Insidious editorials
Stabroek News
May 31, 2002

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Dear Editor,

The Sunday Stabroek editorial of May 19, 2002, captioned 'Cultural vitriol' refers. SN is definitely a big part of our problem. Your editorials are bent on racial division. Why are they always filled with such hate against one set of people. Someone is stuck in a time warp and poison flows from his [sic] pen in those insidious editorials.

SN can use lengthy editorials to snipe at individuals and institutions in the vilest manner but if anyone should ever have the temerity to reply, that is deemed 'vitriol,' and replies are either ruthlessly edited or dumped in the waste bin. Why should you become so irate when the truth is told?

This person's chief gripe is with the archives. He [sic] has no patience or confidence in the present Chairman of the Archives. Who cares about what happened in a previous archives committee? Why wash your dirty linen in public?

Is this a case of sour grapes?

As for the Castellani gallery, all I ask is for a plan of activities for the year for the gallery and let the public be the judge. That is basic in any institution and I bet the gallery does not have one. Don't bother with the catalogue - that would take another three years; taxpayers have a right to ask how their taxes are being spent and those who run things have no right to become indignant. They are stewards and have to render account. The Castellani Committee cannot be its own judge and jury. Their annual audited statements of accounts should be laid out for two weeks every year for the public to scrutinize.

What is needed is another committee to oversee that committee and report to the President. Sounds ridiculous? But that is the situation they have created.

Instead of indulging the venom of CRB Edwards the Sunday editor should have pointed him to Walcott's Nobel Prize speech in the very issue of SN. Indians have always celebrated their festivals with colourful ceremonies. Tadjah, Phagwah, Diwali, Ram Nouni, Eid, and scores of religious days. Would Mr Edwards and Stabroek News prefer Indians to fade into invisibility? Who stops (or can stop) Africans or any other race from celebrating their heritage?

Purchasing Aubrey Williams paintings may be a good idea but who will care them if the national collection is in such a disgraceful state.

Yours faithfully,

Arthur Duncan

Editor's note:

1. The Sunday editorials are written by the Sunday editor, Anna Benjamin. Contrary to Mr Duncan's claim, the May 19 editorial defended individuals and an institution against 'sniping.'

2. The editorials have had no criticism to make of the present Chairman of the Archives Committee. That of May 19, however, did observe that where the matter of raising funds from international agencies was concerned, with the best will in the world the current committee would be stymied by the simple fact that no archivist has been appointed; there is not even an acting archivist.

3. On the matter of Castellani's plan of activities for the year, we were informed by the National Gallery that it does have a programme for the year.

4. Castellani is a government institution falling under the Office of the President. As such, therefore, its accounts are required to be and have been, audited by the Auditor General, who has recently presented his report for the fiscal year 2000 to the Speaker of the National Assembly. After consideration by the Public Accounts Committee, a report will then be laid in Parliament. The Auditor General's report is already publicly available.

5. Stabroek News supports all groups in the celebration of their heritage, and harbours no hatred against any people.

6. We believe that far from what is represented by Mr Duncan in his letters, the Castellani gallery is discharging its functions creditably.