Opening the eyes of Dennis Wiggins
Freddie Kissoon column
January 28, 2007
In the January 24th issue of Kaieteur News (last Wednesday), there appeared a letter by a former student of mine, Dennis Wiggins captioned, “What was Freddie Kissoon implying?” Mr. Wiggins has become an astute observer of Guyanese politics, and though he writes from the US , like Stella Ramsaroop, the independent perspective he brings to bear on the political sociology of Guyana is extremely valuable. Any independent mind in Guyana is a priceless contribution to the moral re-building of this nation.
Let us offer a lengthy quote from Mr. Wiggins' letter; “My curious mind began to wonder what Mr. Kissoon was saying or implying. Was he saying Mr. (Tony) Vieira said that Mr. Kissoon is an ugly East Indian because he has African genes in him or did Mr. Kissoon think this is what was implied by Mr. Vieira? Or does Mr. Kissoon believe he is viewed as ugly because he has African blood in him. Since Mr. Kissoon did not use a direct quotation I am at a loss. The reason I raised these questions is because I believe Mr. Freddie Kissoon as an academic should be more careful with what he writes. For someone to view another as ugly tells a lot about the shallowness of the viewer.”
It is clear to any reader of this passage taken from Mr. Wiggins' KN correspondence of last Wednesday that he is perplexed that someone like me can say that a person may be ugly because of their African genes. He wants to know if that is what I meant or if someone mentioned words to the effect that Freddie Kissoon is ugly because he is mixed with African ethnicity.
In the paragraphs to follow, I will describe Mr. Wiggins' country for him, seeing that he lives outside of it and can only read the newspapers on the internet and not be familiar with political speeches, political commentaries and the contents of the talk-shows on channels 9 and 6.
First, I must confront the curiosity of Mr. Wiggins about what I wrote. In the explanation to follow, Mr. Wiggins' monumental question to me last Wednesday is answered. Here we go, Mr. Wiggins: It is culturally, scientifically and philosophically impossible for me to think that if a person of mixed race is viewed as ugly it is because of their African blood. No, Mr. Wiggins I did not say or write that. Those words will never, I repeat never, come from my pen or my mouth.
Also, leaving out race, I am the product of two wonderful parents that had not an ounce of racial bias in them. Two of my dead sisters were married to African men. One sister alive in Barbados is married to an African Barbadian. My brother that died a few months ago was married to an African woman. I taught you at the university level and I believe most firmly that you know I wouldn't think like that. I thank you in your letter, Mr. Wiggins, for penning the following observation; “Nor do I believe this brave son of Guyana has a racist bone in his body.”
So that answers your question of who said what about me, Mr. Wiggins. Now are you surprised that well-known figures can publicly utter these things in Guyana ? Well, you ain't see nothing yet, Dennis Wiggins. You have to live in Guyana to hear what is said on television. But that is not all. It is who are saying these things and what their politics is all about. Enter Eric Philips of ACDA and Aubrey Norton of the PNC. I am sure Mr. Wiggins you must have read what these two gentlemen have written on the electoral diminution of the PNC in the elections last year. Both of them found reasons that lie outside of the womb of the PNC. Philips points to the external, financial hand that fertilized the growth of the Alliance for Change.
He said the intention behind the birth of the AFC was to kill off the PNC. Norton found his answers in the anti-PNC views of the Kaieteur News and the Stabroek News which of course is a ghost that took over the imagination of Norton. Norton and Phillips found nothing wrong with the integrity of the PNC. The PNC would have won the poll if there weren't the AFC, the Kaieteur News and the Stabroek News.
Both Philips and Norton have reduced the Guyanese voters to fools. Here in the PNC is a man that publicly refers to a UG lecturer as being ugly because he has African genes in him. Here is an election candidate that fights political issues on behalf of the PNC, and can refer to those that criticize him as being ugly. It was you Mr. Wiggins, in your letter that I have quoted, who classified a person as being shallow that can call his fellow human being ugly. Well, Mr. Wiggins, let us visit the fountain of logic.
If you can find such comments unacceptable, and you are not in Guyana to see the antics and gesticulations of the person from whom this scatological sarcoma emerged, then imagine how other voters felt. Why should decent people accept a party on whose election list is a man that specifically says this East Indian guy is ugly? Shouldn't East Indian voters take umbrage at that? Is this too complex for Eric Philips and Mr. Norton to understand or is it that they just want to make fools out of themselves.
If you have an opposition party and one of its candidates in the election thinks that a mixed East Indian and African citizen is ugly and it is the African half of him that has made him ugly, then why should cultured, urbane African voters cast their ballots for such a party. Mr. Philips bemoans the loss of five seats by the PNC taken by the AFC. Nowhere in his analysis, did he look at the persona of the PNC itself and the people in that party that have turned off the voters.
Let me throw this one at you, Mr. Wiggins. Do you believe East Indian voters may have stayed with the PPP because among other faults of the PNC were the following; (1), the particular incident with me and PNC candidate, Tony Vieira in which he said the most socially unacceptable thing that can come out of the mouth of someone; (2) ACDA in 2004 wrote a column in the KN in which it put the blame on the PPP for the assassination of Walter Rodney.
A letter in the KN and the SN by David Hinds, Eusi Kwayana and Rupert Roopnarine unambiguously debunked that nonsense. Mr. Eric Philips, the de facto leader of ACDA, is still to open his mouth and tell us what he thinks of that abomination by his organization; (3) a Congress Place meeting in which the PNC leadership agreed that the PPP had decapitated the integrity of UG but couldn't condemn the PPP because if the incumbent Vice-Chancellor had lost his job, it meant an African Guyanese would have lost out to an Indian that the PPP would have brought in to replace him. It wasn't the talent and learning of the person that was relevant to heading the university but his race.
I could go on Mr. Wiggins but I am sure the picture is in front of you, now that we have reached the end of this article.
Judging from your letters in the newspapers, it doesn't appear to me that you find the PPP-led Government a competent and good administration. Those are my exact sentiments too. But you have to come to Guyana to see the backward people that oppose the PPP. Let me end by boldly telling you that if you find it unacceptable that Mr. Vieira can shout down someone by calling them ugly, then, you ain't see nothing yet. Come back home and you will see what your country has become.