Saturday, May 24, 2008

Intellectual and moral prostitution from PNC racist sycophants

Intellectual and moral prostitution
The arguments forwarded by Tacuma Ogunseye are always interesting to read. It is amazing that he finds it so convenient to not only shack up with the likes of Corbin and the PNCR but to defend them to the end quite like a prostitute and her ‘john’.

While my comments in the letter pages may sound harsh it must be this way since he seems to be portraying an example of intellectual and moral prostitution which could be bought and sold on the streets of political expediency.

Ogunseye’s choice to become a supporter of the party and the people responsible for the death of one of the greatest sons of Guyana is astonishing since there seems to be no change from the politics practiced then by the PNCR and that practiced now.

Ogunseye, being a supporter of Walter Rodney and the WPA in the days of the Burnham dictatorship must have understood the fear that that dictatorship created and thrived on.

His attack on the Sunday Stabroek (May 18) editorial in his letter published on Thursday, May 22, is another example of his incomprehensible behaviour. The editorial as stated in the editor’s note dealt quite objectively with the protest action taken by the PNCR.

In questioning the actions of the opposition the editorial asked “Exactly what the PNCR took to the streets for in the first place is not altogether clear, since they seemed to latch onto any topic that was in vogue at the time, including the ban on Channel 6, the cost of living, and, most mysteriously, Carifesta, which was founded by the late President Burnham no less… it hardly does the Leader of the Opposition any credit that he would seek to make a major regional festival ‘unmanageable’.”

This should have been taken as good advice by the party but so arrogant are they that even the slightest hint of criticism is cause for an attack which came from none other that Ogunseye.

I ask Ogunseye, what service is it to Guyana or the few dozen citizens who are taken on the streets to protest an issue that is out of control of the Government? Is it as is stated in the editorial that Corbin has been under pressure from his grass root supporters to go out on the streets? Why would Corbin as Leader of the Opposition seek to make a major regional festival “unmanageable?

What justifies the pushing down of police barriers, frightening shoppers and panicking shopkeepers, how can that possibly be defended? Will it do anything to help the cost of living?

Ogunseye portrays himself to be a black nationalist but what is his interpretation of Black Nationalism? Is it the alienation of any other race? I surely do not hear him shout about wrongs being done to the women in his community? What is he and PNCR doing to educate the young men to give them some pride and teach them to generate income for themselves?

And Ogunseye don’t tell me about the opportunities, the Blackman found ways to earn and save during the days of apprenticeship and were able to purchase estates. There is no way that any regime in Guyana could ever be as discriminatory as the colonial masters.

Some of the creative thoughts that go into giving reason to hate should be channelled to creative development.

These so called black nationalists need to see that hate consumes the soul. Walter Rodney was not a man who saw or practiced race politics. How could Ogunseye, who was so close to him, be diverted in this way? Or was he just another opportunist who was willing to sell himself to any cause in the need for a battle?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

PNCR's Goebbels cult --- destroying the Guyanese nation

Another load of Goebbels-style propaganda, from the PNCR cult in exile who can't win at the polls because the Guyanese people have rejected them. SO, the losers are hell-bent on destabilizing and destroying Guyana. You will fail, again. Read this.


The PNCR demonstrates a disregard for law and order

May 18, 2008

Dear Editor,
Once again the PNCR has taken to the streets in defiance of the police. The illegal protest in Georgetown on 16.5.08, demonstrates the complete disregard the party holds for law and order in Guyana. This coupled with a march a few days ago in which the party followed an unauthorized route in the city, and which ended with an effigy of President Jagdeo being burnt in front of Parliament, is an indication that the PNCR is bent on causing mayhem and disorder in the country, and instilling fear in the population. The PNCR was also instrumental in staging protests after the suspension of CN Sharma’s television licence after a woman’s threat to President Jagdeo on a call-in programme had been rebroadcast. These actions are reminiscent of another unauthorized protest the PNCR leader Robert Corbin led a few years ago, from the East Coast to Georgetown, again in defiance of the police. That the party has no respect for the police force, and is bent on chaos and stalling progress and peaceful relations in Guyana, is clear.

But what is more disturbing is the deafening silence on the part of the Guyana Human Rights Asssociation, ACDA, and others, who were so vocal when CN Sharma’s licence was suspended. Why are they not outraged at the PNCR’s illegal actions? Where is their condemnation? Where is their call for the law to be upheld?
Yours faithfully
Mohan Singh

THE fascist Minister of Propaganda in Hitlerite Germany Herr Gobels is on record as having said that a lie is more believed when it is a big lie. He is further reported to have said that the more often a lie is repeated the more it tends to be believed.

That seems to be the tactics of the political opposition in dealing with the PPP and the PPP/Civic government. Another glaring example appeared in the “Kaieteur News” of April 27 in an article by Khemraj Ramjattan of the AFC.

In that article he once again implied that our constitution was the “Burnham Constitution,” meaning that it was the product of the Forbes Burnham regime. He has made such statements regularly, sometimes even in Parliament.

This, however, is not true.
When the PPP/Civic took office in 1992 efforts were made to have a new constitution. A commission of the Parliament was established to carry out the task. A lot of work was done but it did not conclude its work before the Parliament ended in 1997.
QUOTE: ‘Despite all of these changes we have the opposition shamelessly describing our constitution as a Burnham Constitution. Again they are working to mislead our people by repeating the lie, Gobels like, over and over again’

The delay was due mainly to the fact that the PNC had refused to participate in the work of that body for a protracted period. The PPP/Civic government displayed great patience in working to get the main opposition on board to deal with such a fundamental issue.

Even though the De Santos (Bernard De Santos was the then Attorney General and chaired the commission) Commission did not complete its work before the 1997 elections, the effort did not go in vain. It was used by the commission established by the new Parliament, based on the Herdmanson Accord.

The new commission had very broad representation from political parties and from civil society. The Commission travelled extensively throughout Guyana taking evidence from organizations and individuals. It also drew on international experiences. Several constitutional experts from abroad, facilitated by the National Development Institute (NDI) of the US, came to Guyana during this period to advise the Commission.

The cost of this work was also very substantial. Based on all the above work a new constitution was drafted. It was laid in Parliament and was passed unanimously. Mr Ramjattan was a member of parliament and also voted for this constitution.

After all of this I find it baffling that anyone can continue to describe the constitution as “Burnham’s Constitution.” This constitution is truly a people’s constitution. Clearly the only motive was to repeat the lie often enough in the hope that people would believe it. It is designed to discredit the PPP which was the main force fighting for democracy and change in Guyana during the period of rigged elections.

Whenever the opposition wants to attack the President they refer to the immunity that the constitution gives to the head of state. Mr Ramjattan in particular tries to create the impression that all the immunities that were enjoyed by Presidents Burnham and Hoyte are still applicable today. The impression is also often given that when in opposition the PPP opposed the immunities of the PNC’s presidents, but now we are enjoying the same.

This is also untrue.
From the time that the 1980 constitution was promulgated the PPP expressed the view that the power of the president to prorogue or dissolve parliament even if he was being impeached was improper and in effect made it impossible to impeach the President even if the President grossly violated the constitution.

Other opposition forces expressed similar views at that time. Some said that this clause was creating a president for life. The WPA was the main proponent of this position.

The PPP promised to remove that power from the President whenever it took office.

The record would show that on both occasions when the PPP made presentations to the Constitutional Reform Commissions it recommended the removal of such powers. The resulting Constitution does not have that provision!

Moreover many other powers that the President had have now been changed or modified. Before 2001 a President of Guyana, could have appointed the chairpersons of all the Constitutional Commissions including Police, Public, Judicial and Teaching Service Commissions by just consulting the Opposition. Today the Appointive Committee of Parliament makes recommendations to the Parliament. When these are approved they are forwarded to the President for ratification.

In some areas the President must obtain the agreement of the Leader of the Opposition before he can appoint persons to certain key positions.

Despite all of these changes we have the opposition shamelessly describing our constitution as a Burnham Constitution. Again they are working to mislead our people by repeating the lie, Gobels like, over and over again.

Let us now deal with the immunities that the President has and ask ourselves are they unreasonable?

To determine this we should look at the immunities that heads of state have in the countries that are often upheld as bastions of democracy.

Any such examination will show that the immunities of the President of Guyana are generally the same or less then those enjoyed by other heads of states.

Let us begin by looking at the United Kingdom, the country that is described as the oldest democracy. The head of state is the ruling monarch. The head of state here is exempt from the jurisdiction of the criminal courts. The monarch is personally immune from civil lawsuits as well.

