My book will be my defender
The Freddie Kissoon Column
June 20, 2004
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I once did a Freddie on Monday about the leather craft artists outside Guyana Stories. Each time I entered the building, they would confront me on an episode of which I had penned an interpretation.
Sometimes my patience grew thin with them because they refused to see the mangoes that you dangle in front of their very eyes, choosing to tell you that they are seeing cherries.
One day they accosted me about GIFT when that organisation was very active on the Indian rights scene. They denounced GIFT as a racist group. I explained to them that I was the only Indian in Guyana at that time who disagreed with both the methodology used to compile a memorandum of atrocities committed on Indians in the beginning of 1998 after the court decision on the 1997 election and the content of the compilation. They said they didn’t read that.
On countless occasions the boys on the block confronted me with things that I have written about but they never see the things I write about that would put me in their good books.
On a daily basis, I would meet people who would disagree with the myriad opinions I offer in my Kaieteur News columns. Desmond Hoyte used to be a topic quite often when he was alive. I would be told in no uncertain terms how I do not like Hoyte. Yet when I defended myself by reference to the positive spins I placed on some of his wonderful policies in the final years of his rule, I would be told that they never saw that.
Take Magistrate Juliet Holder-Allen. She may have seen another article by Freddie on her bail structure and probably yelled out, “not again!” But she probably has not seen an opinion piece I did on the jailing of businessman, Yusuf Sankar by Justice B.S. Roy.
The same magistrate is probably not aware that I had written to then Chief Justice, Aubrey Bishop, asking for an inquiry into the behaviour of former acting Chief Magistrate, Paul Fung-a-Fat.
And the story goes on. There is a reason for all of this of course. To understand the different levels at which a columnist operates, you have to be familiar with his/her ongoing assessments, judgments and interpretations.
Someone this week may have read that I was critical of some of the leading figures who are involved in the Reeaz Khan drama. The conclusion could be reached that I have been caustic because I write for Kaieteur News and Mr. Khan is related to the Kaieteur News publisher. Nothing of the sort!
I had put many of those protestors under my microscope many years ago in these pages of this newspaper. My evaluation then was the same as it is now, and that is, there are certain publicity-seekers who select issues that they want to create a social conflagration on but deliberately eschew involvement in voicing concern about situations that threaten the very fabric of the country in which they live.
The testing point for me was the 15-month long criminal vendetta that emanated from Buxton. It simply boggles the mind to see how any decent human being could have remained silent about the conspiracy behind this killing machine. This was the second most bestial outburst of homicidal passion this country has seen since the violent murders in the sixties.
Yet opposition figures, media houses and social groups were either reticent or had shown some form for encouragement to the conspiracy in Buxton
One female talk-show host on Channel 9 was a friend of Gavin Narine, who was killed along with six others when gunmen, led by Dale Moore, burst into Nathoo’s Bar on Pike Steet, Kitty and gunned down patrons who were drinking. She wrote a letter in the press after her family was attacked in Buxton but her words were chosen carefully. She didn’t directly confront the opinion-makers in the society who had lent encouragement to the Buxton conspiracy.
It was unacceptable and unbecoming behaviour on the part of opposition leader, Desmond Hoyte, to have addressed a meeting in Buxton and to say that he didn’t know about criminals operating in the village. This is the same opposition leader who went to Square of the Revolution to pay his respect to “Blackie” London, a notorious criminal who had desecrated the home of the owner of this newspaper.
Two PNC leaders, Mc Allister and Lowe, said that Buxton needed money and not armoured vehicles in order to stop the killing. The killing stopped without money. It is impossible to see how Mr. Hoyte’s heroic stature can remain intact when the history of this country is written. Dr. Cheddi Jagan was almost crucified for saying that Africans are at the bottom of the global economic ladder. But how can an opposition leader who was once the President of the Republic pay homage to a criminal the police shot dead? Where were the voices of the Guyana Human Rights Association and those women who are now demanding justice for a 13-year-old girl when all of this was taking place?
The Buxton killing spree was a very dark and harsh period in the continuing evolution of this young nation and during that reign of criminal pathology. Something happened to me and my family that will startle this nation if and when it is revealed. I haven’t told anyone about it except Mr. Yesu Persaud and a friend of mine who owns the Red Rooster restaurant on Regent Street. I will probably reveal it in my book.
I now end this column on my book. My book on Guyana should be out soon. I will keep a copy permanently in my car. It will be my eternal defender. When people stop me and accuse me of not showing concern for this or that person or this or that group or when they are wrong in their accusations, I will pull my book out and show them that I always put my money where my mouth is.