To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.
–– Louis B. Smedes, American ethicist and theologian.
Manifestly, in the matter of the inaccurate headline of the Daily Nation of Thursday, May 8, namely 6o To Go, with regard to the pending retrenchment at the Central Bank of Barbados, Governor Dr DeLise Worrell flew off the handle.
We do not question the Governor’s right to be upset. No rational and unbiased person would –– or could. A transgression did take place.
We however query the initial expression of Dr Worrell’s disgust. Measured mind that he is reputed to possess, the drawing of the error to the The Nation’s publisher and editor-in-chief and a demand of correction by him would be what we would have expected –– at best.
At worst, nothing more than a condemnation of the carelessness, to boot.
The gaffe was not in the least defamatory, and hardly held Governor Worrell up to ridicule in the eyes of his peers and those of the public. If anything, his hasty missive did.
But hasty here is qualitative; for his letter of Friday, May 9, to The Nation strikes us as being well structured and precise.
“Consequent upon the lack of professional integrity manifest in The Nation’s front page headline of Thursday, May 8, you should be aware that The Nation/staff will not be invited to any future Press conference or media event hosted by myself as Governor of the Central Bank.”
Having had the weekend to reflect on all utterances made and action taken in the prior days, and cognizant of The Nation’s commendable rush to correct the blunder –– as is the professional thing to do –– Dr Worrell may have come to grips with his own error in judgement.
He will then have sought to make it clear that “the Nation Publishing Company will receive all Press releases and other communications issued by the Central Bank, and [that] all media houses and the general public have free access to the Central Bank’s website, where all our statements, reports, data and speeches and allotter publications are posted”.
It is regrettable that Dr Worrell’s about-face was not accompanied by an indisputable contrite heart. Most of us make mistakes from time to time; and we make amends consequent upon the errors of our ways; and beg pardon or ask for forgiveness.
It may be drawn from the Governor’s last letter to The Nation that this imputed ban of his was short-lived; that Nation invitations to future Press conferences and media events hosted by Central Bank Governor Dr DeLisle Worrell will obtain as in the past.
It can be no other way.
And we need not belabour the point of the right to information from a state institution such as the Central Bank of Barbados, nor cling tenuously to the irrelevant tangent of “freedom of expression” and “freedom of the Press”.
This is a lucid case of inaccuracy and redress on the one hand; and misjudgement and nigh false pride on the other, which could all go away with the simplest of apologies.
And, in as much as The Nation expected to be forgiven by the Central Bank when it made public amends for its mistake, it might itself offer a signal to the Central Bank that it is willing to forgive Dr Worrell for his misdeed. And let us all get on with our jobs of informing the public in the most professional, civilized, decorous and accurate way.
Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting, nor does it send any message that what wrong was done is okay. It just means letting go of the anger or guilt towards another, or towards ourselves.
The 18th century Anglo-Irish Anglican clergyman Laurence Sterne was once moved to write: “Only the brave know how to forgive . . . . A coward never forgave; it is not in his nature.”
And forgive us, Lord, our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us!
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil . . . .