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Trinidad: UNC says Cambridge Analytica story is a fairy tale

By Trinidad Guardian

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UNC PRO Anita Haynes

(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) —   An op­por­tunist! That’s how Unit­ed Na­tion­al Con­gress (UNC) pub­lic re­la­tions of­fi­cer Ani­ta Haynes de­scribed Christo­pher Wylie who worked with Cam­bridge An­a­lyt­i­ca (CA) and con­duct­ed da­ta min­ing and analy­ses in T&T.

Her com­ments came hours af­ter yes­ter­day’s front­page T&T Guardian ar­ti­cle head­lined “Sex, Spies and Lies” in­volv­ing the con­tents of Wylie’s new book Mindf*** which de­tails the work CA did in 2013 that paints T&T a dark pic­ture of the da­ta col­lect­ed and used by the then Peo­ple’s Part­ner­ship gov­ern­ment un­der Kam­la Per­sad-Bisses­sar’s regime.

Haynes in a press re­lease is­sued yes­ter­day de­scribed Wylie’s claims against the UNC as un­true and the par­ty “will now look at our le­gal op­tions against all per­sons in­volved in spread­ing this defam­a­to­ry in­for­ma­tion.”

The Gov­ern­ment, she said has start­ed “a con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry” in the lead up to the 2020 gen­er­al elec­tion against the Op­po­si­tion with­out fact-check­ing Wylie.

“These mem­bers of the Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty Coun­cil should tell the coun­try at what point they re­port­ed Mr Wylie to the po­lice for spy­ing on T&T? To date, Mr Wylie has nev­er clear­ly stat­ed his role and has not named a sin­gle per­son in Trinidad with whom he was work­ing or li­ais­ing, not pro­vid­ed a shred of ev­i­dence, no re­port that he wrote for his al­leged em­ploy­ers in Trinidad.”

Nor has Wylie, she said pro­duced a con­tract or cheques that proved he was hired and paid.

The en­tire mat­ter, Haynes said was a far-fetched fairy­tale.

In a tele­phone in­ter­view with Guardian Me­dia yes­ter­day, Haynes said Young’s press con­fer­ence yes­ter­day “dou­bled down on the stu­pid­i­ty” by again rais­ing the al­le­ga­tions.

Weigh­ing in on the is­sue, po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst Dr Win­ford James said a sim­ple de­nial by the UNC was not good enough.

“How can we show that the claims are true or false. The UNC seems to have a big oblig­a­tion here be­yond de­nial.”

James said the al­le­ga­tion is based on spy­ing which vi­o­lates peo­ple’s pri­va­cy.

Wylie is in­sist­ing that the UNC re­tained CA to ac­cess pri­vate cit­i­zens’ da­ta which is bad for the par­ty.

“The UNC has to show that these al­le­ga­tions are wrong.”

With the De­cem­ber 2 lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions around the cor­ner, James said PNM has raised the is­sue again for the mass­es to con­sume, un­der­stand and do some­thing about.

“Whether it is go­ing to per­suade and con­vince peo­ple who are sit­ting on the fence. I don’t know if that is suf­fi­cient to win over peo­ple on the fence. I am not sure that it is suf­fi­cient to pre­vent an ex­o­dus of sup­port­ers from the UNC. The onus is on the UNC to clear the name. They have to be con­cerned in the way they clear their name.”

Any par­ty that has such claims hang­ing over its head so close to an elec­tion, James said “has to wor­ry and won­der” whether their re­spons­es to these claims are go­ing to make their sup­port­ers be­lieve that the oth­er po­lit­i­cal par­ty has ma­nip­u­lat­ed cir­cum­stances to put them in a bad place.

Po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst Pro­fes­sor John La Guerre said CA has been as­so­ci­at­ed in sev­er­al fraud­u­lent re­ports and con­clu­sions.

“How­ev­er it’s al­leged in­volve­ment in lo­cal pol­i­tics is a bit dis­turb­ing.”

La Guerre said the CA scan­dal was a new de­vel­op­ment which seems to have broad­er im­pli­ca­tions if true.

“These things are not eas­i­ly put to rest.”

If Wylie’s ac­cu­sa­tion about porn has some truth in it, La Guerre said one has to in­ves­ti­gate if this vi­o­lates a per­son’s pri­va­cy.

“If CA could do it with im­puni­ty oth­ers may think they can do like­wise.”

This article was posted in its entirety as received by This media house does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries. The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of, its sponsors or advertisers.

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