The response of Stabroek News to Help & Shelter’s letter registering its dismay over Stag Beer ad campaign and calling for its immediate withdrawal raises some concerns. Firstly on Monday late afternoon a reporter from Stabroek News called me to verify if the names accompanying Help & Shelter’s letter were there on behalf of Help & Shelter. The original letter was sent to all the daily newspapers twice, with the names attached and at the bottom of the last name written clearly was ‘For Help & Shelter.‘ I understand that Stabroek News even contacted Red Thread to find out if they had sent the letter.
This is indeed remarkable as all of Help & Shelter letters within the past 4 years would have had my name and others attached with the same caption at the end. These have never been questioned previously.
The names attached to this particular letter represent four Help & Shelter Directors and two community based workers who have worked and continue to work tirelessly for the development of communities and young people across Guyana. Could this have been one of the reasons that the letter was never carried?
Secondly if the intention was to present two opposing views on a campaign to increase the sale of Stag beer, then it was indeed neither fair nor balanced.
The alcohol industry and its distributors represent some of the most powerful and influential companies within the private sector of this country. This article shows the reach, power and influence of such companies.
Those of us who are without such power and influence would expect to be given equal space and opportunity to also present our views on the critical issues of alcoholism and the despair, abuse and degeneration it contributes to in our communities.
If Ansa Mcal’s Crown Your Community Campaign continues then we who work in communities in domestic and sexual violence and child abuse prevention through counselling, court support and public education services will be not only the witnesses to the real victims and survivors of these fields of tears but also their defenders and advocates.
Contrary to what Ms Radzik assumes, we did not receive the letter she refers to above, and it is for this reason a reporter was asked to do a story on the subject. Our attention was drawn to Help & Shelter’s concerns through their letter which appeared in the Guyana Chronicle, and the fact that we went out of our way to give coverage to its contents even though we ourselves had not received it, should suggest to Ms Radzik that her suspicions expressed above are without foundation.