Obsession that may end in tragedy

January 6, 2013 | By | Filed Under Features / Columnists, Freddie Kissoon 

Let me apologize upfront for the little boasting that will follow in a few lines below. There may never be another incident at the University of Guyana where the policy-making body named the Council of the University will arrogate to itself the pomposity to terminate the appointment of lecturers, whether one, two or ten, without any input from any section of the University, without even a vague complaint from some section of the University and without giving that individual or lecturers the right to a hearing.
I believe that was my contribution to my country in 2012. I paid the price but my sacrifice will forever resound in the hallways of UG. The days of the Council taking upon itself the privilege to terminate lecturers’ contracts without a complaint being made or the granting of a hearing and without any consultation with the Vice Chancellor are over. They say never say never, but that will never happen again. One of the reasons is that in the very near future, UG’s governing structures will be overhauled to prevent the Council from preserving such arrogance.
The past year has seen an even darker side to this country. I had a chat with my daughter about eminent people and how we show respect to them. They only deserve respect when they respect themselves.
I had that conversation with her after I saw the performance of Dr Compton Bourne, the Chancellor of UG in 2012. This was supposed to be a distinguished professor of economics of the Caribbean, the Head of the Caribbean Development Bank at the time and most of all, one of a select few who possess the Order of Excellence, the highest honour of this land. There was nothing excellent or distinguished in his performance as UG Chancellor.
I ended the chat with my daughter with the reminder that she must not judge a person by his or her popularity and achievements but what that person is essentially made of. I told her of the statement by George Bernard Shaw; “A man should be judged not by what he says he is but what he is” and the caveat that when it comes to self-interest some eminent, honoured persons will not think twice about endangering their credibility once their self-interest is served.
Look who turned up at Mr. Jagdeo’s Day of Celebration in 2011. Some of the names were of distinguished people who didn’t care about their own names so why should others show respect to them?
I almost lost my life in 2012. At the stroke of midnight, I left the People’s Parliament on High Street, crossed to the National Assembly to get into my car parked outside Demico only to be attacked by a man beating me with his fist on my head only. Nothing came out of it despite a car load of police outside my gate for three consecutive days wanting to have a statement from me.
In 2012, I finally took the stand in the libel case brought against me by then President Jagdeo. He said publicly in 2010 that he was looking forward to his day in court but he closed his case without telling the judge in what ways he was libeled and how he felt about being libeled.
I took the stand and presented my research which was the assertion of my right as an academic to make analysis. But also on the stand I produced my research that power in Guyana has always been exercised to favour one ethnic group over the other. For any trained mind to deny that is to reject commonsense.
If anything, a baby in Guyana sees soon after he/she opens his/her eyes that our country since the forties has been terribly divided by race instincts perpetuated by serving governments that are bound up with ethnic communities.
In 2012, I was spared a jail term. Juan Edghill through Mr. Ashton Chase filed a writ so worded that once the judge found me guilty I had to be sent to prison. The judge ruled against Mr. Chase. My saddest moment in 2012 was the hangover I carried about the way my wife was treated in 2011 by the Government. I think I may not recover from that in 2013.
If you know my wife you would like her. She is devoid of any instinct of malice and carries no grudge against anyone, be it PNC, PPP etc.
There was this maddening curiosity I had in 2012 and for which I consulted many close people whose opinion I value. I can name some of them but will not repeat their responses. After my UG contract was terminated a mere five months before its expiration, I asked my Dean why he thought the rulers could not wait for just five more months. I asked Dale Andrews for his opinion of this obsession and Gerhard Ramsaroop of the AFC.
I e-mailed Nigel Hughes who was away on family matters requesting an analysis from him. The PPP and its government have an obsession with me that makes me fear for my life.
Why this obsession by the Leviathans with a mere columnist? Please note that I am not the owner of a media house or even the editor of one? I do not belong to any opposition party and have no seat in Parliament. Why the hounding down of me to include even my wife? And there was a situation with my nephew? This was life in 2012 of which I definitely feared that someone wanted to hurt me and I knew where that desire resided. I hope I live to see out 2013. But 13 is an unlucky number.

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