Only responsible criticism will move the PPP attitudes
Freddie Kissoon Column
Kaieteur News
January 19, 2007

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If there is anything I have learnt from my long association with Eusi Kwayana, it is moral responsibility and ethical obligations in the struggle for freedom.

Brother Kwayana (I could never refer to him as Mister) stands as one of the greatest political activists the West Indies has given birth to.

It is unfortunate that the PPP Government under Cheddi Jagan never sought to facilitate Eusi in an occupation that would have benefited Guyanese.

He is 82 years of age—a period that can easily be called the twilight of life (I hope I don't offend him by that observation). It is an unbearable tragedy that Guyanese have not seen the output of this man's talent since 1992. Within this context, it is a shameless thing to have Dr. Rupert Roopnarine heading Critchlow Labour College and not the University of Guyana .

I believe Dr Roopnarine should have applied for the advertised vacancy for the UG Vice-Chancellor's position.

I do not share the political modus operandi of Dr. Roopnarine since the demise of the great WPA but my opinion of his politics is irrelevant to the intellectual skills he can impart to UG.

Given the nature of Bharrat Jagdeo, I cannot see him reaching out to the opposition and people like Kwayana and Roopnarine. What a loss for a poor nation like Guyana . Also how unfortunate that with each passing day, Jagdeo is wasting a legacy that is waiting for him.

But back to Kwayana. Kwayana is the type of person that never shaped his politics in a fixed mode. His politics is driven by principles. He openly, to the endangerment of his life, disagreed with the conspirators that destroyed the revolutionary culture of Buxton. Buxton was used as a vehicle by those who opposed the ruling PPP Government. Kwayana could hardly be judged as a supporter of that government. On the contrary, he is a consistent critic of it. But his principles led him to denounce the Buxton cabal, leading him into a sharp, public confrontation with one of his protégés, Tacuma Ogunseye.

There were others that hated the government and saw nothing wrong with the criminal direction of Buxton and the horrible implications for Guyana 's stability. This was and remains dishonest politics. Such kind of reckless, opportunistic, and plain indecent politics will never move a government that the country wants to see practice good governance.

I keep telling readers that if those that castigate the government are not examples of what it takes to be good citizens, then all that will happen is that the PPP's paranoia will get worse. To this I devoted an entire column entitled, “Feeding the PPP's paranoia.”

I do not accept that GINA should withdraw advertisements from the Stabroek News. If I should meet with the President I would tell him that was a politically shapeless decision. I hope sincerely that the policy is reversed. However, I certainly do not endorse the Stabroek News's explanation of its front-runner status and why it is a better paper thereby deserving of automatic patronage from the state.

I have done one article on the controversy.

I will offer readers an insight into the world of Stabroek News and how it treated people like me, Adam Harris, Moses Nagamootoo (when he was in opposition) in a forthcoming column. Do not be led by outward appearance. Some people in this country are not the good guys and the government, the bad guys.

It is hard to tell who is who in this country. The Stabroek News found it convenient in its yesterday's issue to quote of all persons, Tony Vieira, on press freedom. Is this to be taken seriously? Does Stabroek News regard Mr. Vieira as a credible analyst on what constitutes press freedom?

These types of actions harden the attitudes of the PPP. Should the PPP re-think its position on the advertisement policy after what Tony Vieira wrote? Should the PPP's ideology on press freedom undergo changes because Tony Vieira has showed them the way?

In other words, a competent practitioner of press freedom has spoken and the government should listen.

Will I be the subject of another nasty commentary of Mr. Vieira's so-called newscast because of what is written here? Will I be called an ugly East Indian again by Mr. Vieira because I have African genes in me? (As if Mr. Vieira himself is in the good looking-league of Pakistani playboy cricketer, Imran Khan)

Will the Stabroek News quote another owner of a television station about his views on press freedom who doesn't respect even the elementary norms of civilized behaviour much less press freedom? My point is that we are never going to move the PPP to practise good governance if we, the critics of PPP's policies, do not display the Eusi Kwayana quality.

With each passing day, one reflects on the recent elections results. Aubrey Norton, Eric Phillips and Tacuma Ogunseye find factors like the two daily newspapers and the role of the AFC as the central causes for the loss of five seats by the PNC last August. It never occurred to these gentlemen that the PNC lost votes because of what the PNC itself did and how credible it appeared to voters.

Those of us that wanted the PPP to lose the election should look back and see if people were not fed up with the alternative to the PPP.

Maybe the electorate didn't see the PPP's detractors as credible. Can we take some people seriously in this country, people who everyday tell us that they want changes? They want the PPP to be inclusive, accountable and transparent. But look at who they are. ACDA wrote a column in the Kaieteur News unambiguously stating that the PPP may have plotted the assassination of Walter Rodney.

This writer did not approve of the way East Indians voted in August but when East Indians see that statement coming from an African organisation, how do you think they will react?

I was both amused and irritated today when Christopher Ram, another perennial detractor of the Jagdeo presidency, wrote, “Mr. Al Creighton's contribution to Guyana is unmatched by any of his colleagues at the University of Guyana .” (letter pages, p.7).

Is this the man we must listen to when the whole world knows Professor Clive Thomas is UG's greatest asset? See what I mean by irresponsible criticism?