New OpEd on Bernews – On Alcohol

I have a new OpEd online, at Bernews, today.

It focuses on alcohol abuse and outlines policies, based on my 2012 Election Platform, that I think the Government could implement.  I’ve written it in response to the recent Throne Speech, which noted relaxing restrictions on selling alcohol on Sundays and mandatory ID checks in nightclubs and bars, but apparently failing to build on comments by Minister Crockwell earlier in the year.

I generally don’t comment on my own OpEds – in my experience that diverts the thread away from the ideas I raise in the OpEd and makes it all about me.  As pretty much anything I write seems to bring out a certain degree of personal attacks as is, I don’t want to further derail the threads, as I do appreciate and reflect on the more constructive comments I do get on those threads.

That being said, I do want to just address one comment that has been posted so far on this OpEd.

The comment reads:

“It strikes me that Mr Starling doesn’t appear to understand the meaning of the word ‘endemic’.”

I want to make clear that the word ‘endemic’, like many words, has multiple meanings depending on context.

While it may be more readily known to this poster in the ecological sense, of a species or ecology which is unique to a particular area, such as the Cahow, the Bermuda Killifish, the Bermuda Cedar and so on, it is not restricted solely to that use.

It is also used in the field of epidemiology, the study of disease.  In epidemiology it refers, generally, to refer to a condition being prevalent and chronic in a population without external inputs (to maintain the condition).

I am not an epidemiologist, and I may well have used the word inappropriately.  My intention however was to stress that alcohol abuse and its related problems has in some ways been an all too chronic condition within our society and it is time that we begin to take steps to reverse that situation.

I hope that clarifies the use of the word for the poster.

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