One day, in last year, I saw an incredible article by Rickey Singh. I grew up as a little boy in Wortmanville knowing this popular journalist, Rickey Singh. My sister lived next to Singh at the corner of Hardina and Haley Streets.
Mr. Singh became a crusader for press freedom in the seventies. He had to run from Guyana when the Burnham Government dismissed him from the state owned Graphic bought over from a private company. He found exile in Barbados.
Mr. Singh, like a majority of Guyanese, including this commentator, offered its support to the new Cheddi Jagan Government. The country had had enough of PNC rule and was positively curious about the new government.
Mr. Singh, during his long years in Barbados, like David Dabydeen, became close to Mrs. Jagan. Through her instrumentality, he became a weekly columnist with the Chronicle. His pieces were thoroughly pro-government. Up to 2000, there was generally some sympathy for the PPP Government among the Guyanese people because of the July 1999 GPSU strikes, the deadly conflagration in the aftermath of the 2001 elections and the bloody happenings in Buxton.
By 2002, for some weird reason, which of course has to have a logical explanation, the PPP Government began to degenerate in terrible ways. The details of this transformation need not detain us here. Mr. Singh was perhaps one of the few persons who lived through the seventies that refused to see that Guyana’s 1992 historic elections didn’t result in a lasting democratic peace and that the PPP was no different from the PNC in terms of hogging power. I became a strident critic of Singh.
Having grown up in front of him in Wortmanville and admiring him for his courage, I no longer had any respect for him. Having said all of that, let us return to what I read from Singh one day.
He found that Mr. Jagdeo’s presidency was based on the maximum leader syndrome and he likened the style to the days in Guyana when the leader was coterminous with the society. It was a trenchant castigation of how power was being exercised.
It was analysis that many couldn’t believe when you thought of whom the author was -Rickey Singh of all people. Since October 1992, Mr. Singh was shamelessly pro-Government.
Then suddenly in 2008, he pens an eye-catching condemnation of how Mr. Jagdeo uses power When Singh wrote his maximum syndrome analysis, I took a look at the new image of Singh.
I titled the essay, “Rickey Singh shouts, ‘eureka’ “We now come to Harry Hergash.
Mr. Hergash is in his late sixties, early seventies (has to be if he said he was an employee during the disturbances in the early 1960s) and belongs to an association named, Guyana-Canada Forum in Toronto.
I was curious about several letters in the two independent dailies by Mr. Hergash fulminating against my columns for their consistent criticism of elected dictatorship in Guyana. I replied a couple of times, thanking Harry for reading my essays and also inquired of Harry if when he goes on the internet and selects Kaieteur News web page, if he doesn’t see things the Government is doing that he disagrees with. Harry never replied.
Well it seems Mr. Hergash, like Rickey Singh, is shouting “Eureka.” Harry wrote a letter in the Stabroek News (May 27) titled, “All Guyanese should be concerned about the Polar beer matter.” Harry used harsh words in his condemnation of the conspiracy, allocating some candid comments for the DPP.
Then Harry did something that made me nearly die. The shock was too great. I had a fit and almost never recovered. Harry sent another letter, this time on June 9 to the same newspaper. He opined that East Indians vote for the PPP because there is no credible alternative.
He seems to think that unless a good group turns up, the Indians may have no choice. Imagine this was the Harry Hergash that a year ago was a barefaced supporter of the PPP Government. Of course, like Rickey Singh, Harry couldn’t stand it anymore. The Polar Beer scandal was the last straw for Harry.
I don’t know which episode or incident or story or scandal or immorality caused Mr. Singh to pen his maximum leader syndrome. But over the past year, Mr. Singh has completely avoided even a sentence of praise for Mr. Jagdeo.
By the way, David Dabydeen was in Guyana for two weeks. When I called yesterday to get an interview, I was told he left the same day. Left without singing some praise? That’s interesting! Rickey, David and Harry are changing.
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I have been doing columns since 1988. I have been a major columnist with the Catholic Standard, Stabroek News, Kaieteur... more