Express headline belittled a hero

Dear Editor,

I read your reprint of the report in the Trinidad Express of Mr Nicholas Seucharran’s ultimate act of selflessness but could not understand your belittling enclosure of the word hero in inverted commas.

So I checked the Net and found the same belittling commas appearing in the original version.

You would know that the effect of that is like saying “they say he is a hero,” and you might as well add “but he doesn’t fit the proper profile.”

I could not help wondering if he had been one of the self-important and overbearing people who find themselves in the news every day (a type that exists in Guyana and Trinidad) whether you would have enclosed the word in inverted commas.

Or perhaps if he had managed to save a distinguished victim, someone like Monica Spear perhaps?

Interestingly enough this comes just after a little discussion in your paper about who would make some people’s lists of heroes that caused me to smile. I wondered on whose list Arnold Rampersaud and Sister Hazel Campagne would place.

These were people who knew they were putting themselves in danger by challenging extremes of political conduct and paid the price.

This man is in the same category of the man from Tiger Bay who saved his friend in the manhole and died from the inhalation of gases; the man who saved the woman in the minibus accident that happened along the East Bank Demerara highway just days before the 2006 elections.

Like Arland Williams of the 1982 Air Florida plane crash who swam to save until he himself perished, this man did not even know the children.

He knew he was putting his own life in danger. The term has been devalued but Nicholas Seucharran is a hero as good as they come.

Yours faithfully,

Frederick W A Collins

 Editor’s note

 As Mr Collins rightly notes, the report on Mr Seucharran in our newspaper was an exact reprint of the Trinidad Express story. It is highly improbable that the Express intended to convey any of the implications Mr Collins cites above.

The likely explanation is that the paper reported the facts of the story as it is supposed to do, but in the headline made an editorial comment (hero) on the status of the man.

 This would normally be found in an editorial column, not a news report, so as such it was placed in quote marks.

Alternatively (although less likely), someone on the scene did call Mr Seucharran a “hero,” and although that direct quote was reflected in the caption, it was cut at some point from the original report.  

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