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Jul 04, 2008 Features / Columnists, Freddie Kissoon
Someone came up to me on Regent Street on Tuesday afternoon and referred to my Tuesday Kaieteur News page.
He made an interesting observation. Before we get into that, my Tuesday piece looked at the optimistic and exaggerated statement by the Guyana Times that Guyana has brilliant politicians with vision who are changing the country.
The Regent Street visitor asked a curious question – why didn’t the Times have the courage to name these brilliant politicians. I didn’t think about it when I wrote my Tuesday viewpoint. The guy is right.
The Guyana Times is pro-Government, unashamedly so. Why could it not have named a few personalities in the Guyana Government that are the superb ones whose visionary leadership is changing Guyana?
The term “brilliant politicians” is a vague one. Guyana has hundreds of politicians. The Times refused to go even in the direction of saying “brilliant politicians in charge,” or “brilliant politicians in power,” or “brilliant politicians in the government.” Instead it resorted to a general term – brilliant politicians. How do you explain this?
There are four daily newspapers. Then you have the weekly Mirror. An extremely sordid affair has emerged in these five newspapers but more important is the reason for this perversity.
When the week is over there are about 67 letters in those five newspapers combined that heap tremendous praise on the Government and not one, I repeat, not one is written by a real person.
It is a weird situation that is not seen elsewhere in the world. Here is my account of how I arrive at 67. For the Kaieteur News and Stabroek News, I would put two a day for each paper giving you a total of 28 weekly.
The Chronicle carries five a day giving you a weekly turnout of 35. The Mirror has four. The Times is yet to have its factory of nameless fans.
If those fictional composers add the Times to their list, this country will see about 80 weekly missives done by people without real names.
Of course you do have some real life people writing on behalf of the government like the PYO head or someone from the women’s arm of the ruling party.
But they do their thing occasionally. About 99 percent of the letters are done by persons who hide behind a fictional name. Why is this so?
The PPP has been in existence for over 60 years and in charge of Guyana for sixteen years since 1992. Against that background, why invent a factory of penname composers?
Can’t the PPP and the Government of Guyana find real people out there who work with the Government or with the private sector and who are not ashamed to put their signature to a correspondence in the newspapers that sings songs of praise to Mr. Jagdeo and his Cabinet?
Mr. Jagdeo himself made an appeal last week in New York for people to openly defend his government. He called upon “decent people” to denounce the smear campaign against his administration, one that seeks to paint his rule with a racist brush. Obviously, if there were such voices, the President would not have asked for help.
There are, in fact, persons who denounce the anti-PPP detractors that describe Mr. Jagdeo’s regime as a racist one. But they belong to GINA and they use fictitious titles. How do you explain this refusal to identify with the Guyana Government? Why did the Guyana Times choose not to describe the President and his Cabinet as brilliant policymakers?
The Times was consciously aware that it would have been ridiculed in the media and in private conversations if it had specified the masterly geniuses in the country that are taking Guyana into the future.
Teachers, lawyers, doctors, civil servants, professionals, sugar workers, labourers, the self-employed, and other categories of employees are conscious that all the President’s men and the President himself are unpopular with the Guyanese people.
They refuse to publicly identify with the Government out of the fear that either they will be abused, mocked at, press to defend their position or just simply dismissed by their colleagues and their fellow citizens.
After writing a letter in the newspaper about the good things the PPP regime is doing, how does one defend the Government’s record when they meet their friends at a party or in the store or even at the lunch-room at the work place.
What do they say when confronted with wage increases that never go beyond seven percent, with rising corruption, with official protection of powerful figures who abuse women, with drug lords who seem to be invisible to the police in this land, with extraordinarily wealthy young men who the GRA is oblivious to; with a crime rate that scares every single citizen.
Which decent person is going to identify publicly with such a government?
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