BVI News

Malone warns against ‘fake news’ following Monday’s panic shopping

Following the local circulation of WhatsApp messages that led to episodes of panic shopping on Monday, Health Minister Carvin Malone is warning residents against the dangers of ‘fake news’.

The messages that were circulated warned persons of a impending territory-wide lockdown that was based on unofficial reports that more COVID-19 cases had been detected in the BVI.

One of the messages read: “Just got word … lockdown is coming … Governor wants 28 days, government wants 14 … The dispute is the delay.”

The message further urged residents to “stock up” before government makes the announcement.

In a late-night COVID-19 update to the nation several hours after those rumours were sent, Malone encouraged residents to only take such announcements as gospel if it comes from an original government source.

“Seek information updates at regular intervals from official sources such as the government’s website www.bvi.gov.vg/covid-19 or other regional and international public health authorities. Get the facts, and avoid rumours and misinformation,” the minister said.

He added: “The increasing volume of ‘fake news’, false reports, conspiracy theories and other outlandish claims being circulated is not only distracting but increasingly dangerous to public health as they may discourage vulnerable individuals from potentially life-saving measures.”

Governor’s Office denounced rumour

In an earlier social media publication, the Office of the Governor had denounced the rumour which alleged that Governor Augustus Jaspert was lobbying for a one-month territory-wide lockdown.

Back in July, Premier Andrew Fahie had also issued a stern warning to perpetrators behind the publishing of what he termed to be ‘fake news’.

He said circulating false reports has legal consequences through the recently-implemented Cybercrime Computer Misuse & Cybercrime (Amendment) Act of 2019, which can be enforced once persons are apprehended.

Fahie, therefore, asked the public to be mindful with their social media postings as electronic defamation has serious implications.

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14 Comments

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  1. Shorty says:

    And it is the Government’s job to bring reassurance to the public, but look at the piss poor job on display last night. How is the government diffusing the rumor mill when they are so lackadaisical in bringing information. Free advice stop the blasted fighting with the Governor and stop listening to Clade. He will be the single handed death of the entire party. Leaders lead !! Finally, it is really ridiculous to be bringing covid updates in the middle of the night 9pm every time. The updates should be during the day which reaches your entire population including the elderly. It is beyond ridiculous for updates to be in the middle of the night.

    Like 56
    Dislike 1
  2. Megaschmega says:

    *fake news*??? Wha you is magaa man?
    •Update it’s no longer maga….it is now magaa
    Make Amerikkka Great Again Again
    Anyways for all your carping about fake news and rumors…they cease being that when it turns out to be true

    Like 6
    Dislike 3
  3. BS! says:

    A good policeman could trace that message back to the original sender…..let the fun begin.

  4. something rotten in denmark says:

    It is looking very obvious that this government and the governor isn’t getting along and this isn’t no “fake news”

    Like 17
    Dislike 2
  5. Anonymous says:

    “Just got word … lockdown is coming … Governor wants 28 days, government wants 14 … The dispute is the delay.”

    This is the handy work of the greedy, money hungry super markets manaer and owners and other business people.

    Like 2
    Dislike 11
  6. Read Between the Lines says:

    One article references the Health Minister saying the 24 hr lock down debate was fake news while the Governor expressed that they were debating long and hard about whether to have a full lock down.

    Doesn’t look like fake news to me.

    The only thing is people don’t wait and instead panic shop.

    Like 13
  7. Transparency says:

    Perhaps the government should try to be open and transparent about their considerations.

    Instead of hiding everything. It’s a scandal how tight lipped you were until midnight. What government in the world only gives an update at midnight? Get real.

  8. Just my 2 cents says:

    “Just got word … lockdown is coming … Governor wants 28 days, government wants 14 … The dispute is the delay.”

    Very strange that the minister considered the news circulating as fake news when indeed, this was the intention however there were disagreement regarding the duration of time.

    Sadly, it appears that this text message emerged from ‘inside’ source within cabinet. Both the Governor and the Premier should remind the cabinet members of the need for confidentiality until a duly authorized statement is issued.

    But then again and as always, some Ministers and insiders want to feel important and will diverge information before its time (although it was good for public awareness).

  9. Just my 2 cents says:

    @Shorty Well said. Sadly too, laws/orders are passed and gazetted in the night.

    Too ridiculous if you ask me!

  10. Good policeman was the firestarter says:

    It WAS a good policeman started it. [he] posted a pic of the news with the word FAKE stamped on it on whatsapp and it got forwarded by everyone.Anyone challenging him got stamped on and hard.

  11. No panic, but avoiding standing in the hot sun says:

    It ain’t panic shopping as much as trying to avoid 6 hour lines because the supermarkets can’t organise themselves and avoiding the food deliveries four days after ordering and then getting the wrong stuff.

  12. Doh says:

    Good luck

    VPN makes that almost impossible

  13. Doh says:

    The Cuban doctors are to blame. And demonic cats and witchcraft.

  14. Me says:

    Fake news is needed to keep the donkeys braying and panic shopping

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