In the US according to a study done by the Legislative Council Secretariat, Research and Library Services Division, done in 2007, while there are no legal provisions of immunity for the President, “…the courts have developed a doctrine of official immunity for the President. The President is entitled to absolute immunity in civil suits regarding all of his official acts…”

The study went on to say in regard to the President’s immunity from criminal proceedings the matter is unsettled. “…However, no sitting President has been prosecuted for criminal charges…”

In France the President has great immunities and power. It was only in 2007 that a law was passed to make it possible to impeach the President. He or she cannot be prosecuted. The study found that the French President has more powers and immunities than all others in Europe.

In Germany the President enjoys immunity from prosecution. He/she has the power to appoint and dismiss federal judges, the federal civil servants, the officers and non-commissioned officers etc.

In India the President also has immunity from prosecution from both criminal and civil courts.

We can therefore conclude from the examples above that it has been internationally recognized that the immunities for a head of state are considered not as a privilege but as an essential tool for carrying out the functions of such a high office.

In relation to Guyana, in a general sense, the immunity of the President as given to the post by the framers of our constitution is no more than, and in some instances less than those bestowed on other heads of state.

To say that a President of Guyana has excessive powers is at best unobjective and more often than not; it is down right political dishonesty with the hope of misleading people.
Such behaviour is in the culture of Gobels repeating the lie to make it believable.


FOLLOWING REPORTS on the internet of the current mix of anti-government illegal demonstrations in Georgetown; drive-by shootings at police and police stations; plus this past Friday night's hurling of channa bombs at the Ministry of Culture, with the later repeated fire by gunmen at the WaterChris Hotel, a well known adage came to mind: "What you see by day, you do not wait to light a candlestick to see at night".

If the captains of industry and commerce in this nation, as well as the print and electronic media, are waiting to witness the end results of the current extra-parliamentary street politics of the main opposition PNCR's so-called "cost of living protests", before sounding their own warnings to an orchestrated threat to the rule of law, then they may have to light the proverbial candlestick to see the consequences.

First, there was the unsubstantiated and quite alarming claim by the PNCR leader, Robert Corbin, of the police having received instructions to use fire power and tear gas to prevent or quell a protest demonstration on the day his party supporters broke through police barricades in the city while Parliament was hoping to debate the cost of living situation.

Both the Minister of Home Affairs, Clement Rohee and, more significantly, the high command of the Guyana Police Force, separately challenged the PNCR leader to provide the EVIDENCE in support of his allegation.

It is an allegation that carried the unmistakable potential for igniting political/ethnic passions in a society that continues to suffer the consequences when either of the two major political parties resorts to the weapon of race, however subtle the masking.

Mr. Corbin is yet to produce the requested evidence. Subsequently, having been firmly criticised by the police for violating the agreed routes for that same controversial protest march, the PNCR leader was to be involved in what the police first deemed an unlawful march last Thursday for which permission was not granted.

The PNCR leader was reported in the local media as explaining that having learnt that no permission was forthcoming for the originally planned "cost of living" protest march, he chose to walk back to his office since he had turned up without his car for the start of the event. What then reportedly happened, as claimed, was that those who had assembled to await Corbin's arrival, decided to follow him as he set about returning to his office.

The ensuing disorderly behaviour, including mocking of the police as the so-called "walk" turned out to be another not-so-clever political device, reminded me of that time of the Wynn Parry-headed Commission of Inquiry into the February1962 "disturbances in British Guiana" against the then PPP administration of Cheddi Jagan.

In addressing a response from then PNC leader, Forbes Burnham, why he had failed to respond to a request from the Governor to appeal to his demonstrating supporters in Georgetown to desist from acts of violence and cooperate with the security forces, he was to adopt the position that "the man who calls off the dog owns the dog."

The Commission's reaction to that very cynical contention by Burnham, was: "This callous and remorseless attitude is reminiscent of Mark Anthony's observation: 'Mischief thou art afoot. Take thou what course thou wilt'..."

Playing hide and seek with the police as they opted to make a farce of the rule of law in Georgetown last Thursday when the PNCR chose to continue its anti-government cost of living protest, may have been satisfying for those seeking to resort to some of the old tactics and strategies of now deceased mentors.

If Mr. Corbin's "walk back" to his office was amusing in the context of what ensued on the streets last Thursday, including the harrowing experience by the police to maintain law and order, then the statement issued later in the day that the police "will seek legal advice" on the unlawful protest, was even more amusing.

The law enforcement agencies would, of course, be aware that this is not a time for amusement; not with the signs pointing to "danger ahead". If the politics of "slow fire", of an earlier period is recalled and effectively doused by the politics of mature dialogue, then there should be no need to light a candlestick to see in the night what is so clearly viewed by day.
Question is: Will the representatives of the business community, the religious communities and other non-government organisations that claim to be committed to the rule of law and unity among all races, now step up to the challenge to remind the PNCR that there are other ways to respond to the cost of living problem -- a worldwide challenge -- than to engaging in politics that could provoke incitement to disorder and made worse by fomenting animosity with the police themselves?


Debt servicing down to four percent
President Bharrat Jagdeo, on Friday, said Guyana has reached a maximum of debt relief; and that debt servicing has come down significantly, from about 94 percent of revenue to four percent.

President Jagdeo has been instrumental in negotiating debt write-offs for Guyana. His efforts have seen Guyana’s debt move from US$2.1 B to less than US$700M. The stable macro-economic environment which Government has been able to create and maintain has removed the ‘highly indebted’ status from the country.

“We have been fortunate and we have been working hard and we have managed to get this down, but unfortunately many countries in Africa have not been so successful,” he said.

The Guyanese Leader said he was fasting in solidarity with the movement and its countless supporters and urged those international institutions to deal with Africa’s debt faster.

Guyana has benefitted from several debt write-offs which have been used for infrastructural development.
President Jagdeo had defined debt relief as “Better education, health care, providing better water supply, better infrastructure generally, social and economic infrastructure, helping to generate more jobs for our young people, getting more of them connected to the internet through the Information Communications Technology (ICT) revolution so our children could learn differently.” (GINA)

Are the young people arrested PNCR supporters?
THE recent arrest of youths in targeted areas created quite a stir with the PNCR and Corbin accusing the Police of racial profiling, harassment of its supporters and the usual ‘reasons for protest’. The arrest by the police no doubt resulted from investigations.

How it is that Corbin knows that that those arrested are his supporters? Do any of them carry a party card? What affiliation do they have with the PNCR? Or is Corbin intent on using them to garner support for his marches the way he used CN Sharma.

While I do not wish to debate the ‘right and or wrongs’ of the Police action, I wish to point out that the Police are the law enforcement agents of Guyana. They are the ones vested with the responsibility to maintain law and order, despite what is claimed by Corbin and the PNCR.

The persons I understand were arrested while ‘liming’ in the streets, which in itself is an offence and Corbin is well aware of that. The police need to be proactive to reduce the amount of unsolved crimes.

Corbin and the PNCR leadership tried to create discontentment in the village of Buxton when the Joint Services began to clear the lower East Coast Demerara backlands. They did not succeed.

With the presence of the Joint Services in Buxton and with the clearing exercise in progress, there has been a visible reduction in the number of brutal and vicious crimes. The Joint Services have been vindicated in that regard. Let us give this new measure time to see the results.

This action is nothing new to policing tactics. It was practised during the 70s under the PNC Burnham regime. I could remember raids being carried out in those same areas and in villages on the East Coast Demerara and the older persons who want to be honest would speak out. This also happens in other countries.

I have copied parts of an article from the World Socialist Website ( for the information of readers.

“In a massive dragnet, U.S. Marshals led more than 90 state, local and other federal police agencies last week in arresting over 10,000 people across the country…

Code-named Operation Falcon, for Federal and Local Cops Organized Nationally, the unprecedented federally-coordinated mass arrests were staged for maximum political and media impact. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales used the operation as the subject of his first news conference since the confirmation of his controversial nomination.

Attorney General Gonzales told reporters, “Operation FALCON is an excellent example of President Bush’s direction and the Justice Department’s dedication to deal both with the terrorist threat and traditional violent crime.” He added, “This joint effort shows the commitment of our federal, state, and local partners to make our neighbourhoods safer…”

This was an operation in the USA and it was effective. Why should things be different in Guyana? We compare ourselves to them in every sphere.

Robert Corbin and the PNCR seem to have a penchant for protecting criminals, it was not surprising therefore when the news broke that his driver was arrested for being involved in robbery and murder. I bet that would be a reason for one of his protests – claiming that he is innocent.

