Have Your Say
JAM | May 26, 2023

Cynthia Holmwood | What agenda does Charlene Ashley really have?

/ Our Today

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Member of Parliament Juliet Holness and Dr Charlene Ashely. (Photo: Facebook @JulietHolnessJA @consultancyinc)

Dear Editor,

Although I no longer live in Jamaica, I keep up with the news stories as much as possible. I have seen several stories about a lawsuit by Member of Parliament Juliet Holness against a lady named Dr Charlene Ashley concerning the title for a piece of property in Red Hills.

According to the reports, Holness’ company, JAJ Development Holdings, is suing Ashley for not providing the title of the property it paid J$22 million for in 2012.

Ultimately, we will have to wait to see the ruling of Judge Batts on the matter to see who the law sides with; however, there are some things about the reporting of the case by some media houses that do not sit well with me.

At the most basic level, this story is about Mrs Holness suing Mrs Ashley for failing to fulfil an obligation. But, if you look at most of the stories that have been printed, you would think it’s the other way around. Most of the narrative ignores the facts of the case and focuses instead on what Mrs Ashley has to say.

There seems to be more interest in carrying quotes of Mrs Ashley calling Mrs Holness “dishonest” and a “bully” than in the fact that Mrs Ashley is being sued for not holding up her end of an agreement.

Real estate developer and Member of Parliament Juliet Holness. (Photo: Facebook @JulietHolnessJA)

I understand that as the wife of the prime minister, Mrs Holness will attract attention. Still, as journalists, there is a responsibility to be balanced and measured in reporting, especially when the case has not yet closed.

There was an article where an expert witness rubbished Mrs Ashley’s claims that a drawing of the development was needed to facilitate the splintering of the titles. However, this critical element of the case was not given the same treatment as a previous story that appeared on the front page of a prominent paper with “SHE IS VERY DISHONEST” in bold upper case letter beside a picture of Mrs Holness.

I have even seen in one report where the judge questioned Mrs Ashley on the relevance of some of the alleged discussions she had with Mrs Holness to the case. Yet, her thoughts and opinions are still getting more media attention than the hard evidence.

Jamaican entrepreneur Charlene Ashley. (Photo: Facebook @consultancyinc)

I know we are in an age where catchy headlines are the order of the day, but the media has to also remember that these are real people with real reputations that can be damaged. Unfortunately, even if Mrs Holness wins the case, many readers will be left with the memories of those damaging headlines and not that she has won her case. 


What To Read Next