by Linda Straker
- Two of the six-member MWAG executive resigned with immediate effect
- Reasons for resignations have not been openly shared
- Increased number of assaults and threats against media workers on the job recently
Two executive members of the Media Workers Association of Grenada (MWAG) who were elected at the Annual General Meeting held in December 2018, have resigned from their post with immediate effect as of Friday, 17 January 2020.
Tonnia St Louis-Lawrence is an employee of Meaningful Television (MTV), while Gerard Joseph is an employee of the Grenada Broadcasting Network (GBN).
According to MWAG’s constitution, the AGM shall be held on before 30 November each year, but it was unable to be held in November 2017 and thus the executive was elected in December 2018.
Shere-Ann Noel who is currently a senior employee of the Government Information Service (GIS) was elected by the members to serve as President at that AGM, and she has confirmed receiving the resignations on Friday.
The other executive members are Rickisha St Louis and Delroy Louison who are also employed with the government, and Asher Andall who is an independent media worker.
Both Lawrence and Joseph have not openly shared the reason for the resignation, but have given the assurance that they will continue to be members of the Association. According to its constitution, the Association “is dedicated to the best interest of the media in Grenada, particularly for the furtherance of the education and professional status of its members.”
The constitution provides guidance on the process to fill the vacancies. “In the event of a vacancy occurring on the Executive by the death, incapacity or resignation of an officer, a successor may be appointed by the Executive Committee to complete the remainder of the term.”
President Noel said that an emergency meeting will be called to formally inform the membership of the resignations and for the Association to decide the way forward.
It is not certain if the action of the two is linked to the growing number of assaults and threats against media workers on the job in recent months and the executive decision to not publicly condemn all reported acts. It is understood that some members of the Executive have been demanding that there be open condemnation and concern about the assaults, but at least on one occasion, there was no public action.
The latest was an online journalist being barred from recording a public meeting for news purposes in the village of Mt Moritz. Residents of the area were meeting with Acting Commissioner of Police and other government officials, but some in attendance said they were uncomfortable having the media present.
After the journalist left, the Government Information Service arrived at the venue and was allowed to record, and an edited version of the recording was later disseminated to media houses who requested a copy of the meeting. Traditionally, the GIS makes available unedited footage of government events.