I wish to ask all fair minded persons to say honestly if they could truly vow for the character of any person who is not with them 24 hours a day. That is what Corbin is doing and asking others to do.

As a politician and a lawyer, Corbin should know that people will tell you what they think you want to hear. I once heard someone say ‘prisons are filled with innocent persons’. Corbin seems to have some divine ability that tells him who is guilty and who is innocent.

Maybe he should offer his services to the Police and stop the confrontational approach that he seems to be adopting of recent. It is dangerous for him and his followers. When a crowd gets agitated it is difficult to control. We remember what happened in July 2001 and do not wish for a repeat.

If Corbin could be so bold to publicly commit these minor offences and find a reason for so doing, why is it that he would not dare to do more in private.

The question that must be answered is who has most to gain by creating chaos in Guyana?

Police were right to say no
THE police, quite uncharacteristically, explained the reason for not approving the request for the PNCR protest march planned for Thursday, saying that on the party’s previous march, they had diverted from the specified route and had thrown down police barriers. While it is not normal for the police to explain why approvals are not granted, it could have been expected.

The week before approval was granted for a similar protest march, this resulted in the protestors generally behaving in a disorderly and vulgar manner which seems to be the way the PNCR protest. They were given permission and they broke the law.

The PNCR has had a history of destruction and mayhem during their protest marches. Corbin and the leaders of the Party are well aware of the increased chances for mayhem to break out once the protesters reach crowded parts of the city.

The Guyana Police Force has a responsibility to all Guyanese, it does not have the luxury of deciding whom to protect or arrest based on party affiliation, they are required to protect the citizens of Guyana.

If Corbin and the PNCR leadership think it is alright for them to break laws that they choose to break to achieve their political objective, then what would happen should they return to power?

Every Guyanese is entitled to the same protection under the law, protection from individuals threatening, harassing or disturbing them.

The PNCR need to let the police do their job and respect the law.

Stop the indecency
THE late leader of the PNCR Hugh Desmond Hoyte had spoken out against what he termed the ‘putagee mafia’. This was at a time when he was trying to attract foreign investors to Guyana and was getting much criticism and resistance from a certain section of the society.

We see today that this group of persons is still active with the indecent attack that was launched on Buddy Shivraj. I do not know the man, but the reports in the Stabroek News seem to suggest that something more is going on.

Government had issued leases to two persons to construct hotels (Buddy’s and Casique) in the stadium area to facilitate visitors during the CWC in 2007. The playing field for both persons was the same. Both investors took the risk and they were given the same concessions by Government.

Buddy’s (thank heavens) was able to complete his hotel in time for the CWC but Cacique was not, and still isn’t. The benefits of an investment are to the fortune of the investor. If Buddy’s or any investor is offered a price that is worth his while then it would be incomprehensible for him to have refused it.

Why the indecency of exposing how much was paid and how much made beats my mind, especially in a society as ours where criminals are willing to risk their lives for a few dollars. Is it that Buddy’s is not of the ‘class’ that should benefit from that kind of profits from a ‘buy out’?

With an investor like Ozkan in Guyana, maybe he would attract other investors; is that the fear of the ‘mafia’ Stabroek News and others like them could consider benefiting from a ‘buy out’ to their benefit?

Whatever is their problem, this indecency in the media needs to stop.

Corbin respects the law?
LEADER of the main Opposition Party, Robert Corbin claims that he respects and obeys the laws of Guyana. However, during his planned protests the police did not grant permission for this exercise to continue.

Mr. Corbin, nevertheless, gave his followers this information, then proceeded to say that since his driver had left he would have to walk back to his Chambers.

Utter nonsense! Why not just order his driver to return? This is a silly transparent ploy to break the law!

It is quite obvious that he was bent on finding a way in which to ensure that the protest continued, although it was now termed a ‘walk to my chambers.’ Mr. Corbin knew that he was breaching the same law that he claims to obey but he still continued despite several attempts by the police to halt the protest.

The routes taken by his supporters/picketers included stopping in front of the Magistrate’s Court to picket with the plaques which was inclusive of ‘his walk home.’

While protesting is an effective way to highlight a situation, I think the PNCR’s culture of protesting is becoming quite tiresome and downright irritating to the Guyanese public.

Why can’t Mr. Corbin find a more constructive manner in which to highlight issues? The few hundreds of people he is manipulating may be enjoying themselves. But what about the majority of Guyanese who have to face this stress day after day?
Doesn’t Mr. Corbin have any regard for them? When will he become tired of his selfish obsession?

Let us today give some history to participation levels in the Public Service.
Race and ethnicity as a determining factor in the composition of the Public Service have an imposing and penetrative character on Guyana’s history. This factor has its roots in the stratification system of Guyana: the White colonial elite dominated the society through its control of sugar and other commercial activities.
Most of the Public Service positions attracted an urban-based population before 1953, and so the groups most likely to absorb these positions were Africans and the Mixed. Africans and the Mixed were predominantly concentrated in Georgetown and New Amsterdam, the two main urban centers at that time. In 1946, Indians comprised 16% of the urban population that increased to 22% in 1960. But Africans constituted about 54% of the urban population in 1960 while the Mixed was somewhere around 53% in 1960.

And so not surprisingly, colonial Whites dominated the higher echelons of the Public Service, with Indians and Africans at the bottom of that hierarchy. Compared to other ethnics, Indians carried the lowest hierarchical status in the colonial public service in 1925: only 4 percent of Indians employed, given that they constituted almost 42 percent of the total population.

Table 1: Racial Distribution in the Public Service, 1925
Ethnicity % in % of Pop. Employ
Europeans & descendants 3.0 1.11
Portuguese 0.2 3.08
Chinese 0.2 0.91
East Indians 4.0 41.97
Negroes 84.7 39.36
Mixed 7.3 10.28
Not stated 0.6 .22
Source: Daily Argosy, August 13, 1925
Lutchman (1972, p. 2) noted in describing the colonial Public Service that “Unlike the society where the base was occupied mainly by the East Indian and Negro sections collectively, in the public bureaucracy it was monopolized by the latter. In other words, East Indians were not only under-represented at the top echelons of the bureaucracy (as was the case with Negroes) but they were also under-represented at the lower echelons.” The under-representation of Indians is further underscored in Tables 2 and 3.
Table 2: Fixed Pensionable Establishment of the Public Service with Salary of £150 and over in 1925
Year Non-Indian Indian

1913 288 1
1921 323 8
1924 358 23

969 32
Source: The Kunwar Maharaj Singh Report, 1925

Table 3: Fixed Pensionable Establishment of the Public Service with Salary under £150 in 1925
Year Non-Indians Indians
1913 94 8
1921 112 27
1924 97 14

303 49
Source: The Kunwar Maharaj Singh Report, 1925
The small White planter elite in the colonial era widely practiced ethnic dominance in the Public Service. This dominance created a dual stratification system, one exclusively for Whites, and the other at the lower level for Indians and Africans; with Africans having greater numerical strength in the Public Service. But the race and ethnicity factor cannot convincingly explain the greater numbers of Africans in the colonial bureaucracy.

Most of the Public Service positions attracted an urban-based population before 1953, and so the groups most likely to absorb these positions were Africans and the Mixed. Africans and the Mixed were predominantly concentrated in Georgetown and New Amsterdam, the two main urban centers at that time. In 1946, Indians comprised 16% of the urban population that increased to 22% in 1960. But Africans constituted about 54% of the urban population in 1960 while the Mixed was somewhere around 53% in 1960.

The imbalance against Indians in the Public Service did not materialize as a political issue until the 1960s because the nationalist movement, comprising both Indians and Africans after the Second World War, focused attention against colonialism. To do something else would have fragmented the nationalist efforts against colonial hegemony.

But the split in the People’s Progressive Party in 1955, aimed at disintegrating the nationalist movement against colonialism, and increasing competition and conflict between Indians and Africans, was not solely self-directed, but was cushioned and activated by external forces, as attested to by several commentators.

The then Prime Minister Burnham himself drove the racial antagonism between the two major ethnic groups. He said that the rapid development of education among Indians and their occupational penetration into the traditional preserves of Africans, made it inevitable that Indians would constitute a threat to Africans. Burnham felt that Africans would then be required to protect their vested interest.

The governmental agencies were perceived as the catalysts for change. Specifically, each major ethnic group saw governmental agencies, especially the Public Service as a sanctuary for promoting better living standards for its group. The Moyne Commission in 1945 diagnosed the West Indian problem as one of seeking better living standards. Thus, the prevalence of increased ethnic competition and conflict in the quest for better living standards became the norm. However, Lutchman (1972) concluded that after the PPP split in 1955, Africans were more favorably placed than Indians in governmental agencies.

