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Give the whole story, please


Give the whole story, please

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I can imagine how Gordon “Butch” Stewart felt after he saw that recent headline in Barbados Today about Too Many Entitlements – especially if, as has been subsequently reported, the story only gave a sensationalised version of what took place.

The company subsequently responded and indicated that while the Sandals chairman acknowledged the economic challenges of social welfare, the fact that Barbados provided such a service to its jobless people was commendable and actually congratulated them for it.

Now that puts an entirely different perspective on the matter and would have made a great deal of difference in the way the public interpreted what it saw.

All you have to do is look at the comments and you can see the hostility and awful things that people had to say about “Butch” Stewart, sadly, because the whole story wasn’t included in the first place.

Look, there are few things in life that we can truly call our own. What we do take with us when the sun sets, however, are the reputation and legacy we have left in life, which is why such things are priceless – priceless and fragile, like delicate china.

Sometimes it’s all that people have left, and that is why you must be particularly sensitive when you do or say anything that can tarnish another person’s character. This is even more vital for media practitioners who have wide access to the public.

I can, therefore, empathise with the Sandals chairman. Truth be told, the story did seem a bit bare on first reading because there were no direct quotes from Stewart. Instead, the writer sought to link it back to a statement by Owen Arthur, going on to quote him instead . . . .

And this only weeks after Stewart‘s company had hired hundreds of young Barbadians. That must have certainly broken his heart, especially with the company planning on another project to create even more jobs.

Despite the statement from Sandals, much of the damage has been done, and that is most unfortunate.

My point ultimately is that in this age of social media and global Internet access, if you sneeze in St Peter, someone in Moscow can catch cold. If you say things about a person that besmirches their character, then, unless you have absolute proof, you do that person grave, sometimes irreparable damage, and that spreads throughout the world.

“Butch” Stewart may be the one affected in this instance, but it can be anyone of us tomorrow. Let’s try to get it right, folks.