Long before Jamaican Reggae artiste Buju Banton said he could go on and on as half the story has never been told, I remember the Dread and/or Rastas as well as the Black Power Movement in the Seventies reminded us of these issues as it pertains to slavery.
We found out that Columbus was a liar because we were told that he discovered the Caribbean even if he met Caribs inhabiting the islands. So gullible we were then we never even questioned the role of the Church in giving their blessings to slavery or we made heroes and knights of those who robbed, stole and plunder, men such as Sir Francis Drake and others.
Well, Reggae music changed all this and consciousness and a thirst for self-education pervaded the region that catapulted these very island colonies to independence from the countries that formally enslaved them.
All this time revolutionary and creative thinkers on our only radio station (DBS radio) where persons as Daniel "Papa Dee" Caudeiron, Dennis Joseph, Ferdinand Frampton, Ted Daley and Steinberg Henry, to name a few, gave us food for thought through the music, our language and intellect.
Henry is still missed up to today because he was the only media practitioner to document the Bagatelle Disaster and many other significant events in Dominica's recent or living history. Lennox Honnychurch played a pivotal role with his Dominica Short Story and other publications which awaken a sleeping people while Alwin Bully did it by stringing play after play Streak, Nite Box, Ruler in Hiroona, Jesus Christ Super Star…
Today media practitioners, apart from Felix Henderson, do not venture to document our life, our story as opposed to his- story. Felix, to my mind, stands head and shoulders above all and sundry as an investigative journalist. Most, if not all, who presently call themselves by such a title are all about political 'beff 'and 'tory' unprofessionally researched and presented. They even forget one of the tenants of good journalism states the journalist has a right to political and other convictions. However, to his/her professional activity he/she should remain neutral and objective.
The news has become repetitive without any human interest or features which would require investigation and research. You can almost guess how it's going to star "Prime Minister Roosevelt…." Sometimes they report exactly what the insert says (when they can find it or the correct one comes up). MARPIN television provides stale news, particularly in sports when everyone already knows more than 24 hours ago what happened in the cricket game.
We have had quite a few documentaries of crossings by the Caribs in their canoes and other works and mini documentaries prepared by foreigners who use Dominica as a platform or footage to direct their story. There is so much one can document: crime and violence, stories of prisoners, traditions such as soucoyant, unearthing of precious stones, Jacko- the Maroon, stories of when banana was king (Green Gold), hucksters on the high seas, fishing trips which went wrong, our process of burring of our dead and the recent happy hour phenomena viz a viz the Nine Nights tradition before the advent of funeral homes which needs to be documented. But none of these journalist or investigative journalists has put up their hands. Probably it's too much work, commitment and they are thinking who is going to pay or just simply ineptitude! Now we have a Petite Savanne story and frankly I miss Steinburg.
But I have since found comfort in the brilliance of informative and intriguing documentaries and investigative journalism with the St Lucian Dale Elliot and his "Untold Stories" which MARPIN TV airs from time to time. In fact it is aired in some 22 countries in the region as well as New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. It now becoming a franchise and the videos can be purchased and viewed online.
Dale more than challenges the system but states that he is about social transformation; he has produced Cathedral Massacre, Faces of Cancer, St Lucia's Most Wanted, Serial Killer, Voice of the Homeless , Five Funerals and a Wedding, Untold Stories of Jean and Dinah…the quality, in depth research, analysis, professional presentation and truth glues one to the television set. This series can be accepted and sold internationally.
Therefore this an appeal to those who pride themselves as being journalists to do the work, go in the trenches, tingle and intrigue imaginations, unravel events, unearth truths beyond the daily inexpensive talk and politicking so that when you leave you will be leaving documented history and real stories that can fashion and shape our island as part of your legacy cause "half the story has never ever been told".
Editor's Note: Mr. Jackson contends in his column above that Dominican journalists, including the employees of the Sun, do not document events and issues and that "most, if not all, (journalists in Dominica) who presently call themselves by such a title are all about political 'beff 'and 'tory'". We disagree.
We need to remind Mr. Jackson that over the past six months, for instance, journalists who work at and with The SUN have researched and published:
An eight-page special Feature entitled: "The Petite Savanne Tragedy"
A 4-page supplement on "Non-communicable disease"
A 29-page "Christmas Special" which included a look at Sewinal in Atkinson
A 20-page Special Feature on Mas Domnik that included Colihaut Ban Move'
A 10-article feature spanning three publications of the newspaper on the "State of the Music Industry in Dominica" that we called "Raw Riddim. Bitter Blues"
And this week we feature "Small Business".