The frequent PPP’s criticisms on the ethnic imbalance in the Public Service and the security forces led to an investigation by the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ). One of the ICJ’s recommendations was that Indians should be recruited at a greater rate than Africans until an acceptable ethnic balance was reached. The PNC Government during its 28 years failed to correct this imbalance.
Table 4: Public Service-Senior Administrative and Executive Ranks

Total Nos. I A O %
I %
A %
Ministers 29 7 20 2 2

69 7
Other Senior Positions 66 3

25 1


38 1

Permanent Secretaries 29 2 25 2 7 86 7
Principal Assistant Secretaries 38 1

21 3 3

55 8
Personnel 22 5 17 - 2

77 -
Accounts 19 9 8 2 4

42 1

Other Departmental Heads 139 1

102 1


43 1

Source: Debiprashad & Budhram’s East Indians in the Caribbean (1987)
I=Indians; A=Africans; O=Others Table 4 shows that in the Ministries in the 1970s, only a small number of Indians occupied senior administrative positions. In 1973, there was only one Indian Permanent Secretary and two in 1979. About 37% of Principal Assistant Secretaries and only 23% of Heads of Personnel Divisions were Indians. There were 7 Indian Ministers and 20 African Ministers. There was some ethnic balance in the Accounts Division. Africans clearly dominated positions of Other Departmental/Divisional Heads, including Regional Development Officers during the PNC ruling years. …To be continued.
Pull Quote:
Most of the Public Service positions attracted an urban-based population before 1953, and so the groups most likely to absorb these positions were Africans and the Mixed. Africans and the Mixed were predominantly concentrated in Georgetown and New Amsterdam, the two main urban centers at that time. In 1946, Indians comprised 16% of the urban population that increased to 22% in 1960. But Africans constituted about 54% of the urban population in 1960 while the Mixed was somewhere around 53% in 1960.

But to begin at the beginning. Exactly what the PNCR took to the streets for in the first place is not altogether clear, since they seemed to latch onto any topic that was in vogue at the time, including the ban on Channel 6, the cost of living, and, most mysteriously, Carifesta, which was founded by the late Pres-ident Burnham no less. Considering that President Jagdeo was under pressure on all fronts, no great action was required on the part of the main opposition; they just had to sit and wait, and say their piece in Parliament and elsewhere while the government floundered. As it is now they have made themselves the centrepiece of criticism, and the PPP/C can mount its favourite hobby-horse spouting its usual florid rhetoric – which is not to say that the PNCR has not had some florid rhetoric of its own to spout.

Exactly how the PNCR thought it would dissuade a significant segment of its own constituency from attending Carifesta is not clear; in a city notoriously lacking entertainment, music and dancing of a high standard would be too much of a temptation to resist. Be that as it may, it hardly does the Leader of the Opposition any credit that he would seek to make a major regional festival “unmanageable.” That is not the occasion or the issue on which to confront the government. One might have thought the party would have worked out that they cannot afford a fiasco involving the region which is blamed on them.
And then there is the present cost-of-living protest. As far as the price of food staples is concerned, the government has little purchase on that situation in the short term, as the PNCR well knows. Where the cost of living generally is concerned, there is the matter of VAT, which aside from the increase in the number of items zero rated, the government has to date declined to review. Having said that, however, once the protestors are undisciplined – which they have been – the PPP/C doesn’t have to bother itself about any issues they may be highlighting; the whole focus then becomes the PNCR’s behaviour.

Now one must presume that Mr Corbin has been under pressure from his grass roots supporters to go out on the streets, and they probably are not too fussy about the issues he selects for protest. There is enormous frustration among opposition supporters and no doubt others too with the government. (It might be said in passing that the administration, which seems to be fitted with cast-iron earplugs, is oblivious to just how unpopular it is in some quarters.) In addition, Mr Corbin’s standing in the party is nothing like what Mr Hoyte’s was, and it may be he felt that leading a protest would revive his reputation which after all had taken a public battering during the leadership contest. Whatever the case, leaders are supposed to lead and not be led from behind; their decisions should be rational and should be based on what is best for the party, and, it must be added, the country as well.

Whatever the rationale behind the protests, whether justified or not, there was absolutely no excuse for the behaviour that the PNCR protestors displayed on the road on May 8, not simply ignoring the authorized route, but burning Mr Jagdeo’s effigy outside Parliament. No matter what his shortcomings, there is simply no excuse in our present situation for that display of vulgarity. And as for, pushing down police barriers, frightening shoppers and panicking shopkeepers, how can that possibly be defended? At the very least, it will certainly do nothing to help the cost of living.

In a general sense, the police commendably have been very restrained in their response to the protestors. Whether they could have done more when a segment of the marchers broke away from the May 8 protest, is not clear. All that can be said is, they were hardly in a position to use tear gas in a crowded area with children around. In general, however, at a time like this confrontation should be avoided if at all possible, and the police seem to have managed this successfully. However, refusing permission for the last march – no doubt on political instructions – was futile since it went ahead anyway (although it was not called a march). Withholding permission creates conditions for possible disorder, and it is better to have an official route and leave the pressure on the PNCR to see the protestors behave in a disciplined way.

The matter of the arrest of Mr Corbin’s driver last week for advertising an illegal march through a loud-speaker on his car is a problematic issue. In the first instance one wonders why he should have been sent to undertake this task rather than some other driver; it seems at best unnecessarily provocative and at worst specifically intended to produce a reaction. This notwithstanding, arresting him could only up the temperature, and the preferred wisdom would have been for the police to resist zeal in this instance.


Monday, May 12, 2008

PNCR continues to terrorise the Guyanese nation

The PNCR continues to terrorise the Guyanese nation

Dear Editor,
President Bharrat Jagdeo recently slammed Opposition Leader Mr. Robert Corbin, saying some $100 million which should have gone exclusively to paying registration scrutineers is being used to engineer his party’s anti-government protests under the cloud of rising food prices.
The President said Corbin’s party was engaging in organised “thuggery” to get persons to join his protest in the city, saying some scrutineers who were supposed to be out in the field observing the house-to-house registration process were told to join the protest or risk not getting their payments.
If the President’s statement is correct, and he has proof of this, then I urged the Government to take this matter very seriously.
It seems that the opposition PNCR will stop at nothing unless the duly elected Government is removed from office.
To see opposition party members burning the President’s photo with a coffin is a bad sign of things to come for the people of Guyana.
The entire international community of peace loving nations must be warned that the opposition PNCR wants to grab power against the will of the majority of Guyanese.
Hamas and Hezbollah have been branded terrorist groups even though Hamas won free, fair, and transparent elections.
They are fighting to regain their homes, which they lost to an occupying power. PNCR was voted out of power by the Guyanese masses in 1992 in free, fair, and transparent elections.
The international community and CARICOM nations knew that, from 1964 to 1992, Guyanese were held hostage and were terrorized by the PNC when it took power illegally.
Now that the PNC is out of office and out of power, that party continues to terrorize the Guyanese nation. They are trying to hold an entire nation hostage through frivolous protest marches.
It must be noted by the international community and CARICOM nations that this is nothing more than terror by the opposition PNCR.
It is now time for the international community and CARICOM nations to brand the opposition as a terror group.
How many more known criminals will the opposition PNCR protect?
How many more know dead criminals will be draped in our national flag by the opposition PNCR?
How many more lies will the opposition PNCR tell its people to hold frivolous marches and illegal protests?
The majority of Guyanese say that the PNCR is only interested in grabbing power by hook or crook.
I urge the international community and CARICOM nations to see the opposition PNCR as such.
It is nothing but terror when a woman says “God loves her” when she saw the Police coming her way where PNCR protesters were marching.
It is nothing but terror when the business community starts to barricade their properties upon hearing of PNCR marchers approaching.
Ask the poor folks in their homes what they think when they hear PNCR is holding protest marches?
Ask the teachers and school children what they feel when they hear of opposition protest marches.
Too often now this is happening, and no one holds PNCR to account for the terror they placed in the minds of Guyanese.
Enough is enough!
T. King

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

On Freedom of Expression and the selectively convenient conscience

On Freedom of Expression and the selectively convenient conscience
THE headline on the front page of the “Catholic Standard” of 10th January 1982 reads: GRAVE PRESSURE ON PRINTER TO STOP PRINTING STANDARD.”

This was during the period when the PNC government controlled every export item through its several institutions, and newsprint was only obtainable through the Guyana National Trading Corporation (GNTC).

