I have received a couple emails related to one of the last statements I made on Chiriquí Life, before I requested my membership and profile be removed. The statement was misunderstood and has been taken out of context and maybe should be clarified.
I will use today’s email as a means of doing that because it covers many subjects, which I can only assume are repeated elsewhere and I prefer to have all discussions in the open. Many of these locations are places where I can’t respond, such as Ning and CL.
I do not know the writer of the email. I will respond within his email. While he states that this doesn’t need to be on my blog, I don’t like rumors or innuendos being stated without discussion.
So with apologies to the author, I will use his email to begin the discussion and appreciate his taking the time to email me.
Chiriquí Chatter is a blog and not a forum, but often posts do generate a lot of discussion. Usually the discussions on CC remain civil. In the “About” section of the blog, I state that all opinions written by me, are my opinion and do not reflect the opinion of the U.S. Embassy.
I always appreciate these discussions because they allow all viewpoints to be heard. I will also remind you readers that the written word is not always understood as the writer intended it. This is true in things I write as posts and things that are written as comments. As my dad always used to say,
“I know you think you understand what you thought i said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”
The email follows.
I have some criticisms and I didn’t feel that they needed to be said as public comment on your blog.
Over the past year I have watched you become increasingly opinionated, both in your blog and in other forums. I remember disparaging remarks you have made about Keith Woolford, Bid4Boquete, Boquete Ning, Richard Detrich, and now Chiriqui Life. Certainly, you have a right to your opinions, but they have resulted in a gradual change in my opinion about you as well.
This is the first part I want to discuss.
Keith Woolford – Keith has had differences of opinion with me on occasion, but to the best of my knowledge, I remember no disparaging remark from me toward him. I consider differences of opinions something that exists with everyone. I don’t know anyone that I agree with 100% of the time and doubt if anyone agrees with me 100% of the time. However, I am always open to listening to other’s opinions and have changed my mind based on some of these discussions.
I received an email a few days ago from a person looking to buy a car and I provided them with Keith’s email to get in touch with him. I also told them he could be found on CL and Ning.
We did have a discussion on Ning, which ultimately resulted in my getting banned, but I considered it a misunderstanding on Keith’s part. He removed what concerned me and I was satisfied the issue was closed.
I will admit that I am very suspicious of the new Ning management and think the real motives for their purchasing Ning still have not come to light.
The people, who have lived in Chiriquí and Boquete with the largest amount of knowledge, have been banned. I have no problem being among the number no longer on Ning.
Furthermore, Ning had no justification in most of the bans they issued. This reinforces my suspicion of Ning having an ulterior motive for removing those they removed. Time will tell.
Bid-4-Boquete – I have always been a supporter of Bid-4-Boquete. I have publicized their event every year it has occurred.
I have also voiced that I would have been happier if it were easier to designate where money went for purchased items in the auctions.
I have also reminded people that there are many worthwhile organizations outside of the Bid-4-Boquete organizations that deserve consideration and suggested that those living outside Boquete look for needs close to where they live. There are more needs in Panama than can be served. I stand by that.
Boquete Ning – I knew Lee from the time he moved here and prior to him starting his blog. I had met him the first time at Hotel Nacional in the restaurant. This was prior to his creating his blog and we talked about the need for more blogs passing out information on Panama offsetting that published by International Living. I met him several times, in various locations, until his death.
I had a lot of resect for the information conduits Lee created and participated in Ning from its inception at various times, but mostly to post Embassy notices.
When Ning was sold, I thought it would continue to be a source of information (good and bad) about Boquete and Panama as a whole. That hope was short lived. By removing the contributors, it removed, it also removed the real knowledge base of the previous Ning. I still believe, that we will eventually know the reason for the purchase of Ning.
Rumor has it that Ning wasn’t the primary purchase, but I still think the buyers have a plan for Ning.
Richard Detrich – Yes, I have been critical of several pieces that Richard has written. His blog is a main source of information for people considering Panama as a retirement location. He has a large readership and with that comes the responsibility of not misleading those in the process of making decisions.
The posts I took objections to, I thought were more misleading because readers would associate his name with them. I knew that he would never have used the words he was using in his writing. He was using another site’s words, but with no qualifying remarks to what they had written.
My feeling was that it was possible that his having over a million dollars in property for sell in Panama was altering his judgment.
I have noticed that Richard seems to select which comments he wants posted. I have had many comments that were not allowed and have been told by others that their comments weren’t printed too.
Richard’s recent posts have been more balanced and I have recognized that. The only thing I don’t like is the misrepresentation of real living in Panama. I have dealt with too many people that came here, lost a lot of money, and then were returning to the States after living here for less than a year. If I see misrepresentation of life in Chiriquí, I speak up.
Chiriquí Life – My first issue with CL was being told how to use the Blog capability of the site. I requested that the my blog on CL be removed and the issue was closed.
