The Prime Minister has gone after another form of super-spreader – fake reports and misinformation that have gone viral on social media, leading to unnecessary panic and public speculation.
She spoke on Thursday during the Government’s COVID-19 live update about a “distracting” trend that has been populating social media portals for some time now, with people spreading malicious rumours about Government and workplaces, seemingly to cause chaos.
“It’s particularly difficult for those who are already working 18 and 20 hours days. We saw the fake news attach itself indeed to one of our labour unions on Sunday, who had to come out and deal with it.
“Up to [Wednesday] there was some foolish thing going around that the new chairman of the airport is now to become an executive chairman and that other persons are to be transferred. None of these things has any element of truth what so ever.
“But we now have regrettably, a set of people, a handful of people who believe that just stirring and stirring is what the country needs, when it’s the exact opposite. Barbadians want the temperature to come down, and for us to get back to a sense of normalcy as soon as possible.
“Those who believe that their elevation is rooted in anxiety and desperation being fostered and fuelled among the population, I want to remind you, that I disagree fundamentally and over the course of 30 years of public life, I have seen locally, regionally, and internationally, that nothing good has come from persons who seek to divide in the middle of crisis or war.”
Mottley cautioned Barbadians to stay focused and to only look for official news through verified portals in media, or directly from Government, if the island is to ever make it safely through this pandemic.
She said: “Unfiltered news and fake news can totally destabilize a country, or destabilize situations.
“We have put official communications in place, we have a health communications unit, we hear you in terms of the succinct need for reporting, they have heard you.
“We have to however explain the rationale behind some of the things that we do because we don’t govern by proclamation, we govern with respect to being able to consult, to communicate, and to explain.” (SB)