The article outlined the pressure being brought to bear on the printer to stop printing the “Catholic Standard” and states in the concluding paragraphs as follows:

&When in mid-1978 Angal’s Printery agreed to print the Standard, after the Guyana National Newspapers had refused to print it any longer, Angal’s was a thriving job-printing business. Now it has no paper to fill the many orders it receives, while other printers continue to receive their quotas.

&The pressure put on Angal’s is yet another attempt to suppress the Standard. The denial of the facilities of the government-owned printery, which had been afforded by the “Chronicle” for many years before it was acquired by the government, caused a reduction in the size of the paper.

&Difficulty in obtaining bond paper caused a reduction in the number of pages.

&Now pressure is being brought to stop the printing of the paper altogether.”

The atrocities committed against the Mirror newspaper and independent journalists by the PNC government, as well as other opponents, which included imprisonment and murder, is well-documented and needs no elucidation within this limited space.

Members of the Roman Catholic fraternity, the “Catholic Standard” and the “Stabroek News” once represented the voice of truth and reason. They fought relentlessly, at great risk to their operatives, for the restoration of democracy in this country and once advocated uncompromising adherence to law and order.

Their advocacy for truth and justice was once impeccably unprejudicial; but today Catholic priests and editors of the “Stabroek News” have become vocal, and have even teamed up with opportunistic forces to support someone who continuously breaks the law, someone who continually distorts the truth, someone who uses the medium he owns to viciously malign all and sundry, someone who fabricates “proof,” – all under the guise of freedom of expression.

Under the laws of Guyana, anyone who threatens a person with physical injury is guilty of threatening behaviour; anyone who threatens a person in such a manner that can cause, or is likely to cause a breach of the peace is also guilty of an offence; anyone who issues a threat to another person so as to cause that person reasonable fear or the apprehension of the infliction of a battery is guilty of an assault.

If that person is a president or a king then it becomes a treasonable offence – punishable by death.

Even touching someone without his or her consent is considered battery – an offence punishable by law.

The President interacts with the citizens of this country in close encounters – even to hugging and touching.

But for him to continue to do so without fear of imminent danger, which is ever-existent, given the support to lawless behaviour by irresponsible elements – and the encouragement this elicits in ignorant minds, there has to be the recognition within the public arena that there are consequences to threatening the person of the President, or encouraging others to do so, or else absolute anarchy will prevail – with all its inherent dangers.

From murdering a minister of the Government to assassinating a president is just a step away, and there is constant strategizing by evil forces to topple this Government, by fair means or foul.

Rwanda is one case in point that is a glaring example of what unchecked excesses in the media can provoke.

During the elections of l992, right here in Guyana, two radio announcers erroneously announced over the airwaves that ballot boxes were being stolen and as a result caused countrywide riots and a storming of the elections office.

They almost succeeded in their intent to derail the first free-and-fair elections after decades in this country.

Mr. C.N. Sharma can, with some degree of reason, argue that he curtailed the call and chastised the caller for threatening the person and the life of the President of Guyana.

But that same argument convicts him for re-broadcasting that threat – not once, which again could be termed a mistake to the credulous, but several times, for which offence only a fool or an opportunist with an agenda can absolve him.

I once lauded and supported Mr. C.N. Sharma, because when he established CNS 12 he had pioneered many laudable things and changed the equation in the electronic medium to include programmes more pertinent to the interests of Guyanese.

I also know of many good things Mr. Sharma and Mrs Savitri Singh have done in their personal capacities to assist people in need.

Rescuing the musicians from the Jeetendra tour and supporting them for weeks when their promoter abandoned them is a case in point.

However, since he decided to enter politics, Mr. Sharma has allowed himself to be used by anyone with a beef, disregarding the credibility factor, and has thus caused much anguish to many innocent persons.

Many times he has also exploited circumstances and situations that are subject to the gravitational pull of the psycho-socio and economic dynamics of any society and has exacerbated the situation until it assumed, or was catalysed through his histrionics, into catastrophic proportions.

Like many Guyanese, I once had great respect and liking for Mr. C.N. Sharma, but this has eroded over the years because his sincerity has become open to question, and one wonders if he genuinely cares about the people he purports to assist or if his once genuine caring has become subsumed by his political aspirations, which seem, evidentially, to be the equation within the motivational framework guiding his current actions.

He admits to knowing that threatening the life of anyone is an offence, and while he may argue that he was not responsible for the first call, he is absolutely culpable for the subsequent re-broadcasts; which makes him guilty of threatening the life of the President of the Republic of Guyana – which is a treasonable offence punishable by death. In another jurisdiction Mr. Sharma would have been instantly arrested and put on trial.

Instead he was courteously invited by the Office of the President to discuss the matter, which he rejected, with the sanction of the courts at that; so a matter that could have been amicably resolved snowballed into a public fracas.

This continuum of open breaches of the law was subsequently supported by opportunistic public figures who have appointed themselves the conscience of the nation and this begs the question: Is the President of Guyana not allowed the right of any ordinary citizen of this country to be protected by the laws of the land?

For all of those who argue that this sanction of Channel 6 is too harsh for a threat that could very well catalyze an attempt on the President’s life if allowed unchecked and unpunished, what would be your reaction if the President is actually harmed because a serious message has not been sent that the laws of the land are applicable to all and that threatening someone’s life – President or pauper, is an offence punishable by law?

One media operative who spoke against Sharma’s actions, although his cleverly constructed diatribes against the PPP/Civic Government is legend, has a personal axe to grind against Sharma, because even while he criticizes Sharma, he attacks other programmes that defend the Government and its functionaries against just such irresponsible accusations that are aired on CNS 6 and other television stations.

However, another ferocious critic of the Government, Opposition M.P. Anthony Vieira, should be commended for his objective position and for putting the entire charade in the right perspective, especially given the fact that Vieira has himself used excessive language and pontificated on erroneous assumptions against the Government in the past.

The fact is that Vieira has successfully and amicably interacted in joint initiatives with those he has often judged and misjudged toward the promotion of good governance through the parliamentary committees, and it redounds to his credit that he can be fair in his analysis when he is in possession of all the facts.

Kudos to him because he has proven that he is no yes-man.

The President acted as a statesman should. He rapped Sharma on the knuckles and absolved him from facing the full force of the law.

However, in considering that Mr. Sharma is using the President’s magnanimous ruling as an excuse to grandstand, as he is wont to do, along with his many cohorts in the opposition, which includes a hostile press body, the President should withdraw his ruling in the interest of peace in the nation, and for the sake of the CNS 6 employees, whose livelihoods have been jeopardized through no fault of their own, and let an objective court – possibly the Caribbean Court of Justice, deal with what is perceived as a seditious act, because in these prevailing times, even the lawmakers have become the lawbreakers - witness many in the legal fraternity - and parliamentarians, who make the laws in Guyana, but who are openly supportive of illegal actions and criminal elements in the society, as well as others who make open prejudicial rulings and who consequently cannot be trusted to be objective in the course of administering their professional responsibilities.

I am defending neither the President nor the Government. I hold brief for neither, but I am concerned about the downward spiral of my country into amoral and immoral – even subversive and unpatriotic behaviour, because the one irrefutable fact that is evident from this entire episode is that ours has become a very lawless society, and that the fallout from such lawlessness is corroding the soul of the nation.
Parvati Persaud-Edwards

Saturday, May 3, 2008

False marginalisation claims are inciting anti-Indian violence

False marginalisation claims are inciting anti-Indian violence
Freddie Kissoon is so blinded by his perceived dictatorial practices of the PPP that he cannot see the negative spin offs, and incitement to anti Indian violence, brought about by his lopsided claims. The adage applies -There is none as blind as he who would not see. By claiming that the PPP Regime is worse than the dictatorship of the PNC, Freddie has made some very distasteful incongruous comparisons, which belies his academic pursuits.

I now challenge him to take a short sabbatical from the media battle front, and have a quick look at the ill effects of his tirades on the Government and people at large. Of late, it seems that Freddie has allowed his obsessive disdain for the PPP to cloud his reason and academic approach to analyzing the effects of his attacks in the wider picture. His attacks are void of true introspection, and as he points his index finger at the PPP, three others are pointing back to him. The Ethnic Relations Commission should review his articles in the light of racial and inciting journalism.

