Dissatisfied with local coverage of US tragedy
Stabroek News
September 20, 2001

Dear Editor,

Please allow me to point out some observations regarding your coverage of the dreadful happenings in the USA.

First it is great to see that you are maintaining a list of Guyanese missing and/or presumed dead, and carrying the stories of survivors in your letters column. The Chronicle at least was able to cover the prayer meeting at the US embassy held by the grounded crew of North American Airlines, and the signing of the book of condolence by President Bharrat Jagdeo.

However, beyond this I was a bit disappointed, even moreso when I received e-mails and telephone conversations from friends and relatives in Guyana (a few of these are students preparing for the CXC's) requesting more information and a different point of view. The questions were, for instance, who is Osama bin Laden and the reason(s) he may be attacking the USA, what are/may be the political and financial ramifications of the attacks and the consequences of a NATO-supported USA declaration of war on the terrorists and their supporters. How will all of this affect Afghanistan/Pakistan, USA/Moscow relations and NATO allies, and a host of other interesting and intriguing questions.

Afterwards, I had cause to rethink what was covered and carried in our most widely circulated newspapers - Stabroek News and the Guyana Chronicle that I have access to online - not a whole lot was covered other than what I mentioned at the beginning of this article.

Stabroek News' Sunday edition - 'Business Page' and 'Globalisation and global terror' - made a feeble attempt at getting into the economic impact of all this, taking into consideration that a major US airline has been closed for business after the second day of being grounded.

Two other US airlines (AA and Continental) reduced flights by 20% laying off between them almost 20,000 employees. In Canada, Air Canada has reduced flights to the US by 20% (job losses still not indicated), British Airways expects to see reduced revenue over the long term.

The stock markets across the world are being closed lower.

The American Federal Reserve and the EC have released billions of dollars/euros into the financial system to keep the economy afloat. Interest rates are being cut in North America and Europe in the hope of encouraging spending and keeping off a looming recession.

Taking this and other considerations in mind, I had to ask myself, where are our political and financial analysts? How will all of this affect the economies of Guyana and for that matter all of the Caribbean and tourism (especially now with the reluctance of people to fly)?

There is also aid and aid relief that we may be hoping to access from the developed world.

What about our regional airlines BWIA, LIAT, the Antiguan airline, how will they cope with all of this? keeping in mind the possibility of less tourists?

Economies of scale are being affected and redefined. The world's political climate is changing - alliances are being forged with enemies, once friendly neighbours are being asked to support and wage war on the other.

And I can go on but risk being redundant, so in closing I again ask what are our reporters doing getting the views of our political and financial analysts?

Yours faithfully,

M Lochan

Editor's note

In our edition of September l6, we carried David Jessop's analysis of the possible ramifications of the US disaster for the Caribbean region. As far as the issues listed in the first part of Mr Lochan's letter are concerned, we have published Reuters' reports covering these which do not appear in our on-line editions.