‘Strategy for Fake News’ – Farley on Leaked Recording

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‘Evidently, it was discussed, and evidently, it wasn’t executed as discussed’ – Farley Augustine on leaked audio tape

By Sue-Ann Wayow

CHIEF Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Farley Augustine is admitting that the issues discussed in a leaked audio clip last month are true.

On Friday, Augustine broke his silence concerning the contents of the audio purported to be a conversation between two THA executives discussing hiring persons full-time through the THA to spread propaganda for political gain.


While he said it was a fact that there was a discussion, it was also a fact that such discussion was not implemented more than a year later after the discussion was held, proving his government “thinks things through and explores all options.”

Augustine also said that the timing of the leaking of the audio was part of a much bigger diabolical plot to destabilise the THA  by his political opponents mainly the People’s National Movement (PNM) and the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP).

The Chief Secretary hosted a public briefing on Friday morning and flanked by his THA executive members spoke on the issue of the audio tape amongst other matters of serious allegations including exhortation, sex, lies and scandal.

He stressed that it was not held under the auspices of the THA.


In his address that lasted for just over an hour, Augustine pleaded with Tobagonians not to lose heart and faith in what he and the current THA were attempting to accomplish with an end goal of making Tobago self-sufficient.

He said, “This audio tape that you hear is an old recording and yes, this was a closed-door strategy session and I will show you how our detractors are just wicked because they very well know the nature of these conversations.”

Augustine said as an executive, all strategies must be explored including those used by opponents.

He said the strategy of using social media personnel to spread messages has been before his executive and people in other arenas were paid “to be on Facebook every day.”

Augustine said, “Guess what I did. I closed it down. Look at the evidence. Show me how much people we hire to that kind of work.”

He said, “Evidently, it was discussed, and evidently it wasn’t executed as discussed.”

Augustine continued, “Which clearly shows that a government is working. They discuss all the strategies, the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful, the everything.”

There was a reason why Cabinet and executive meetings were protected by law he added because “raw conversations” were expected.


The Chief Secretary also said he was glad that the audio was leaked, believing it to originate from his former political leader Watson Duke who was once part of the executive.

“This leak as unfortunate as it is, it proved to us the kind of colleague, we had in Mr Duke because I very well believe that he is the source of this leak,” he said. Duke has since denied that he made the recording.

Without calling names of the persons in the leaked audio, Augustine said the one name called was someone hired as personal staff for a member of the THA executive as members were entitled to personal staff and key requirements of personal staff must be loyalty and trust.

He said, “In the age of artificial intelligence, fake profiles, bugs and all kind of thing, there is a requirement for every government to have a strategy to treat with fake news.”

It would also not be fair if minority councillor in the THA Kelvon Morris could hire personal staff to share his information and the THA could not hire personal staff to share information on the THA’s agenda.

And the reason why Augustine said he took so long to address the leaked audio issues was because he was being cautious, considering security implications.

Since the tape was leaked in May, there have been several calls by persons and groups to have Augustine address the issue.


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