Sun | Sep 24, 2017

'Trace' me if you're man enough, Mason

Published:Monday | March 3, 2014 | 3:00 AM

Peter Edwards, GUEST COLUMNIST

I would like to respond to your columnist, Ronald Mason, who spouts opinions on matters of which he is truly out of his depth. I am referring to his March 2, 2014 article titled 'That screeching environmentalist'.

It's very disappointing that Mr Mason would engage in what might be described as a 'tracing' match with Ms Diana McCaulay, whom he doesn't actually name but repeatedly refers to the unnamed lady as a "screeching environmentalist". The word 'screeching' is often used to describe banshees and witches, so one could infer that the gentleman is calling the goodly lady a witch (or possibly some other word that rhymes with this word).

He also refers to her "knickers being in a wad", which further confirms that his response should indeed be classified within the realm of a 'tracing' match where, invariably, one party decides to get in the gutter. McCaulay's crime, it seems, was her letter to the editor ('Ron Mason out of his depth', February 26, 2014) in response to his article where she attempted to clarify some of the misstatements he made in his article of February 23, 2014.

vitriolic diatribe

I am not sure where this vitriolic diatribe is coming from, but I read both Mr Mason's original article and Ms McCaulay's response and thought that her letter was reasoned and respectful, where she relied largely on facts to correct some of his points.

On the other hand, Mr Mason's articles seem to be largely based on conjecture and his own biases, and less so on facts. I would have to agree with Ms McCaulay's sentiments that on the matters of ecology, carbon sequestration and cost benefit and policy analysis, he is indeed out of his depth.

Mr Mason, like other cheerleaders of this ill-advised project (by which I mean the plan to dredge and fill the Goat Island for storing heavy cranes and aggregates, and NOT the wider logistics hub concept), continues to promote the false argument that it is a bunch of uptown 'brown' people, out of touch with poor people's reality, that are blocking progress to save two likkle lizard.

He goes on to use the classic pivot technique (a favourite of American politicians) to tell a tale about an individual who has fallen on hard times, attempting to turn it into some kind of sob story to justify the destruction of an area that provides a source of direct income to more than 4,000 persons who share similar characteristics with the person he describes, poor and underemployed.

Real stories

I am 100 per cent sure that the much-maligned 'bleeding-heart' environmentalists and other members of civil society can provide him with hundreds more stories where poor Jamaicans have been impacted and displaced by poor policy and improper natural resource management decisions.

I would further say to Mr Mason that persons in civil society and the environmental lobby have far more up close and personal contact with poverty through their work. It is perhaps high-society people, including immigration lawyers (who may stand to gain from the influx of labourers needed to support this project), who are really the ones disconnected from the abject poverty to which he refers.

Let me end by saying that although it seems that Mr Mason likes to (verbally) beat up on women, he is free to take me on as well. Even though I suspect he won't, since I am not an uptown brown lady, but a black man from a humble background.

Dr Peter E.T. Edwards is a Jamaican marine scientist, environmental economist and policy analyst. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and peteretedwards@gmail.com.