In his tirades, Freddie has now openly joined the ranks of David Granger, Hamilton Green, Oliver Hinckson, Tacuma Ogunseye, Elijah Bijay, Debra Backer, C. Ellis, David Hinds, McAllister and others, all of whom directly or indirectly, justify violence as the medium of their desired change. In his blindness, without even realising it, he has also unwittingly aligned himself with Kean Gibson, the very woman he once castigated for her skewed thesis on Indian Caste System. It seems that all of the gunslingers above are ganging up against the democratically elected government.

This is reminiscent of Burnham’s violent moves to oust the PPP in sixties, launching the X13 Plan and later the kick-down-the door banditry. They have degenerated today into daily fuelling the fire of the late Desmond Hoyte’s mantra of making the country ungovernable. They are adding to Slow Fyah and Mo Fyah, letting loose Hoyte’s Dogs or War in justifying wanton murders in the nation. Freddie et al are loading the guns of their Resistance Fighters only to have these disenchanted unemployed criminals pull the triggers.

He seems satisfied and proud to incense the minority African Guyanese to believe the PPP, and by extension Indians in Guyana, are marginalising them. However, a brief review of the various security and service organisations of the PPP Government today would reveal an almost complete African domination, and dispel every claim of African marginalisation in the context of Freddie’s et al claim.

Freddie’s incitements also move the very meager number of African dropouts/underachievers, who feel affected (compared to the majority) to take vengeance, not only on the Government, but also on the ordinary people of Guyana, mainly Indians. Is Freddie Kissoon trying to absolve himself from the fact that he is an Indian columnist by attacking the PPP and Indians, or is he sucking up to the newly formed AFC, pretending he is not race conscious? In seeking to be politically correct, Freddie does not ever seem to want to give the impression that he is of Indian descent. His entire claim to be Guyanese does not remove the fact that in the eyes of the Afro Guyanese and all that he is still Indian.

Obviously, Freddie has forgotten, or because he did not live in Wismar or Mahaicony during the turbulent sixties, when the PNC put together their notorious terrorist X13 Plan in May 1963, headed by Burnham, Green, Reid and Chippy Graham X13. The X13 Plan was unleashed on Indians May 23 to 26 1964 in Wismar. Recently, one writer enquired about the X13 Plan. He should visit Guyana Journal website at

He may not have lost a wife, sister, brother, father, mother or very close relative in the race violence then and now, to understand the plight of the extended families, the neighbours and friends of bereaved Indians throughout our history. Such were/are the spin-offs of anti-Indian violence that Freddie conveniently refuses to grapple with. Nevertheless, Freddie wrote a lot of the Buxton based Resistance Fighters in this decade and their blockade of the East Coast (Enterprise, Annandale , Non Pariel, Lusignan and LBI,) with the wanton massacre of Indians. Now his incitements are unconscionable. The gross ill effects of Freddie’s self-opinionated criticisms of the PPP Government are helping to bolster and justify these minority opponents of the Government in a very violent way.

I must conclude that these negative attacks are stirring up a certain kind of ire in the hearts of the wrong people; unemployed people, very easily co-opted and manipulated by sophisticated political leaders, trained and motivated by certain known ex Army Officers all of whom claimed to be marginalised. Here are men who were fed, housed and clothed at tax payers’ expense throughout their military careers, now claiming marginalisation.

Dr. Prem Misir, Dr Randy Persaud and several columnists have already shot down the unfounded claims of marginalisation of Afro Guyanese as a single ethnic group. The ERC report is out and the picture is not what these shortsighted claimants are painting.

Freddie’s reference to the few Indo-Guyanese who served in the PNC Government, could not gloss over the evils of the marginalisation of thousands of others at large under the PNC dictatorship. The PNC did not recruit many Indians, whom Freddie would have us believe were in the Public Service. Those he glibly mentioned were in many ways indispensable to the function of their offices. Their immediate removal would have meant chaos to their Offices.

The PNC inherited most of these cadres in a well-oiled Public Service, from the British in 1966, with very many efficient Indian Public Servants (not all supporters of the PPP) in key positions. Yet, soon as the PNC was entrenched in office in the seventies, they set about to replace thousands of Indians in the Public and Teaching Services, by terminations, redeployment, transfers into outlying areas, and denied promotion.

The PNC further removed the two tiers (Classified and Unclassified) structure in the Public Service. Immediately there was the freeze on PSC appointments of qualified candidates into positions. Only the unqualified cardholders from Congress Place got jobs. Freddie is mum about these atrocities. The Public Service became so corrupt that almost every operative expected a bribe for the functions carried out. Frauds became an almost daily scourge thereafter.

I was one (of over twelve experienced Indian Supply Management / Stores Accounting personnel) with nine years in International Procurement, whom the PNC regime removed from the Government Central Stores. An inexperienced Afro Guyanese replaced me. This ethnic cleansing orchestrated during one top one executive tenure at Ministry of Works, Hydraulics and Supply is scandalous. In a kind of Operation Clean-sweep, S.E. Troyer replaced Reggie Kishun as Chief Clerk of the Central Stores. Miss Kamala Persaud sent home, replaced by Miss Mc Lean at the Government Central Stationery Store.

G.T. Clarke was appointed Chief Supply Officer, Ian Bruce appointed Senior Supply Officer (Procurement) and Joe Lambert appointed Senior Supply Officer (Administration.) All three of the above superseded an Indo Guyanese (experienced former RAF Supply Officer) Robert Etwaroo, who was Supply Officer at the Government Supply Division for over twenty years. I had to report both Mr. Troyer to Mr. V. E. Kingston for dumping his Chief Clerk’s work, and Mr. Ian Bruce to G.T. Clarke for dumping all his functions (regarding Letters of Credit) onto my desk.

With none of these top appointees experienced enough to train new comers, G.T. Clarke, Chief Supply Officer, delayed my removal from Supply Division for six months. I had to train an Afro Guyanese to take over my functions. This is only the tip of the iceberg.

Herein the race card was clearly noticeable and not just the politics. Every time I wrote about the above, somehow my letter never reached the press.

In those days Patrick Yarde was Shop Steward of the PSU, based at Ministry of Works, yet not one single word of protest over the ethnic cleansing that took place hit the Press. However, if this current (PPP) regime attempts to discipline any Public Servant for wrongdoing, the entire Public Service Union comes out in strike action. The Customs Officers fiasco in Main Street is a salient case in point.

Do not forget the widely documented brain drain began in earnest since the sixties. On the foregoing real marginalisation and dictatorial policies, Freddie and his strange bedfellows can find no parallel.
Seopaul Singh
(Twenty-two years in the Guyana Public Service)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Freddie the shoplifter? Government for all Guyanese

Government for all Guyanese
I challenge the likes of Robert Corbin, ACDA, Eric Phillips, Rickford Burke, Debra Carter, Karen Jack and Kean Gibson and all those who are peddling their lies of African Guyanese Marginalisation to tell me and the world that this EX-Soldier, a supporter of PNC is wrong, and that he is a racist.

Eric Phillips, you said you didn't get what you asked this Government for because you submitted names and they asked for photos to substantiate the names you submitted.

Therefore you were marginalised.

What a shame.

Phillips, travel to another country without your photo on your passport. Just tell the airport authorities you are Eric Phillips from ACDA. And see what happens.

I am willing to bet my last dollar you will be marginalised at the airport too because you won’t be getting on any flight without your photo on your passport.

Phillips you said that was your last letter---evidence of Kaieteur news dated April 28,08.

You bet it had been your last attempt to talk about something that you have no knowledge about.

Come again with better facts of African Guyanese Marginalisation in Guyana by this Government.

This letter of the ex-soldier was in the Chronicle dated Monday April 28,08.

I dare any of the above mentioned names to dispute the facts stated by the ex-soldier.

So the case is closed because there is no proof from any of you of African Guyanese Marginalisation by this PPP/C Government.
It is called inclusive Government for all Guyanese.

We must ignore Kissoon’s childish tantrum
I am not in favour of long drawn out attacks in the media on persons in our society. When there is a problem, we should study it carefully and objectively and then determine the root cause. In the analysis for the root cause, we will, more than likely, discover that it is either a flawed policy or a flawed interpretation that resulted in the initial problem, real or imaginary.

I am beginning to get tired of the constant undeserved attention being paid to Mr. Kissoon.

Why are we so bent out of shape over this individual? I guess I found a partial answer today while reading his letter in another of our newspapers. Here’s a quote, “Funny how they saw bad government when a different group ruled Guyana in the seventies and eighties. Now their type is in control, and they are silent about identical forms of bad government. Mr. Benschop was put in prison for five years. Mr. Waddell was assassinated. Mr. Hinckson is now in remand. If Burnham had done all of that, they would have roamed the earth denouncing him.

