Postings on website were misrepresented on TV programme

Stabroek News of January 16, 2015 carried a letter captioned ‘Informed speculation,’ in which Mr Kit Nascimento, sought to respond, in defence of Mr Winston Brassington, Chairman of Atlantic Hotel Inc, to an editorial in the newspaper of January 6, 2015 titled ‘Questions continue over Marriott deal, opening date.’

Mr Nascimento, who did not disclose any interlocking relationships with Mr Brassington, with the hotel company and with Guyana Power and Light of which Brassington is chairman, or with NICIL of which Brassington is the CEO, accused the Stabroek News of “introduc[ing] a new practice of journalism, the reporting of ‘informed speculation,’ to justify unsubstantiated, undocumented, unsupported reporting published as fact by his newspaper.” That accusation, language and all, would be quite appropriate to Mr Nascimento himself.

In a recent television programme ‘moderated’ and described by him as the “third broadcast programme on the progress and development of the Marriott Hotel,” Mr Nascimento in introductory remarks, said, “This week Tuesday … Mr Christopher Ram, on his personal blog, which was reported in the Kaieteur News …” The programme, clearly initiated and manipulated by Mr Brassington, included, in addition to him, the unsuspecting Project Manager of the Marriott Hotel construction and the Marriott representative in Guyana.

Having as his premise this fictitious blog, Mr Nascimento then proceeded to ask a series of leading questions, no doubt prepared with the extensive assistance of Mr Brassington, with Nascimento casually throwing in words like Ram “suggested” and Ram “implied.”

Had Mr Nascimento taken the elementary, responsible and professional step of verifying his assertions and allegations with my website he would have noticed (a) that the articles to which the Kaieteur News referred were posted in February 2013 – nearly two years earlier; (b) that never in the four-part series did I make any allegation, let alone a “serious allegation” that Marriott Hotel was a “cut price” hotel; and (c) that I did not say that the construction agreement did not provide for supervision.

I would not waste my time or that of readers to repeat the text of the four-part series of articles on beginning February 17, 2013 under the caption ‘Soul for Sale,’ which incidentally was a pun on the hotel and not Mr Brassington. Sadly, I am unable to describe Mr Nascimento’s moderation of the programme in the way that he sardonically did the Stabroek News editorial as “a new practice,” but would prefer to use his own formulation and describe his/Brassington’s programme as based on false, fabricated and fictitious information presented in a disgraceful, malicious, unethical and unprofessional manner.

Editor, everyone has a right to earn a living. But I am sure that accounting is not the only field that requires engagements to meet basic ethical and professional principles and that asks its practitioners to refuse contrived, orchestrated assignments regardless of the size of the fee dangled. When individuals violate these principles they devalue their profession. And when a profession is devalued, the wider society is also devalued.

Mr Brassington is aware that the Marriott articles on my website were two years old. But like the Stabroek News editorial they are as relevant today as they are factual. As an officer of a government company, Mr Brassington has a duty to respond to legitimate concerns and questions asked of his actions involving public resources. The use of ventriloquists using evasive tactics is not only cowardly but totally unacceptable.

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