We, the elected town councillors of Baine Harbour, deeply regret our decision to honour a dedicated medical practitioner, who has served our area for more than three decades, led to an attack on his integrity and professionalism in a letter published by The Southern Gazette July 21, 2009 under the unfortunately ambiguous headline 'All readers don't support town gesture'.
The letter's author, James Smith, has every constitutional right to freedom of expression and dissent but, in our view, this does not extend to making defamatory and unwarranted comments about Dr. Acharya's professional conduct and personal integrity. And it certainly does not extend to insulting the doctor's many grateful patients.
In a long and ludicrous leap of logic, Mr. Smith connected the purchase of a $28 plaque to the town's unfortunate debt load incurred in an ill-fated attempt to provide potable water to many of our residents. We estimate Mr. Smith's share of that $28-purchase at about 25 cents and anyone of us will gladly reimburse him with interest.
Others have come to Dr. Acharya's defense in letters headlined 'In a doctor's defense' and 'Doctor deserves praise for his dedication' published in the July 28, 2009 issue of The Southern Gazette.
We endorse the respect and admiration expressed in those letters.
But since we unwittingly and unexpectedly initiated this controversy in our decision to present Dr. Acharya with a plaque of commendation, which now hangs in his clinic alongside many others, we feel obligated to state publicly we stand by our decision.
We think our tribute to this fine man is appropriate and well-deserved, and we hope Dr. Acharya will continue to serve us for many years to come.
Town Council of Baine Harbour
Leo Gaulton, Mayor