Al Jazeera aired a damaging story on the drug trade in Guyana

Dear Editor,

A short time ago, I attended a public symposium hosted by a leading political party which gave an exposition of its views on the Israeli-Gaza conflict which was raging at the time.

One of the prominent pieces of advice given at this symposium by leading members of that party was to listen the Al Jazeera television news network rather than CNN and the BBC, as these networks were biased in favour of the first world and presented a distorted view of the facts. This was the opinion of the presenter because Al Jazeera’s view of the conflict echoed his.

On March 5, 2009, Al Jazeera aired a wholly unprofessional and damaging story on the drug trade in Guyana (http://english. aljazeera.net/news/americas/2009/03/ 20093542529606519.html).

For the millions of people who have never heard of or seen Guyana, it damned us as a major player in the global drug trade, a country where drug barons have seeming immunity and roam free to do their trade and flaunt wealth. It even went as far as unfairly selectively quoting Minister  Clement Rohee, in the context of its storyline so it could lend credibility to its twisted reporting.

This is what happens when emotions and politicking are substituted for prudence. In their clouded judgement at the time senior politicians advised us to give credence to a network in favour of more balanced, experienced, and professional ones just because these networks did not echo their views. The BBC, CNN, Stabroek News and other media have published stories on Guyana’s drug issues, but never in the light in which Al Jazeera painted us. Why, they even used the line, “The only thing they haven’t put cocaine into in Guyana is the National Anthem”!    I will listen to more respectable and responsible media in the future. My former advisors should take my advice this time.

Yours faithfully,
Learie C Barclay

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