TO TELL A TRUTH…

A British Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, noted that: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

            It’s rare to find all three elements in one statement. But it’s happening right now.

            Where? In this snippet – attached to other longer segments – that scrolls up in a Royal Gazette internet website. The lie? “Bermudian elected legislators… (Most) don’t have listed telephone numbers at work or at home.”

            Arthur Andersen auditors, Saddam Hussein’s propagandists, and Satan himself would be professionally proud of this well-crafted, prominently displayed, and truly magnificent untruth that is presented as a fact.

            The statement is a specially crafted lie. A definite untruth presented as though it were a fact.

            There are 40 elected Parliamentarians. Eight of them do not have direct “work” or “home” telephone numbers that are listed in the current BTC directory. That’s eight out of 40. That’s 20%. One in five. Eight out of 40 is not “most”.

            Of the eight who do not have listed direct numbers; common, ordinary, grassroots Bermudian knowledge would enable any ‘local’ to get four of these numbers. Easily and effortlessly.

            For instance, Kim Young [MP, UBP, Paget] does not have her number directly listed. Is this a problem? Not to a local.

            We all know she’s married to Ward Young. So we look up Ward’s number, call Ward’s house, and ask to speak to his wife – Kim Young, MP.  Simple. Dead simple.

            In this way, 36 out of our 40 elected parliamentarians can be reached. Thirty-six out of 40 is 90%. One must be mathematically moronic, incredibly incompetent, or preposterously prejudiced, to turn 4 out of 40 – that’s 10% – into “most”.

            Besides, if us Bermudians do actually call our parliamentary rep, our parliamentarian may even answer the phone himself; which means we won’t have to go through secretaries and receptionists and ‘nosey parkers’ who might put us off, or who might want to pry into our ‘business’.

            Bermuda is unique in the actual availability and accessibility of its government. Unlike Number Ten Downing Street, Bermuda’s Cabinet building isn’t closed-off.  No phalanxes of gun-toting Secret Servicemen keep Bermudians from the Premier. You can bend Minister Terry Lister’s ear when he’s walking along Parliament Street. You can e-mail MP Arthur Hodgson at his BTC listed email address. You can page MP Dr Brown on his BTC listed pager. You can get MP Michael Dunkley at any of six declared points of BTC contact. You can stop by any of their unguarded houses on any day. You can ‘wave them down’ as they drive themselves around.

            Bermuda has always enjoyed this very high and regular accessibility to its elected parliamentarians. It hasn’t changed.  I hope it never changes.

            But why did Keith Forbes, identified as the author of this website, choose to write an inaccuracy [lie]? Why did the Royal Gazette – with thousands of hours and the professional journalistic duty to verify facts – choose to allow, and thus bless, the inaccuracy [lie]. Why bless? Because this website was last updated on 31 March 2003 – just ten days ago!

            When one reads all of the other stuff that Forbes has also written on this website, with all of it copyrighted to the Royal Gazette, one is left to think that those managers at the Royal Gazette who are responsible for accuracy of content are blasé [just don’t give a damn] about truth and facts.

            Or that all of these managers are on a ‘crusade’ against the government-of-the-day. Or that all of these managers are just incompetent and unprofessional.

            It leaves us readers and net-surfers to conclude that we ought to give even less credence to the stuff that appears in the pages of the Gazette and on its website.

            I wonder? Is the individual named Keith Forbes following a highly personal agenda? Using the tools of highly subjective opinion and deliberate falsehoods, is Forbes – and the Royal Gazette – targeting and seeking to destroy some of our unique on-island systems and customs?

            In a free society, men who have individual gripes and personal agendas have the democratic right to voice and pursue them. I acknowledge that.

            But I would have thought that professionally competent editors and managers would see to it that people such as their website writers do not so affect their news-sheets, that their product is dragged, pushed, or pulled into an intellectual wasteland and is turned into ‘bum paper’.

            I would have thought that. But, in April 2003, I have no reason to.

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