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Dec 02, 2008 Features / Columnists, Freddie Kissoon
Sorry if I deceived you with my caption. I do not mean murder in the physical and legal sense. I was just resorting to the expression in common parlance to mean that you do or say something so absurd and are allowed to get away with it, because no one has confronted you on the issue.
A country must have a climate of intellectual debate. It helps the reading population to do their own crystallization. The dangerous thing about citizens not exchanging interpretations and opinions is that false paradigms, invalid theories and bogus facts can get into people’s minds and stick.
In Guyana, the culture of intellectual and political discussion has sadly declined. All kinds of questionable ideas are floating around, and we need to defeat them. We can start with someone by the name of Vishnu Bisram. This man had got away with murder, until a few months ago, when the Stabroek News came to its senses. Mr. Bisram loudly proclaimed his polling ability, and for a number of years had the results of his surveys published in the Stabroek News.
The Bisram bubble began a slowly burst when he consistently found Mr. Jagdeo to be a very popular leader, but not his ministers and his party, the PPP. Something was wrong.
The Stabroek News no longer carries Mr. Bisram’s so-called surveys as news items. He is relegated to the letter pages, where he now explains to readers the results of his “polls.” The reason for the Stabroek News change of heart is because Mr. Bisram has been unable to answer questions about the composition, operation and address of his polling outfit, NACTA.
He stubbornly refuses to tell us the name of the school that he says he teaches at. The Bisram story is over. But he got away with his scheme for years because, at the time when he refused to name the people who lead his polling institution and identify his workplace, no one in the opposition parties, or in civil society, or in the intellectual community took umbrage.
This was unnerving, considering the fact that Mr. Bisram was putting out information that was harmful to the opposition.
Secondly, there is Ravi Dev. One aspect of Mr. Dev’s writing is obnoxious, cannot be supported by facts, and is dangerous. But, again, like Bisram, he is allowed to get away with murder. What is exasperating is that Mr. Dev’s explanation is so factually flawed, so nonsensical, that it jars your nerves, but he continues to sing his melody of misleading politics without being exposed.
According to Mr. Dev, East Indians chose to vote for the PPP because they know that their counter-parts in the African community will do the same, that is, vote racially. Mr. Dev tells us we are stuck in a fatalistic mode – the major races will vote for the two parties that represent their ethnic constituencies.
The results of the 2006 general elections proved Mr. Dev wrong. Mr. Dev ignores these results, and is quite happy to evade you when you present him with the facts. For example, the Alliance For Change picked up six seats which the statistical and demographic outlay of voting patterns, as presented by GECOM’s publications of the entire results, showed were essentially from African Guyanese.
It is quite obvious to even an illiterate human being that when those African voters went to the polling station, they could not have been thinking the way Mr. Dev tells us that they were. If Dev was right, then they had to say to themselves the following words: “If I vote for the AFC, the African party, the PNC, will lose because the East Indians will vote for the PPP, thereby denting the PNC; therefore, I think I will stick with the PNC.”
They did not think like that, because they voted against the PNC. Dev’s stuck record of East Indians being afraid of switching from the PPP because, since Guyanese vote race, Africans will root for the PNC is absolute nonsense. Here is a man advocating a false premise which can be proven to be false, but the opposition parties, Guyanese who care about ending racial voting, and those in the intellectual community who can devastate Dev are silent about Dev.
Finally, there is journalist Neil Marks. He got fired from Guyana Times and furiously refuses to comment on his dismissal to the media, but functions as a journalist with Capitol News, where his job is to seek answers from newsmakers. Up to now, no one has remarked about this glaring double-standard by Marks. Marks works at a news outfit, Capitol News, that loves to highlight the double standards of Mr. Jagdeo’s presidency.
Care to comment, Enrico?
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