There is no flawed policy working here. This is a flawed soul. While I am no expert at psychoanalysis, it is very apparent to me that this, Mr. Kissoon is longing for recognition and power. He, I am convinced, knows that reporting progress is boring and will not get him the attention he craves. Therefore, he concludes, he must put some spice in the pot – whether this is irresponsible or dishonest is not relevant.

In his bid to be recognised he pulls out the race card and – what a laugh - defends Forbes Burnham in the same breadth. My good Lord! Who allows such a crocodile to shed his tears in a newspaper?

He said he was fighting the Burnham government. I wonder what was his disagreement with that government.

Now he finds a problem with the police for arresting and charging people, suspected of committing crimes under the law. In the same letter, he even implies that the government is responsible for the death of Mr. Waddle.

Mr. Kissoon, it’s not a question of “If Burnham had done all of that…”. If you are a disciplined and objective observer and if you were one that fought the PNC government you would not have made such a silly statement. You would have known about the destruction in Georgetown and the ethnic cleansing in Mackenzie / Wismar that was perpetrated by the PNC. You want to talk race, let’s talk about the real racists.

My fellow Guyanese and readers of our newspapers, I suggest that we politely ignore the childish tantrum that Mr. Kissoon displays in his articles and letters. He is like George Bush. He will say the craziest things because he has little or no respect for his audience. That, my friends, is the doings of a sick mind. In turn, we should sympathise with him and try to help him – but please, we cannot help him by paying more attention to his sick rantings.

Freddie must tell the people about the big coat in Summer
Frederick Kissoon replied (27 April) to my letter which asked him to desist from making references to me in his writings. As an aside, I also asked him to take a good look in the mirror and try to recognise and come to terms with his abominable activities in Canada which contributed to his failure.

Apparently, this prolific writer does not understand plain English. Instead, what I see is that the cuss bud has returned injured and enraged, this time cussing me together with the whole neighborhood even louder! His “immense resentment” is intensified.

And for what? Because we live and work in “postmodern environments with better toilet facilities” rather than return to Guyana. Well sir, the truth is that Kissoon wanted to continue living in these postmodern environments and use these toilet facilities but failed to make it. Apparently, he could not meet the moral and intellectual standards of maturity and integrity that are required to succeed in these environments. He failed because of his academic incompetence and other uncivilised activities. All of these are deep rooted.

Big-coat Kissoon was a well known student book seller in Toronto . He said he looked in the mirror. Did he see Big-coat Kissoon? Even in summer, this infamous book dealer wore his big coat when he went “shopping”. Have another look in the mirror Frederick, and then devise another way to explain to your family, your students at UG, the whole Guyana, and the diplomatic corps reading KN what the reason was for your big coat.

Or, would you rather try to hide by cussing down the whole neighbourhood again for being “bad people, flawed people, unfair people, powerful people, selfish people, unjust people, exploitative people”? Man, I’ve got to be honest. Dr. Thakur was spot on about your serious Freudian problems. This is a model case of displacement.

The last time it was infantile sexual anxieties relating to Kissoon’s “immense resentment” for the Father figure with better toilet facilities. Freud traced this complex of anxieties to penis envy. Look it up in your Psych. Dic. Freddie and you will see yourself and know yourself.

And seriously Mr. Editor, Frederick Kissoon needs a holiday, a long one, for he has outlived his purpose at KN. Like so many times before, he has again failed. After more than a decade of writing, he has nothing to show for it. He has failed to bring about the violent destabilisation of the elected government of Guyana or to make a good case to cover his tracks.

To Kissoon, I say, frankly, you mash the wrong man corn! Stop hounding people everywhere for freeness. Get a job you think you can be good at and ease up on cussing the neighborhood. It doesn’t work! Dedicate yourself instead to learning the refined arts of living a balanced life.
But, most of all, please don’t wear the Big coat in Guyana. Guyanese, as you said, are poor enough.
KMUT, Thailand

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Rickford Burke’s Dangerous Path of Perception; Where is Marginalization?

Where is Marginalization?
Part 4 – A Rejoinder
By Prem Misir
LET me say for the umpteenth time that our findings on marginalization focused on only one type of marginalization, social marginalization; and social marginalization has to do with examining the levels of ethnic participation in the occupational structure.

And in multiethnic societies, knowing the ethnic demographics is a prerequisite for appropriate policy formulation and good governance. Policies have to touch the lives of all of a country's citizens, and no citizen should be left behind. And so knowing the status of various ethnic groups, especially in the occupational structure, would facilitate better planning and execution of effective programs for the good of all Guyanese.

Over the past few weeks, I have been presenting findings addressing the ethnic distribution of participation in the public service. These findings have generated a huge response; but there was one personal attack from Rickford Burke of the Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy in New York City. But I take whatever comes in good stead, as all this goes with the terrain whether you are in academia or in some other public sphere.
And how about if our findings on ethnic distribution had shown that Africans are not marginalized, would the critics then say that this ethnic distribution is meaningless? Then if by chance, these findings do show that Africans are marginalized, then these findings would have received great accolades. And so this is the nature of the beast that permeates the critics' responses to our findings on marginalization.

I, however, would advise the Burkes of this world that personal attacks merely bring very superfluous, phony short-term gains, but have no sustainable capacity. Our findings are very significant for policy-making measures where we must continue to push for a better quality of life for all Guyanese.

And how about if our findings on ethnic distribution had shown that Africans are not marginalized; would the critics then say that this ethnic distribution is meaningless? Then if by chance, these findings do show that Africans are marginalized, then these findings would have received great accolades. And so this is the nature of the beast that permeates the critics' responses to our findings on marginalization.

The crime I seemingly may have committed, in the critics' eyes, is to release findings on the ethnic distribution of participation in the public service, and which is part of a larger study since 2002; and these findings show that many Africans are well-placed occupationally. These findings also are true of Indians, Amerindians, Mixed, and Others. However, all the responses have focused only on Africans.

However, I did not measure whether or not these well-placed Africans are tokens, are micromanaged, or are controlled by other people; and so I cannot say that they are micromanaged, or controlled. But what I can say is that they occupy senior positions. At any rate, telling a senior African manager who is not a token that he/she is a token, may very well be an insult to that person's intelligence.

But the critics all seem to conclude that well-placed Africans are marginalized, in that they are micromanaged, are tokens, or controlled by other people. Well, these critics would have to provide evidence that Africans in senior positions really are tokens, or controlled by others; this they have not done; capricious examples will not do. What yardsticks or what measures the critics apply to determine their conclusion that Africans are marginalized, or that Africans are in office and not in power. At least, I have presented evidence on the ethnic distribution of participation in the public service.

The critics need to understand, too, that we are presenting findings on only one type of marginalization, social marginalization; and social marginalization has to do with examining the levels of participation in the occupational structure.

Some critics seem confused about the distinction between marginalization and discrimination; they are not the same. And it is common knowledge that in a multiethnic society wherever marginalization prevails, it tends to touch all ethnic groups.

Again the critics seem confused about risk factors for marginalization and marginalization itself. Significant risk factors for marginalization include poverty, unemployment, sickness, physical disability. But risk factors are not forms of marginalization and their presence should not be equated with marginalization. In fact, experiencing social or/economic disadvantage is not necessarily marginalization.

Marginalization is a process, not a condition; and so the individual can experience marginalization in some parts of the life cycle and not in other parts.

This means that it may be hard to differentiate between voluntary and involuntary marginalization; cases may exist where an individual makes a voluntary choice that may involuntarily produce marginalization; or where an individual makes progressive adaptations to his marginalized status and sees the experience as acceptable.

Marginalization involves exclusion from participation in some areas of society. It is important to note that marginalization in one area of social life does not necessarily produce marginalization in others. Simmel, a German Sociologist, explains that marginalization is incomplete participation.

Rickford Burke's Dangerous Path of Perception
Real Data Fail to Support Marginalization
By Dr Tara Singh
IN politics in particular, "perception" is even more powerful than reality. Some critics like Rickford Burke who readily embrace perception and racism have also shown a penchant to unleash them with reckless abandon. Neither caring for authenticity nor the rigors of sound scholarship, and ready to trample on morality, people like Burke operate in a world of illusion, but not without moving aggressively to sway others into their concocted realm of distortions and innuendos. While established science and religion have "truth" as their core principle, that is anathema to them. Accepting the truth will not only mean a massive transformation, but also, lead to the crumbling of their beloved fate of racism.

