Archive for April 19th, 2008

April 19, 2008


With the Plymouth Jazz Festival fast approaching the halls of ieTV have been abuzz with activity for the past few weeks as our CEO is also the main organiser of the festival. Ignoring, for the moment, the fact there is not a single jazz artist in the line-up, the event has become one of the biggest events on the national calendar and thousands of people plan their weekend around it. The downside of the fact our small company has to turn its attention to getting such a huge event off the ground is that quite a few of our staff are now completely involved in the festival exclusively. Starting next week Tuesday most of our non-news camera crew will be in Tobago setting up to shoot the event meaning my interview programme cannot be taped as usual. To prevent a hole opening up in our schedule i have been compelled to indulge in what i refer to as an orgy of interviewing…trying to get as many in the can as I can for the next week or so. While the interviews I have been doing are often a function of which guests are available I was pondering the odd assortment I have done in the last two days.

Yesterday i started with Senator Wade Mark who represents the Opposition UNC. He is a genuinely engaging man and, coming from a trade union background, enjoys interaction. Our conversation covered everything from the current laptop dispute to food prices and made for an interesting ( at least from my perspective) half hour of discussion. He was followed by George Daniel who is the local ( and regional) head of Disabled Peoples’ International ( I have no idea why they word it that way). He has manage to fight for the rights of disabled persons to have access to everything from buildings to education in this country and has done so from the confines of a wheelchair. I am not sure how he lost his legs though i assume it is a congenital condition but I know he has more force of will than most people i meet. Thankfully our studio was more accessible than the last time he visited us and I was not forced to apologise to him on camera for the inconvenience as I chose to do on the last occasion. I thought the interview was productive and at least a bit optimistic since he has noted real progress in the physical arrangements made for disabled persons in most new buildings. To be sure he was a bit discouraged that attitudes have not changed so much but, as usual, he felt the future would see improvement.

The follow-up to that was an interview with the President of the Administrative Professionals Association. This was the one I was rather dreading as there is nothing worse than an interview that should take 5 minutes being dragged out to half hour but I was surprised we managed to find many interesting aspects to the job of “gatekeeper” that kept us chatting for the full time with no problem. I will admit that it might not have been the hardest hitting interview I have ever done…but variety is good and I promised my staff I will not make it a habit.

Today we managed just two interviews but they were both useful. I spoke to the Asst. GM of the electricity distribution company about a proposed rate hike that goes into effect any second now. He explained their position and the fact that the company has not raised its rates since 1992 so I suppose one could hardly begrudge them some sort of increase. I will admit that of all the utilities here T&TEC is probably the most efficient and the most receptive to telephone calls. That being said, his smiling confession to me that my power consuming lifestyle will most likely result in what he called a “whopping” 40% increase did little to make me more cheerful. Funny how they always tell me these things off camera which probably means that viewers must be puzzled by my grim look.

My final guest today was the husband of an old friend of mine and half of the dance company that they run. He spoke about a Classical Indian Kathak performance he is staging on the weekend of the jazz festival and we chatted about the difficulty of getting local audiences to attend events that are outside their normal fare. He is incorporating other dance forms in the performance which i hope will help pull a crowd as should the fact Mungal Patasar is providing the music. After the interview he kindly gave me two tickets ( though i was happy to pay for them) so I immediately called Robin and booked him for that evening. While the rest of the country might be in Tobago enjoying Rod Stewart and Whitney Houston i will be attending my first ever full evening of Classical Indian dance.