Brian Acore: Under the caption; ‘UNASUR detention triggers man’s death’ the Kaieteur News Wednesday, December 8 edition carried a story that reeks of sloppy journalism marred by sensationalism and speculation.
The report stated that government spearheaded a campaign to clear the streets of Georgetown of mentally ill and destitute persons in the run-up to the just concluded UNASUR summit. One such person – Dwayne Vieira, the report said, was sent to the National Psychiatric Hospital at Canje, East Berbice, after being ‘rounded up’ and ‘bundled off’.
These terms were specifically used to convey a certain message since they have very distinct connotations. No attempt was made by the journalist/editor to ascertain what the procedure is in Guyana for committing someone to a mental institution. Rather, the implication is that persons are routinely and randomly ‘rounded up’ and ‘bundled off’ to psychiatric hospitals. Note that at the time of writing, I could not verify that such a ‘campaign’ was indeed carried out prior to the UNASUR summit.
Nevertheless, here is where the story further disintegrates. The man, in an apparent attempt to escape, drowned after jumping into the Canje River. This according to the Kaieteur News is the government’s fault since they sent him there in the first place.
First of all, the inmates at the Canje institution, like all such institutions around the world, would’ve had to be taken there by someone, more than likely against their will. If an attempt to escape is made and an inmate dies in the process, how is this the fault of those who committed the person?
The report paints a picture of a very sane man being taken to a place for the mentally deranged. It says the man kept insisting that he is not mad (is this denial not common among the mentally deranged?).
Here is where logic breaks down. The man (who is not mad?) ran through dense bush, according to Kaieteur News report, and jumped into the Canje River, after thinking it was a trench. He didn’t know the difference between a trench and a river, but he is not mad.
From all indications, the Kaieteur News’ sole purpose for existing is to launch cheap attacks on the government through fabrications, misrepresentations and malicious reporting. This is sloppy journalism and must be condemned.