By Neil Giuseppi
I recently received a telephone call from Prior Beharry asking me to become a columnist for his online publication, azpnews.com.
I told him immediately that I would only give consideration to contributing a column from time to time since for me the lure of the golf course is considerably greater than the thought of sitting behind a computer desk week after week writing a column.
I knew of course that my first dilemma would be deciding about what I should write.
There are many areas in Trinidad and Tobago today that are worthy of consideration.
Should I write about the Covid-19 pandemic and the refusal by many Trinidadians and Tobagonians to comply with the necessary medical protocols?
Should I instead tackle the deterioration in standards in the media where media managers seem more interested in making money than in training their staff and news reporters apparently seem to be quite content to wallow in mediocrity?
The crime situation in the country is another topic worthy of consideration but I will leave that to others more qualified in that field than I could ever be.
Should I write about how much it pains my heart when I see how polarised T&T has become along racial lines, something that parents of my generation never tolerated?
The boy or girl next door was always my brother or my sister, regardless of the race to which they belonged.
Sadly those days are gone.
Should I blame politicians for using race to further their own personal interests? I decided that I would not since I had taken a decision many years ago never to comment on local politics.
The venom and vitriol that are spouted on social media whenever one expresses an opposing view are things I can live without and most subscribers of Facebook may not have realised that although I am very active on that particular medium, they have never seen any comment from me dealing with local politics.
I intend to keep it that way.
Should I write about golf which has been a passion of mine for more than 36 years or perhaps about West Indies cricket about which I feel I can speak with considerable authority having followed it closely for all of my adult life?
One has to be particularly careful not to comment on things about which one knows little or absolutely nothing as so many commentators are wont to do nowadays.
These, therefore, are the questions I have to ponder if I am to assist Prior by contributing to his publication.
I need, therefore, to stay within my areas of expertise.
I spent most of my working life in the media, starting as a trainee in the News Department at Trinidad and Tobago Television (ttt) and working my way up the ladder to become Head of News.
I also served for four years as Managing Director of the Trinidad Broadcasting Company at one of the most challenging times in T&T when the Government took a decision to de-regulate the media and open up the airwaves to many new players in the field.
During my years in the media I employed many persons in the various news rooms which I managed but there are three in particular who have made me extremely proud, Dominic Kalipersad, Bernard Pantin and Fazeer Mohammed, since they have all become leading lights in the local media.
For eight years I was also the Public Relations Manager of the Trinidad and Tobago Telephone Company (TELCO) at the most exciting time in that company’s history when the greatest development programme ever undertaken by any utility in the country was underway.
That programme was under the dynamic leadership of Dr Neilson Mackay who transformed the company from operating what was probably the worst telephone system imaginable (TELCO poops) to the first fully digital one anywhere in the world.
The years I spent there also gave me the opportunity to work alongside some of the most progressive managers this country has ever seen, people like Richard Jackman, David Dulal-Whiteway, Karen Darbasie and Derwin Howell, who all went on to distinguish themselves in other fields of endeavour when their Telco days were over.
In 1994, I set up my own company, Communications Specialists Limited, a public relations consultancy, which I operated until I retired in 2007 swearing never to work another day in my life.
So why am I even considering writing this column?
Prior Beharry, what have you done to me?