The following letter was sent to Kaieteur News to correct a statement made by one of their columnists. Despite a second submission (to the publisher), it has not appeared in their letter columns. Certainly a newspaper is not bound to publish every letter it receives but, when a columnist or reporter makes a mistake (the most positive interpretation in this case), a newspaper surely has a moral obligation to publish a response? Or does Kaieteur News operate by a different rule-book? And, if so, would it care to clarify so that its readers are aware of the terms on which they are permitted to enter the discourse?
The letter sent to Kaieteur News follows:
Reading some of Freddie Kissoon’s columns yesterday, I came across a reference to my father, David de Caires [‘A Scene from The Post reminds me of my days at Stabroek News’, February 8th 2018]. My father’s two enduring maxims as an editor were: “facts first” and “an editor has no friends.” (i.e can show no favouritism in his/her coverage of events). Mr Kissoon asserts in the closing lines of his piece that “each year, David DeCaires [sic] celebrated his birthday at a house on the Essequibo River but the senior staff was never invited.” He is mistaken. For many years, my father celebrated his birthday with an open-house on the afternoon of 31st December at Moray House in Camp Street. Never, not once, did he host a birthday party on the Essequibo River. Senior staff and columnists were invited to the open-house, though many were unable to attend: it was a working day at the newspaper. I have enjoyed reading Mr Kissoon’s columns since he worked at Stabroek News and compliment him on his enduring championing of the less visible, less audible and the less popular causes and cases in our society. The sanctity of this stance is compromised when he takes cheap shots at easy targets like dead men. He is absolutely free to criticize whomsoever he chooses. It’s disappointing though that, in recalling my father, he did so inaccurately.
Isabelle de Caires