Radio host Claude Skelton Cline has come to the defence of fellow broadcaster, Floyd ‘Heritage’ Burnett following what is being widely described as Burnett’s disrespectful outburst on live radio a few weeks ago.
Burnett came in for some flack after disparaging remarks uttered to and about Health Minister Carvin Malone. At the time, the broadcaster referred to Malone as the ‘Minister of Death’ and threatened to leave a “nasty message” in the legislator’s inbox if he had not answered an on-air phone call when he tried to reach him.
Skelton Cline said he has since learnt of a proposal being bandied about to have Burnett’s radio license or privileges revoked. Skelton Cline suggested that such an idea should not be entertained.
“The approach should not be to look into or go after anybody or any station – no, that’s not the approach,” Cline said.
Democracy at work
Skelton Cline, a veteran clergyman, prefaced his comments by insisting that persons should be respectful to each other.
“Even sometimes when we are disrespected, we should still show respect, because somebody has to be the adult in the room,” he reasoned.
He further made it clear that regardless of the source, it is wrong for persons to disrespect each other and use words as arsenal and missiles against each other.
“People have concerns, and in a democracy, people have a right to voice their concerns, even when we don’t agree with them, no matter how aggressive or how harsh they appear to be attached,” he argued.
The outspoken radio host said this approach is the embodiment of democracy.
Critical electoral demographic at stake
Skelton Cline further suggested Burnett’s morning radio show — ‘The Morning Braff’ that also live-streams on Facebook — reaches a critical voting bloc of millennials and spoke a unique language that they clearly understood.
“They make up a bulk of any population – especially your voting population,” Cline said in reference to Burnett’s audience.
He then espoused the virtue of having dialogue, conversations, and sit-downs as a means of resolving similar conflicts. “Whether you agree with them or not, nothing beats sober, thoughtful dialogue,” Cline urged.
He further encouraged leaders in the political, social and religious realms to “tap into these young adults”.
“They are the future,” he added. “Yes, and their truth doesn’t always look like our truth because they deal in relativity. So, for them, a lot of things are relative, but you have to know their language, understand where they’re coming from [and] try to address the needs and concerns that they’re having.”
According to Cline, this demographic must be engaged, but with boundaries established to achieve a greater good in the BVI.
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