The management of the American Home and Beauty Centre on Robb and Wellington streets says a public relations mistake resulted in one of its Independence Anniversary ads featuring a map of Guyana without Essequibo.
On Thursday, an advertisement was posted on the company’s Facebook page for an Independence Day 15% off sale. The ad create a furore as Facebook users and patrons called for a boycott of the store after it was noticed that the map of Guyana that was used was without the county of Essequibo, which has been claimed by Venezuela in a long-running border controversy which is now before the International Court of Justice for settlement.
However, General Manager Essam Ajouri told Stabroek News that the business’ Facebook page is managed by a representative in New Jersey, who made the mistake of including the incorrect map.
He further explained that the person was given a directive to create an ad for an Independence Day sale and to include the map of the country. He noted that the person searched on Google for a map and the one that was used for the ad is what they found. Groups supporting Venezuela’s claim have over a number of years circulated such maps of Guyana.
Ajouri emphasised that the action was not deliberate and that it would not make any sense for him to do something that is “anti-Guyanese” given that his business is in the heart of the country’s capital.
Two apologies were subsequently posted on the store’s Facebook page yesterday.
The first one, which featured a full Guyana map said, “Our deepest apologies to the people of Guyana for an unintended mistake that was done by your company and we want to assure you that we will never be on anybody’s side but the Guyanese Nation who we are proud to live among over their land.”
The second apology said, “To our Guyanese people and valued customers, we are sincerely sorry for the Independence ad which would have been published. The page is usually managed internationally by our Marketing Department. The incident has caused great disrespect to the people of Guyana [and] we take full responsibility for the poor representation displayed. We wish to assure the Country that we would never intentionally do anything to disrespect the Country and/or disgrace the map.”
It went on to say that it will ensure that the mistake does not repeat itself.
“Our team will do better in researching and edifying when representing Guyana,” the apology added.