Mr. Frederick Kissoon’s breathless fulminations are a marvel to behold. It is not the falsity of the conclusions based on analyses of manufactured “facts”, at least in relation to me. It is the passionate and daily vehemence sustained with such fervor for so many years that sets Mr. Kissoon apart from other columnists.
After tolerating nearly 10 years of abuse from Mr. Kissoon, I have learnt to treat him merely as an itch, sometimes even a “sweet itch”, so marvelously characterised by Derek Walcott in an essay published in the 1980’s, the name of which I do not recall.
I do not intend to respond to the epithets hurled at me by Mr. Kissoon. I normally do so only when he writes his corrosive lies on an important matter which he does every now and again. Even so, he has a tendency to repeat them about every six months with the expectation that the reading public would have forgotten my replies. And why should they remember? I expect that Mr. Kissoon’s hateful anger and my anguished protestations are merely fodder for your reader’s amusement.
Glenn Lall, the owner of the Kaieteur News, once told me that Mr. Kissoon gets the largest number of hits on the internet version of Kaieteur News. The reason obviously is because of his amazing capacity to sustain his anger and to direct it with such animosity at such a limited group of public officials and PPP leaders, with some notable recent exceptions, for so long. And the profits he rakes in for Kaieteur News must be sustaining his self worth.
So this is not only about Mr. Kissoon. It is about money. Money for Kaieteur News and its owner. And it is this flow of cash that also sustains Mr. Kissoon and the manner in which he writes. The more abusive, the greater the flow.
But the issue of the secret ballot is too important to allow Mr. Kissoon to trivialize it. I deal with it by repeating parts of a letter I wrote to another newspaper, to which Mr. Kissoon, not unexpectedly, made no reference.
It is the natural, God-given, right of all human beings to exercise their democratic choice in conditions of secrecy and confidentiality. In all cases where open voting takes place, a single request for a secret ballot must be honoured. This is enshrined in the rules of many organisations. Where not enshrined, this principle is honoured, as it must be.
The PPP has always adhered to the highest principles of internal democracy. It spent much of the past decades fighting to extend those principles to all the people of Guyana.
When the Central Committee of the PPP had to pronounce on its last three Presidential Candidates – Cdes. Cheddi Jagan, Janet Jagan and Bharrat Jagdeo – they were the only nominees in each case and therefore, as is normal in such circumstances, they were each approved by acclamation. No voting is necessary when there is only one nominee for a position.
On the other hand, in all cases where elections in the PPP are contested, the voting is conducted by secret ballot. For example, since 1950, elections at Congress in the earlier period for the General Council, officers and the Executive, and in later years for the Central Committee have always been conducted by secret ballot. There was never a vote taken as to whether these elections should be conducted by open voting.
In the later period elections in the Central Committee for the Executive Committee are and have always been conducted by secret ballot. There has never been a vote as to whether these elections should be conducted by open voting.
Elections at Regional and District Conferences for Regional and District Committees and officers of those committees have always been conducted by secret ballot. In fact the General Secretary nominates a person from outside the Region or District to conduct the elections. Again, there has never been a vote as to whether these elections should be conducted by open voting.
In fact, there has never, ever, been a vote at any level of the Party to decide whether elections should be held by secret ballot or not. This is simply because everyone knows that such a vote would be a gross violation of the democratic right of members to a secret ballot.
Therefore, in the highest traditions of democracy, the PPP has always conducted contested elections by secret ballot. In accordance with these traditions, and as yet another high example to the people of Guyana as to how the PPP conducts its business, I expect that if there is more than one nominee contesting the position of presidential candidate, those elections will be held by secret ballot.
The issue is not a request or any private or public campaign by me for a secret ballot. It is merely an expression of my own understanding of how the process which has been made public by the Party would unfold.
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