Not PM’s fault

McClean defends Stuart on ‘fake news’ detention story

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Maxine McClean Tuesday sought to quell a potential firestorm over the recent “fake news” that a number of Barbadians had been detained in United States president Donald Trump’s immigration crackdown.

In what appeared to be a subtle attempt to shift responsibility for the story on to the media, McClean Tuesday said Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, who last week said the Barbadians had been arrested, had not volunteered “an announcement to the world”.

Seemingly believing that the information passed on to him by McClean was accurate, Stuart told reporters on the sidelines of the 28th Caribbean Community Intercessional Summit in Guyana last Thursday that during the meeting of the leaders “the Foreign Minister [McClean] showed me a text message or an email message she had just received saying that 19 Barbadians had been identified in this whole process”.

The Prime Minister also said Government would investigate the report, even as he expressed surprise that Barbadians and other Caribbean nationals were being rounded up by the American authorities in keeping with Trump’s January 27 order intended to keep terrorists out of the US.

“We did not see ourselves as threatened,” Stuart said at the time.   

Twenty-four hours later the Prime Minister backed down from his previous statement, stating through the Barbados Government Information Service that “no Barbadians are being detained under the new immigration policy being implemented by the United States”.

Stuart explained that the Barbados’ Consulate General in New York had investigated the report and found it to be untrue.

“They [Consulate General] said they did a thorough investigation and if Barbadians were detained or going to be deported, the [US] authorities would consult or contact the Consulate. They said they had received no such contact, there was no consultation with them, and all of their investigations failed to turn up any information that would suggest that Barbadians in New York or any other part of the United States were in trouble as a result of any rounding up of people to get them out of the country,” he said.

His retraction led to criticism in some quarters that the Prime Minister ought to have verified the information before making his initial comment.

However, McClean took to the airwaves Tuesday to defend Stuart, insisting the Prime Minister had not offered the information to the media, as she explained her actions after receiving the initial correspondence.

“I contacted the Consul General in New York, copied an email to her, to Mr John Blackman who is our deputy in New York and I said to them, ‘I have received this from a Barbadian in New York, please verify’. I was sitting next to the Prime Minister and it came and I showed him. He did not go and make an announcement to the world,” she said on Down to Brass Tacks on Starcom Radio.

McClean did not say why she felt it necessary to share this unverified information with the Prime Minister and whether or not she had advised him that there was a possibility it could be fake news.

But she was adamant that Stuart was “asked about something, which he said he saw but we were investigating”. “Is something wrong with that?” she queried.

12 Responses to Not PM’s fault

  1. Sheldine Dyall
    Sheldine Dyall February 21, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    Foot in mouth

    Reply
  2. Rawle Spooner
    Rawle Spooner February 21, 2017 at 11:06 pm

    Stupid bunch of clowns Barbados in real trouble circus gone mad.

    Reply
  3. Lennox hewitt February 22, 2017 at 12:12 am

    Stop mocking Usa President all of a sudden u hearing fake news get u own catch fraze the Donald Trump word.

    Reply
  4. Ernesta Catlyn February 22, 2017 at 8:28 am

    You told him Rihanna was going to sing the National Anthem at the 50th Anniversary celebrations too.

    Reply
  5. Harry February 22, 2017 at 8:44 am

    our own Mrs. Conway

    Reply
  6. Tony Webster February 22, 2017 at 8:46 am

    Thanks be to God, that we have a functioning Independent Press in this country, and a special blessing on those visionaries who not only brought us The Nstion a Publishing, but also gave us those sharp, brass, tacks. With real professionals, doing their jobs with pride, we can even accommodate the follies of Other Sources, which as Sir Ronnie put it, are Completely Beyond Comprehension. That, I assure you will pass, into the land of the dinosaurs….or the merely irrelevant.

    It wouldn’t hurt either, in these frantic fiscal times, to also ponder on the opportunity costs attendant on running C.B.C., and G.I.S. Without these dinosaurs, magnitudes of relief would be available to some of our distressed old folks, living by their fingernails, in dilapidated homes . Yes indeed, this Bajan has a social conscience, and the waste of public funds that we that we have come to accept as “normal” causes me unmeasurable anguish.

    Reply
  7. Sue Donym February 22, 2017 at 8:48 am

    Nice to think that the US authorities would “follow the rules” in notifying consulates, but is it inconceivable that the same administration that would act on hastily issued new rules would fail to ‘play nice’ otherwise?

    Let’s keep it real… Ms McClean either received it from a generally trusted source or from someone who saw it and thought it should be checked. So far, no problem; she’s in a room with the PM and notifies him of something that if true, would be of national interest but that it’s being queried. What’s wrong there?

    Reply
  8. Donild Trimp February 22, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    Sue Donym, I am surprised at your attempt to justify the Foreign Minister’s lack of common sense.

    There is direct and instantaneous contact if needed between the Minister and the Consulate office in New York.

    How long would it have taken her to verify that information before going to the PM with gossip instead of verified information?

    These people are educated fools. Rank armatures.

    Reply
  9. Donild Trimp February 22, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    *should have been “with verified information instead of gossip”

    Reply
  10. Peter February 22, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    He /she who knows not and knows that they knows not are fools. Shun them. Lots of qualified idiots in DEM politics.

    Reply
  11. Coralita February 22, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    Yet again, bajans majoring in minors.

    Reply
  12. hcalndre February 22, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    Maxine McClean should never had made the trip to Guyana in the first place. Too much baggage the tax payers have to carry. Then the PM was in B`klyn this weekend attending a Cock Sip with his coterie having a good time while MOF and GOCB going at it toe to toe.

    Reply

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