Feb 22, 2009 Letters
I did not want to continue the exchange with Dr. Nanda Gopaul on the reason for the non-renewal of Dr. Josh Ramsammy’s pro-chancellorship at UG because we both made our points.
Matters have become complicated with another correspondence from Nanda which adds more confusion and further tarnishes the image wrongfully of a great Guyanese patriot. I am afraid I cannot accept the reason Nanda offers for the non-renewal, not to mention that he has shifted ground considerably since his first explanation.
Below I will explain to readers what Josh told me about his dismissal. But briefly, I am not acquainted with the sequence of events as related by Nanda in relation to the Bursar’s salary. At that time I was in the executive (still there) of the union and cannot recall a rebellion by academic staff over the Bursar’s salary. I do not accept Dr. Gopaul’s statement that Josh had “lost the confidence of vast sections of the on campus.” I am afraid that is not factual. There was no rebellion over the Bursar’s salary. In his original letter, Dr. Gopaul pointed to two senior members who were confrontational. Now we read that from two it moved to “vast sections”. Can Nanda make up his mind which it is?
Dr. Gopaul has certainly dented the image and credibility of Joshua Ramsammy. Josh couldn’t have been a great man because he was resented at UG and couldn’t perform effectively, and had to be discontinued, according to Nanda’s letter. I do not think that is an accurate reflection at all of Josh’s tenure as Pro-Chancellor. Nanda keeps shifting ground on a wider scale as what happened at the abandoned test match in Antigua last week. He wrote that two of the seniors at UG should have been fired. Now he claims that the Government couldn’t “fire all the aggrieved professionals at the University.” What happened to the two that Nanda felt should have been dismissed?
I am more confused as Nanda goes on. If Josh gave a whopping increase to the Bursar, why couldn’t that have been reversed by the Council after discussion with Josh? Nanda admits that Josh had his support and those on the Council that represented the Government. This meant that they too supported the salary increase. I will leave it to readers to go through the logics of Nanda’s presentation.
Suffice it to say that Nanda still hasn’t named names and has dropped the name of Dale Bisnauth. Let me move to the reason for the non-renewal of contract as told to me by Josh. It centred on the President’s insistence that a huge part of UG’s estate be donated for the building of an international football stadium to be financed by FIFA.
The President’s position was that Minister Gail Teixeira had already named UG as the site and the Government couldn’t tell FIFA about a change. Josh’s position was that it was an act of madness to use up the land space of UG when as a growing university it had to expand greatly as its future develops. He told the President that there were countless other sites that were more appropriate.
As it turned out, FIFA never promised to build a stadium, and such a structure if it ever comes to reality will be located up the East Bank. So Josh was right in the end. I wrote about the disagreement between Josh and the President over the stadium in three articles and in a few letters on UG. At that time Nanda was not an employee at OP.
I met President Jagdeo in 2000 and we chatted for almost 90 minutes in his office. I raised the dismissal of Josh and these were President Jagdeo exact words; “Well, you should have seen the attitude.” He didn’t say “of Dr. Ramsammy”.
He just said, “the attitude.” He didn’t go on to explain what that meant. I interpreted it to mean that Josh was adamant that he was not supporting the UG location for the stadium. The rest is now history. I repeat – the decision to fire Josh or not extend his contract was done at OP and not at the Ministry of Education.
I wrote about that several times. That is old news, Nanda. I cannot understand this sudden discovery of yours that it wasn’t the President. In 2000 that was public knowledge.
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