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The highly anticipated interview disappoints

The highly anticipated interview disappoints


One of the most highly anticipated interviews in recent times is now the subject of much discussion, not so much about what was said, but what was not.{{more}}

Leader of the Opposition and President of the New Democratic Party (NDP) Arnhim Eustace had announced on Monday, June 6, that he would be interviewed by Jerry George on his “Up Next” programme and that interview would be aired on Sunday, June 12, at 8 p.m. on SVG TV and later that night at 9 p.m. on IKtv.

Eustace said that in that interview, he would respond to some of the statements made by Sir James Mitchell, founder of the NDP, during a controversial interview with George, which was aired on IK tv on Sunday, May 29.

However, on Sunday, June 12, persons who tuned in to both television stations were left disappointed.

The interview was not broadcast at the time specified on IKtv, and on SVG TV, it did not air at all.

Richard MacLeish, Assistant General Manager of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Broadcasting Corporation, parent company of SVG TV, told SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday that no booking had been made for “Up Next”.

“There was no booking on that Sunday from anyone for “Up Next”. The slot from 8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. that “Up Next” used to occupy has not been occupied for some time by the programme. We had in fact slotted Miss SVG 2011 for that slot and were advertising such,” Macleish said.

But on IKtv, the programme did air, not at 9:00 p.m. as indicated by Eustace, but at 6:00 p.m. This, however, was not the only problem. The programme ran for the entire hour without sound. Following the ‘silent interview’, disparaging remarks were made against the television station.

Public Relations Officer of the NDP Vynnette Frederick made the following post on her Facebook page: “What a time to have a technical problem…IKTV has lost all credibility as far as I am concerned…concentrate on fluff…no one will ever take you seriously as a news carrying entity with failings like Eustace with no audio…utter and total CRAP.”

However, Dwight Joseph, Managing Director of IK tv, in an interview with SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday said: “I find it upsetting to think people would think we would sabotage the programme with Eustace. How would we benefit from sabotaging a programme with Eustace, or anyone for that matter?”

“If we wanted to sabotage the programme, we would not even air the programme,” Joseph added.

Joseph said the programme (Up Next) is not a production of IKtv or Island Koncepts, but is produced by another production entity.

Imran Tannis, an employee of IKtv, explained to SEARCHLIGHT that the footage delivered by George to the television station only had sound on the left audio channel, rather than both left and right audio channels.

Tannis explained that the scheduler at IK tv only registers audio on the right audio channel and as George’s programme had no sound on the right audio channel, no sound was broadcast.

He said when George delivered the footage of Eustace’s interview on Saturday afternoon, he checked for sound and got sound, but did not check to see if the sound was on both left and right audio channels, as he was pressed for time. He said it was only after the programme was broadcast without sound and he did his investigations did he realise that the audio for the programme had been recorded in one channel only.

“Why would you bring a programme at that time to air on Sunday night, when the staff is not even supposed to be there? Why would he go to the staff and ask them to help with something without even checking with me?” Joseph said, responding to a claim by Tannis that he edited the programme at George’s request.

Joseph said, “Jerry never made any arrangements with me to edit the programme… he never did.”

Joseph said the programme was aired at 6:00 p.m. instead of 9:00 p.m. because the person who did the scheduling at IKtv was not informed that the programme was to come on at 9 p.m., so they took it upon themselves to schedule it to air it at 6:00 p.m.

“It is only of recent that we have started airing “Up Next” and no proper scheduling is in place for it yet,” Joseph said.

To make matters worse, when the programme was rebroadcast on Monday, June 13, on IK tv at 8:00 p.m., it ran fine, with sound, for about 45 minutes, then for the last 15 minutes or so, the programme froze.

Joseph said the programme got stuck because of additional problems regarding the encoding.

“We don’t have a staff that works 24 hours, so this was not a problem that we could fix on the spot when it occurred,” he explained.

The audio of the programme did, however, air in its entirety both on Sunday and Monday evening on Nice Radio.

Persons who heard the interview have, however, expressed disappointment that George did not question Eustace about several comments made by Mitchell, including allegations that Eustace had made comments about “cocoa money” and that Mitchell had practically made Eustace by placing him in several key positions during his professional life.

SEARCHLIGHT communicated with George several times while working on this story. He declined our invitations to comment.