Learning from Mr Warren Weir's mea culpa

Thursday, August 02, 2018

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For the second time in less than a week, we have been extremely encouraged by a development that we think should be held up for its potential as a valuable teaching moment for our young people.

The latter was Tuesday's belated apology by Olympian Warren Weir for what, by his own video recording, was a grossly inappropriate and intemperate interaction with members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force who stopped him for a routine traffic search in Trelawny.

The former was the also belated resignation/dismissal of Mr Andrew Wheatley from the Cabinet, following the cock up at several state agencies under his portfolio as minister of energy, science and technology. We refer readers to our editorial “Mr Wheatley's political gift to Jamaica” on Monday, July 30, 2018.

In the second matter, Mr Weir, driving in his heavily tinted sport utility vehicle, regarded being pulled over by the police as infra dig and proceeded to give the cops a tongue lashing, ridiculing them and suggesting that he was being targeted because he was a young man rolling in a nice car.

Having, as young people are wont to do, recorded the episode and shared it on social media — perhaps hoping to get support for the way he handled the incident — Mr Weir found that he attracted far more criticism than empathy from his peers.

We get excited by such things as an apology because there is so little of this in a country where people believe it is a virtue to be wrong and strong, the example being set by politicians and prominent persons who think they are above the law.

“After careful consideration over the last few days, and numerous discussions with my family and friends, along with analysing the feedback of many on social media, I would like to apologise for my reaction to being stopped by members of the Jamaica Constabulary for a routine search recently,” said Mr Weir.

“I do realise that while I may have been upset and while I may have felt targeted, this was not in fact the best way to react in that situation,” he added.

We are happy to hear from Mr Weir that the incident had given him the opportunity to look at how he could handle relations with the police differently in the future, and to also “be mindful of how my posts will affect not just my immediate friends and family, but also those who look up to and support me as an athlete, a national representative and an entrepreneur”.

Every motorist, at least once in life, will be pulled over by the police for routine searches. It can be annoying, especially if one is late for an important appointment. But we all know that these searches are for the protection of the public and the police need every bit of support they can get.

Mr Weir's recording supported the view that the police on the scene were polite and professional. This is the least we can expect and hope for. Of course, there are others who do not live up to this standard and we condemn them for what they are — uncouth people, sometimes thieves, in uniform.

Some might regard the actions of Messrs Wheatley and Weir as a mere drop in the bucket, amounting to not much. But if it serves as a deterrent to even one young person, we'll gladly take it.

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