My next issue with Chiriquí Life resulted after I posted a recent Embassy message. I received a message from the Admin (Bud) that my post had been removed and CL would be posting all Embassy messages.
For the record, I had no problem with that.
When I looked at CL, I saw that the Embassy message had been posted with the mis-formed URLs that the Embassy had issued.
I replied on CL that I only posted links to my blog for this Embassy messages because the Embassy has made mistakes in the past and I did not want to have to go back to multiple sites correcting errors. I could correct them once on my site and be done with it.
I also said, in that response, that there would be no further messages from the Embassy posted from me. This was acknowledging to CL, that I would no longer post those message to CL. In no way should that have been understood to include areas outside CL, that I post to.
Call me lazy for only posting links to one location that I have control of.
I thought that Bud might reread the Embassy’s message and correct it.
Instead, I got a curt remark, that they had it handled.
To which I replied that they might want to change the URLs in the Embassy message because they didn’t work. I had corrected them prior to posting on CC and notified the Embassy of their mistake, which the Embassy acknowledged.
Then I received another cute message on CL saying something like the URLS work just “spiffy here” and asked if I had a problem.
A proper response, would have been to say that they had fixed the URLs, but instead, Bud preferred to make it look like I was wrong in my statement.
When I saw that, I decided that I preferred to no longer participate in CL. I wrote multiple messages to the Admin (Bud) asking for my account to be closed and my profile to be removed. With CL’s design, an individual has no control of his/her content once it is posted.
I received zero responses to any of my communications. Only when I went to check in to CL, did I get a message that I was banned from the site.
I will admit that that upset me. Nowhere had I written anything justifying being banned.
I wrote what I thought was a humorous post stating that I had now been banned on two sites. Obviously the humor was only in my mind, because it certainly triggered the author of this email to have an upset stomach.
None of this would have taken place had Bud written me an email stating that he was closing my account at my request. My assumption is anyone’s account that is closed will show up as banned to that person. I think this is an oversight in the CL software and not caused by Bud. Still an email after my multiple attempts to communicate with him would have been nice and I would have respected him for doing so.
I understand it is Bud’s field and Ball and he can play the game the way he wants.
I was one of the people who criticized Ning management after your membership was revoked. There were two reasons for that. I strongly believe in the necessity for free speech and consideration of dissenting viewpoints. And, you have shown extraordinary compassion to people in need as the David Embassy Warden. But, in my opinion, your obstinance and arrogance now overshadow the superb work you have done as Warden.
I just took a look at US DoS Foreign Affairs Manual Volume 7 to get more information on the Warden system:
The term “warden” currently refers to someone who has the charge or care of someone or something. The Department uses the term to refer to individuals, usually but not always U.S. citizens resident in the host country, who volunteer to facilitate communication between the U.S. embassy/consulate and the U.S. citizen community.
Recently, on Chiriqui Life, you made the statement: “None the less, you will see no more Embassy information from me.” However, Foreign Affairs Manual Volume 7 includes the following description of Warden duties:
The Consular Section transmits Messages to U.S. citizens electronically, but there may be instances during crises where local infrastructure fails or inhibits the delivery of timely messages by the Consular Section. If necessary, Messages for the local U.S. community may be relayed from the embassy or consulate to you for dissemination by any means available to you.
I realize that each Warden has in own methods for disseminating Embassy notices. I live in Boquete and, as far as I know, Price Peterson only uses the Noticias system. If you had not stated your intent to eliminate a means of communication that you had previously used, I would probably not take issue with you. But, your statement reveals a conflict of interest with the duties you have agreed to perform as the David Warden. It’s time for you to decide whether you want to keep expressing Don Ray Williams’ opinions or be the David Warden.
Again, this is a misunderstanding by the email author as to what my message said. It should have been interpreted in the context of which it was written. CL had said to not post any more Embassy messages, and I acknowledged CL’s request. Nothing more. It only applied to CL.
Let me address a couple other things. I have over the years posted many experiences I have had while acting as Warden. My intention in writing these experiences are to bring to light problems that U.S. Citizens can run into in Panama. I have always avoided using people’s names in any of my writing. My writing about being involved in these cases my be considered as arrogance by some. My intention in writing is to present information.
I take, and have always taken, the responsibility of being a volunteer warden for the U.S. Embassy very seriously. Because of living in David, I wind up with more opportunities to help than the other wardens. This is not my opinion, it is what the Embassy tells me. This is primarily because of the Regional Hospital is in David and the fact that most emergency cases are sent to the Regional Hospital.
I have been asked to cover cases from Puerto Armuelles, Boquete, Volcan and other parts of Chiriqui and Panama because a person wound up in the Regional Hospital. It would be unreasonable for the area warden, where the person resides, to assist if the person is in trouble in David.
My intention in posting this email is to open a dialog. I don’t like misunderstandings to linger and cause problems. I think discussions are healthy.