BVI News wrote:
Several residents and public figures have described the cartoon as insensitive and some have demanded a public apology from the management of the media company.
“For this news site to publish the Governor on the neck of a Mr Cline is inflammatory, insensitive and irresponsible. We don’t need to fuel race tensions here in our BVI, in such a callous and blatant manner,” local businessman Dr Michael Turnbull said in a Facebook post.
He continued: “If you’re a business that advertises with Virgin Islands News Online, a call needs to be made to have them remove this image or you remove your ads. Silence is stating you support. You have a corporate responsibility. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean that we have to fund this new site.”
Turnbull’s statement, which was posted around 11:30 am on Monday, June 15, has received more than 40 reactions, as well as multiple shares and comments expressing similar sentiments.
This cartoon is disturbing indeed, especially at such a sensitive time.
We are great advocates of the maximum protection of free speech.
The value of freedom of expression is not examined in the expression of pleasant and comfortable views. The value of freedom of speech is measured precisely in relation particularly to the expression of offensive and disturbing views.
“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” (George Orwell).
However, freedom of expression does not abrogate the responsibility that verbal or visual humour can be translated by some extremist into dangerous action.
It is both very fine and very relevant to oppose the colonialism that the Governor Augustus Jaspert is part of, and represents. And it is also very relevant and definitely appropriate to link the anti-colonialism voices in (B?)VI with the George Floyd protests, the same as it must be okay and very welcome to express the opposite voices, that appreciate Governor Augustus Jaspert service and contribution to BVI people and territory. Both opposite opinions are legitimate and must enjoy the same freedom of expression.
It is also very relevant and definitely appropriate to link the anti-colonialism voices in BVI with the George Floyd protests even if obviously we all know that there is not much to compare between the built-in racism in major U.S. institutes and society, that almost do not exist in BVI, despite of what is left from the British colonialism. While UK is fighting constantly and effectively against it's traditional racism (it's just a question of time before we will see that the "second class citizens" in UK will control the whole political system) - U.S. is still 150 years behind.
So leveraging the George Floyd momentum to amplify the anti-colonialism movement in BVI is justified. However, this must be done in a way that does not risk anyone's personal safety.
And such a cartoon is, in my personal opinion, a strong and powerful way to deliver the message, but also creates a risk that this will lead to unwanted and dangerous action against the Governor (or VINO). So we join the call for removing it at this sensitive time, but we are absolutely against boycotting VINO just because they think or say something that we believe its wrong.
We suggest to remove this cartoon not as a must and not by the law, but as an act of responsible journalism.
Mature society do not need a law to guide them how to act properly. Anyway as we all know, not all what is legal is moral, and not all what is moral is legal (for example: Slavery was legal but not moral, and Nelson Mandela acts against his apartheid government wasn't legal but absolutely moral...).