Interview with Stabroek Business inaccurately reported

Dear Editor,
The Friday, January 23, 2009 edition of Stabroek Business carried an article on pages 16 and 18, under the caption, ‘Investing in the revival of the book culture,’ in which several comments were attributed to me. I can accept only two of those comments: that the Georgetown Reading & Research Centre is a combination of business and a passion for reading, and that an average of 1,000 books are sold per month. I state categorically that all the other comments in the article were not made by me to the writer or to anyone at any time.

Most of the comments are simply pompous. I am troubled that I would “take aim at business houses” and brag about “his own commercial success” when our work at the centre is closer to being ministerial, missionary, if you will.

And what business do I have fretting that “the recent rapid growth of the high street trading sector has found little room for catering to the requirements of the intellect.” I was particularly offended by the reference to “the powers that be.”
We at Georgetown Read-ing & Research Centre hold dear the many contributions and encouraging comments, from both public and private organizations, which have helped to sustain our efforts and the initiative for more than a decade.
We applaud, in particular, the contribution of the Ministry of Education.

Interestingly, I sought to discuss with the Stabroek Business staffer the hosting of ‘The Book Feast of 2009,’ a massive book sale for two months running, where the regular prices on all books at the centre will be reduced by 10% to 80%, and free books will be given to purchasers. On the day of the discussion I duly handed the reporter a document containing the full facts.

It is rather unusual, if not almost impossible, for some 95% of all attribution in a news story to be outright inaccurate. I have worked as a reporter both in Guyana and the United States, served as Associate Editor with Tuskegee University Campus Digest and in all my twenty-five years of association with the newspaper at various times I have never heard, let alone seen, anything like this. And so it would be of interest to the management of Stabroek News to investigate the real motive of the January 23 Stabroek Business article.

I regret that one internet reader took Stabroek Business to task and labelled their story, “disgraceful” but I must now insist that Stabroek News retract this offensive article.

Yours faithfully,
Rupert Hopkinson
Georgetown Reading & Research Centre

Editor’s note
Stabroek News apologizes to Mr Hopkinson for any inaccuracies contained in the article and for any misrepresentations of what he said.

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