I am writing this piece directly after speaking to a very important UWI professor who is in Guyana to take a look at the state of UG (obviously, I cannot tell readers what I told him, but readers of this column should know by now what is inside my blood) and Messrs. Neil Marks and Avery Gomes, both former journalists of the controversial new daily newspapers, Guyana Times.
I spoke to all three persons within the space of 90 minutes. And my emotions swung like a pendulum. Maybe there is hope for the reinvention of the University of Guyana. But maybe there is no hope for Guyana when you listen to Neil Marks and Avery Gomes.
Maybe there is no hope when you hear about a telephone call I got. I heard that Gomes was no longer at Guyana Times, and the reason for him not being there was no surprise to me, but it did raise my pessimism thermometer.
I called Marks for a comment on why Gomes was no longer at Guyana Times. Marks told me he doesn’t want to speak about Guyana Times at all. He observed that he has closed that chapter of his journalistic career, and would prefer not to be part of any news item, or column, or newspaper story involving the Guyana Times.
I then spoke to Gomes. He said that, after five months at Guyana Times, he thought that it was time to search for other endeavours.
I remarked that five months is surely a very short period to be at a paper for an editor to begin to think of other avenues. But he insisted that this was the way it happened. He said five months was enough at Guyana Times.
I put to him the controversy I heard from five of my colleagues in the media about a powerful figure getting annoyed about a story in the Guyana Times. But Gomes sticks to cautious words like glue on an envelope.
Funny how Neil Marks, who is now a journalist with Capitol News, could seek to ask other people to answer questions, but he refused those put to him.
I wonder what Enrico Woolford has to say about that. So, at his new job at Capitol News, does Marks ask newsmakers for a comment? I hope not. He does not deserve one.
Do people have to be hurt before they understand life’s processes? As parents, we have to tell our kids about the unexpected things of life; and we must, as a rule, tell them about dangers that are so obvious. I hope most parents have been successful in that goal.
We love our fellow human beings, and we should use our experience to guide them. But what can one do if people refuse to learn?
Can someone in this country tell me why he/she would be a happy person working as an open-minded journalist in a place like NCN, Chronicle or Guyana Times after all that is know about the nature of the PPP? The PPP was formed in the early forties, before seventy five percent of Guyana’s population was born.
Look at the virtual mountain of information on the PPP leaders, both past and present, that tells us how distrustful these people are about the value of democracy and the generous treatment of citizens over which they rule.
Yet, why do honest and fair-minded people want to work directly with the PPP, as in the state media and Guyana Times? When will human beings ever learn?
It was clear to me that Neil Marks and Avery Gomes were afraid to speak to me and have what they say reported in the media. I have been around long enough to know how this society operates.
In this context of fear, many Guyanese would be shocked to know that a person they least expected to be afraid appeared to me to be just that.
He called me and asked me to write about Magistrate Nyasha Williams-Hatmin remanding an accused for two weeks for stealing a cell phone.
I suggested to him that he should write it (I didn’t want to tell him the magistrate is my neighbour, because maybe he would have suggested I have a reason for not wanting to write about it.
I will write about this unfair decision) because the more voices that speak up against injustices in Guyana, the more likelihood that justice will succeed.
I don’t think he was persuaded. But surely, he was not going to write on the Government, for whom he may have a genuine fright. But on a simple thing like an unjust magisterial decision? Fear stalks Guyana.
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