, a newspaper yesterday reported.

The CEO/publisher of the TnT Mirror, Maxie Cuffie, said: “Those kinds of comments are disrespectful and would encourage people to react to the media in a hostile fashion. “I found his comments unfortunate and irresponsible and I think he should have been aware that were it not for the media, this issue would not have come to the public’s attention, leading to the eventual action taken to have Ms Miller released.”

Cuffie said  it was important that all politicians and people in authority recognise the importance of fostering a culture that respects the work journalists do. Media Association former executive member Laura Dowrich-Phillip said, “I think it is an unfortunate comment to make, considering it is the media, with Miller’s friends and colleagues, that kept the issue alive.”

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