It's the pursuit of truth that will eventually set us free; no matter how great may be our temporary advantage. Radical perceptionists aim to keep us in darkness, a situation where the blind leads the blind. They continue to bombard us with distortions. And if we are weak, we buckle under their relentless pressure. If we are strong enough, their mission collapses. And how do we become strong? By seeking the truth! The IT (information technology) revolution has endowed us with an infrastructure capable of enhancing our knowledge and wisdom that can eventually tear down the walls of darkness, and erect instead, a fortress of enlightenment. In this way, we can bring their misguided journey to a halt.

The truth must never become a casualty of expediency. We recognize that it carries a high price in the short run, but such sacrifice will pay enormous dividends later. Let's be guided in our deliberations and actions by the scientific method, as well as, by the moral compass of our spiritualism. While there are instances when some type of perception may turn into the truth, more often than not, it remains just perception, and loaded with undesirable connotations. Our challenge, therefore, is never to allow perception to be a substitute for truth.

What's the practical application of this approach, for example, to the social situation in Guyana? Some say that President Bharrat Jagdeo and his PPP/C government represent an "ethnocracy." What's the meaning of this, in layman terms? It's a government of one ethnic group that is also a dictatorship. This is a classic case of perception or falsehood. President Jagdeo and his government were duly elected at fair and free elections. They did not rig the elections, as previous PNCR governments had done. In addition, the Jagdeo government contains 50% non-Indians, compared with the Patrick Manning PNM government of Trinbago that has less than 20% of Indians. If there is a dictator in a CARICOM country, then look to Trinbago, and not to Guyana. Yet, our critics including Rickford Burke conveniently ignore this situation and embrace Manning and his government, especially when Burke recently dispatched a letter to Manning describing the evils of the Jagdeo government and siding with the Manning administration; clearly, the logic here points to Rickford Burke as a racist.

President Jagdeo has shown a remarkable capacity to cross ethnic boundaries. It is known that the PNCR government presided over the economic collapse of the bauxite mining town at Linden, and that it is the Jagdeo administration that has infused it with new life. It's no wonder that the PPP/C won a Parliamentary seat for the first time at Linden (a former stronghold of the PNCR), something which the critics had failed to perceive. The PPP/C won a sizeable number of Afro-Guyanese votes at Linden and elsewhere in the country.

By the pursuit of sound policies and "inclusionary" measures, the Bharrat Jagdeo government has even made greater inroads into interior communities, the once traditional strongholds of the TUF and the PNCR. But the process of "enlightenment" that sweeps across the country has not left the Amerindian communities untouched. In gratitude, they delivered, for the first time, a number of Parliamentary seats to the PPP/C. And how can we forget about President Jagdeo's recent appointment of Ms Carolyn Rodriguez, an Amerindian, to the high-profile position of Minister of Foreign Affairs! What ethnocracy are they talking about? Are they using marginalization as a surrogate for exclusion from Cabinet-level power? "Rickford Burke, snap out of your dream, Burnham and Hoyte are no longer there."

Rickford Burke, a PNCR activist, desperately fighting for Robert Corbin's position, now a so-called democratic guru of the worst kind, and a bitter critic of the Jagdeo administration, has launched a scathing attack on Dr Prem Misir. Again, the basis of his argument is grounded in perception and innuendos. "Prem Misir, the Pro-Chancellor of the University of Guyana, continually demonstrates his proclivities for blatant partisan politics, which manifest Guyana's ruling People's Progressive Party's (PPP) philosophy of racism. His prejudices are openly and recklessly promulgated by pen in the daily media, as he enmeshes himself into his party's ethnocratic politics and promotes their nefarious propaganda as the State apparatus' misinformation czar."

This type of incendiary outburst by Rickford Burke is not scholarship, but a sordid attempt to demonize an outstanding Guyanese, one who rose from the sugar plantations to become the Pro-Chancellor of UG. The "racist" epithet better fits Rickford Burke and not Dr Misir, who has shown a capacity in his writings with seven (7) books to his credit and several research studies and articles, as well as, in his life to rise above racism.

And Burke claims, too, that Misir is exploiting the gowns of academia to dispense partisan politics. The University of Guyana (UG) has several senior academics and administrators who are clearly aligned with various political parties, and blatantly dole out partisanship. And let it be known that there is no such thing as a class of literati at this UG, who has the capability and integrity to recognize anyone for scholarship. No one in academia at the present UG could merit recognition as a scholar; and their political leanings are astounding.

Don't confuse Dr Misir's disdain for PNCR politics with racism. To some people, to criticize the PNCR is tantamount to become a racist. Don't "pull down" Dr Misir because he is bold enough to show via research that Afro-Guyanese have not been marginalized by the PPP/C, as claimed frequently by critics. Upon what evil and racist road is Rickford Burke's one-man Guyana Caribbean Institute for Democracy sliding?

Let's examine the notion of marginalization. At the level of the Permanent Secretary, both Indo and Afro are fairly well represented. However, Afro-Guyanese hold an advantage in all other senior administrative and executive positions, such as, Deputy Permanent Secretaries, Principal Assistant Secretaries, Assistant Secretaries, Accountant Heads, and Senior Personnel Officers. "There is an evolving ethnic mix in the hierarchy of control throughout the Public Service," says Dr Misir.

Most Heads of Nursery, Primary, and Secondary Schools, are Afro-Guyanese. Only at the Primary level do Indo-Guyanese show competitiveness with Afro-Guyanese for Headships. Under the PNC/R regime, 70% of Afro-Guyanese were Regional Education Officers (REDOs). In 2006, Afro-Guyanese constituted 55% and Indo-Guyanese 45% of REDOs. There is a disproportionate number of Afro-Guyanese over Indo-Guyanese academic staff at the University of Guyana. "The ethnic imbalance among academics is astounding -- 22% of Indo-Guyanese, as opposed to, 67% of Afro-Guyanese that occupy faculty positions." Only in the Natural Sciences, is there any competitiveness in staff allocation.

Again, there are data in other areas of public life to refute the thesis of Afro-Guyanese marginalization. Between 1992 and 2002, for example, over 70,000 house lots were distributed to Guyanese, of which 29,287 were allotted to Indo-Guyanese and 25,810 to Afro-Guyanese in the 10 regions. This equitable distribution holds good also for Afro-Guyanese and Indo-Guyanese in the Education State Boards, as well as, other State Boards (Source: Where is Marginalization, Part 2 by Dr Prem Misir).

Having reviewed these data, we are puzzled to understand why these critics still speak about ethnic "marginalization." Was marginalization a concept ever developed during the Burnham era? If so, why wasn't it applied then to the social conditions of Guyana? Critics seemed to be more concerned about preserving the "rights" of a few, who had stolen power, rather than with the pursuit of the truth. Perhaps, if they dared, they would have been liquidated! For other critics, their time had come, and accountability was less important than enjoying the trappings of office.

The PPP/C government inherited a grave problem that they never created. Economic collapse, a huge foreign debt, double digit inflation, high interest rates, negative foreign reserves, and a battered population who managed to survive, but were left hopeless by years of PNCR tyranny. For 28 years, the PNC/R had been unable to lift the Guyanese people (Afro-Guyanese, Indo-Guyanese, Amer-Guyanese, and Others) out of poverty and despair, and brought them instead to economic ruins. Yet the same critics had failed to chastise the PNCR government for their ineptitude.

Over the succeeding 15 years (1992-2008), was it reasonable to have expected the PPP/C to pull Guyanese out of that abyss of despair into which they were hurled? While most of the available evidence is positive, we must indicate here that most Guyanese are not yet happy with the fight against crime and corruption. The failure to capture the notorious Buxton Rawlins' gang, despite massive injection of assets into the army and police, and other law enforcement agencies, still leaves Guyanese baffled. Will this gang be ever apprehended? Will the infusion of additional capital assets into the Police Force in particular necessarily lead to attitudinal transformation? Will this help to change the "culture" of the police?

On the positive side, inflation is in single digits; the national debt is less than

US$700 M; there is a healthy foreign reserve; growth is positive; and never before in the history of the country had there been a more inclusive governing structure than presently. In the absence of shared governance, inclusive governance is a step ahead of the Westminster Parliamentary model.

The government can do much better if only it gets the support of the PNCR and other opposition elements. Distortions and the spreading of fear hurt everyone. Poverty and unemployment exist, but these cannot be equated with marginalization, which is a conscious policy to leave defined groups behind in the process of development based on colour or ethnicity. No one believes that the PPP/C government is engaged in this deprecatory practice.

Let's continue to bring alleged cases of racial discrimination to the Ethnic Relations Commission for adjudication. And yes, let's stop peddling false information, and work together to build our country. More than ever, Guyana needs builders and not destroyers.