Reversing while “positing”
Freddie Kissoon column
Kaieteur News
February 26, 2007

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There is one occupation in Guyana in which incompetence is accompanied by a lack of commonsense. I am referring to journalism. UG has not turned out good journalism graduates. Not because of the teachers. It has to do with the pathetic lack of resources. A university has to have research materials in order to bring out the ingeniousness in students that is waiting to be developed.

If an employee has not achieved competence because of poor training surely that person is expected to apply common sense to his work. Some journalists in Guyana, particularly in the print media, lack even commonsense in their function as media workers. This goes for every newspaper. This is only one way I can describe it. I do not see it as fear or disinterest. I see it as lacking in commonsense.

Don't tell me that a journalist knows that a prominent citizen is in the news for alleged grave misconduct and gets an opportunity to interview him and would eschew any question on that incident.

It is commonsense to know that your readers are expecting to see what the guy has to say about the accusation against him. In many instances, journalists take up revelations in my columns but they only end up doing grave injustice to themselves when they pursue the people I have written about.

The most irritating was the drama within the Third Force just before the August 2006 elections. It was this writer that broke the story that the Third Force was dissolving because of acerbic disagreement about an invitation to the PNC to join it in a huge pre-election coalition.

I quoted Ravi Dev and Paul Hardy on their rejection of the PNC. It was Rupert Roopnarine and Peter Ramsaroop that argued for the inclusion of the PNC.

Shortly after I exposed the debacle within the Guyana Third Force, Miranda La Rose of the Stabroek News secured an interview with Rupert Roopnarine. I was so mad on reading that interview that I believe both Ms. La Rose and her editor, Mr. Anand Persaud, should have been fired. Ms. La Rose chose not to ask Dr. Rupert about his position on the alliance with the PNC even though in my article I brought out the fact that Roopnarine was insisting on Big Tent politics inside the Third Force.

Ms La Rose inquired about a coalition with the PNC. She put the question in a general way. Ms La Rose allowed Roopnarine to get away with murder. Instead of offering the Guyanese people, in a straight forward way, the reason he wanted the PNC as part of a grand coalition, Roopnarine informed the readers that Paul Hardy was the person that objected to the electoral partnership with the PNC.

Roopnarine chose to talk on Hardy's attitude to the PNC in the Third Force and not his own feeling towards the PNC as he, Roopnarine, was a leading voice in the Third Force. The reason for this was because La Rose allowed Roopnarine to escape. Ms La Rose refused to understand that when reporters catch up with public figures, the public wants answers to the questions that arise from the controversies in which they are embroiled. Commonsense should tell you that.

Take the Celina Atlantic Resort parking controversy. The President said that patrons may be inclined to reverse into the heavy East Coast traffic when they are leaving. That is his fear and for that reason only, parking is not allowed. Why hasn't the President not been asked why is it that only Celina's patrons may reverse onto the highway? What about the patrons of the night spots at Vryheid's Lust and Montrose? These night spots exist on the edge of the highway. Will such a question be asked?

The Celina Atlantic Resort is a goldmine for our journalists. The questions to be asked don't have to be looked for; they come from commonsense. Since the no-parking edict is suspected to have been issued by certain quarters in the government, things have taken a nasty turn. Our journalists have to investigate and give the Guyanese people the facts to which they are entitled.

For example, is it a coincidence that all the street lights on the seawall road from Camp Street and beyond are working except two – the very two that lit up the parking lot at the Kitty pumping station that Celina's patrons are using to park.

Last Wednesday evening, I was lucky. After I had completed my seawall stroll, as I was walking past Celina, its manager, Mr. Bernard Yuhn called out to me. He showed me a solitary traffic rank that has been assigned to monitor traffic outside of the resort.

I went up and spoke to the rank who I happened to know very well. He told me his duty is to continuously drive up and down the highway to monitor the situation in order to ensure that no driver parks there.

His tour ends at 19.00 hours and another rank will replace him. Somebody is out to cripple Celina Atlantic Resort. The parking thing is the pretext through which the opportunity will be acquired. Whatever is wrong at Celina Atlantic Resort and why a powerful person has a dislike for it are questions that the media should pursue.

But you can bet your last dollar that our good folks in the media will throw away that golden moment when it comes to ask the relevant question. I can anticipate the moment of mediocrity -“Sir, do you think reversing is such a bad thing after all?”

Finally, I appeal to the editors of all the newspaper to stop their reporters from the constant use of the word “posit.” It is an atrocious grammatical misuse. The word “posit” has a special meaning and is generally confined to scientific debates. Our journalists haven't a clue what the word means. They should stop misusing the word. It is not synonymous with “say.”

For example: “He says the stadium will be a great success.” It cannot be written then to look like this: “He posits that the stadium will be a great success.” But this is how the word is being used all the time.

There can be no dispute about the fact that freedom and justice are best guaranteed when the media is strong and vibrant in a country. But a majority of our media operatives are letting us down. With a non-performing judiciary and incompetent media community, freedom is bound to go out the window