‘Doom and gloom’ was not theme of my speech
I am writing to you as I am concerned about the way my commencement speech to the Berkeley Graduating Class of 2020 was summarised in The Royal Gazette on June 30, 2020. I am giving you a shout as a courtesy, as I will now have to take steps to correct this summary of my own words in a way that does justice to what I feel has been negatively portrayed.
My main concern is that the summary of the speech is misrepresented as overly negative. There were two small points made in the entirety of the speech in relation to student behaviour, but those points seem to have dominated the story. In addition, the online version portrays the speech headline, “Berkeley graduates warned of ‘chaotic' world”, as one full of doom and gloom when that was not at all the overarching theme.
The negative impacts I am particularly concerned about are:
1, The impact on Berkeley students who will be reading an inaccurate recap summary of their graduation message. The Royal Gazette's summary can skew their emotions from a sense of empowerment to one of fear and negativity
2, The impact on the wider community and The Royal Gazette story's active participation in feeding into negative stereotypes about public-school students, particularly the highlighted excerpt portraying Berkeley graduates as “fighting and partying”
3, The impact on my personal reputation by allowing me to be portrayed as an individual who spoke doom and gloom to students on a day that is supposed to be about celebrating their resilience, strength and adaptability. This can have the potential effect of painting a pattern of negativity, which does not accurately reflect my history of public statements in relation to Bermuda's young people and their potential
For your own review, if you have a quick skim of the video recording on Channel 82 where the student delivered the “Vote of Thanks” at 1hr 56 min 24 sec, then I think you may agree that the way the speech was interpreted and received by the students is not in line with The Royal Gazette's summary that was published.
Overall, I know that everything one says is subject to interpretation; however, shortly after my speech, a Berkeley student took to the stage to conduct the Vote of Thanks in which she did an excellent recap of all the points made during my speech in just as few words as the Royal Gazette article.
She gave a very fair summary of the points made, which she wrote in a matter of minutes. Using due diligence as the standard, it does not appear that the journalist who did the summary for The Royal Gazette has done the same.
The damage is now done and, as a result, I will have to use my own personal platform in order to counter the narrative that I feel has been portrayed, including by publicly reposting the issues I have highlighted in this letter to you.
I am hopeful that in the future more consideration will be given by your journalists when attempting to summarise the words of another individual, and in particular this reporter's summation, as this is not the first time I have had an issue surrounding her representation of actions and statements regarding myself.
The video recap can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/Channel82bda/videos/2629083834020979/?vh=e & d=n
Congratulations again to the Class of 2020 and remember that you have the power to create and define yourselves.
RYAN ROBINSON PERINCHIEF
• To view Ryan Robinson Perinchief's speech, click on the PDF link under “Related Media”