As we leave 2010 many things race through my head. I am sure that we can all take good and bad memories of the past year. So much has happened in 2010 that I am compelled to share it with you in these pages. I may look like I am a very public individual but I am not. While it may appear that I write very much, I am not too talkative. But give me a pen and paper, or a computer and keyboard and I will sit, write and type, without stopping.
I want to share a few things that happened to me in 2010; things that I will never forget.
The very first thing I want to share took place on the very last day of the old year (2009). As I was enjoying a gaff with my parents on our verandah, I received a telephone call. That call frightened me.
I returned to the gaff, said not a word and continued on with the Old Year’s night observances. I lost my appetite for my mom’s cook- up rice. I digested what I had heard (or rather was told) and went to bed shortly after 2 a.m. or so.
Many things raced through my mind. Was it ironic or not that on the brink of a new year, I was receiving a tip from someone that I was going to be victimised in my job as a teacher by certain persons whom I knew.
A few days earlier, before receiving that call, I had written and vented a disgust which I had about the political sentiments made at a children’s Christmas party held in the President’s honour. Now, this threat was coming just a day or two after I had written that piece.
To add to the fear, 2010 was a year I had not held back in speaking my mind about a plethora of political issues and I used the letters columns.
Stabroek News first came to my mind. I did the necessary and the matter was published in the press. Of course, this was how my parents and friends knew, because up to that point I had not told anyone. Days passed and seeing that no action was being taken, I realised that it was just a threat to get me scared. It worked.
That was not all. A few days later, I received a letter from a Berbice lawyer. I was being demanded to apologise in the newspapers for comments I made in a letter about the president’s Christmas party in Berbice. Failure to do so would result in me being sued for libel. Stabroek News and Kaieteur News were also sent the same letter.
I contacted a friend who stood by my side and spoke on my behalf. I did not pen any apology to the papers nor did the papers apologise for my letter. The ones who initiated legal action did not take any action from then on.
I had pledged to be a little more careful with what I say in these columns as I also put my editors in jeopardy and sometimes give them—as we say in Guyana—unnecessary headache.
I will remember 2010 as a year when my work as a media operative and a writer took to new heights. During the beginning of the year, I assisted my friends at the Stabroek News now and again. I sent photos to them and these were published.
I helped my friends at DTV- 8 in New Amsterdam by going into the fields and operating the news camera now and again. I also lent my support by sending in articles and photos to my friends at the Catholic Standard. I then started to send in pieces to the Kaieteur News. This would be the beginning of something great that was to happen later in the year.
And so, I shared myself in many ways doing many things. Thank God I do not have a wife (yet) or children (yet). I would not have found the time. I teach, study, write, manage my website, write more, and then live life. But when one loves what one is doing, one can find nothing to complain about it.
I love being who I am and doing what I do. Nothing or no one can stop me, not even the haters. You know what I mean? I was called a “wanna-be journalist” a few months ago. I was told to stick to what I was paid to do—teaching. I was deeply hurt. It came from persons whom I had held in high regard (note the past tense ‘held’).
I am no wanna-be journalist nor am I the best. I do what I love to do. And I surely do not want to take away people’s job from them. 2010 has taught me valuable lessons.
I listened to much radio in 2010. I believe that every Guyanese who is truly Guyanese should listen to our local radio stations.
Radio, as I have lamented over and over, has a rich history here in Guyana. We must try to preserve it. I give thanks to our radio announcers for doing their utmost to keep us entertained and informed in our homes.
My name may be known among many circles but not many persons know who I really am or what I look like. When they do know, the first thing they say is that they thought I was an old man. I am 27 years old. I have contributed more than a hundred letters to the letters column in 2010.
I still feel the passion to represent various causes in these very necessary spaces, the letters columns. I was given much advice about my writing in the past year, for which I am very grateful. I was told to be more concise and less frequent in the columns. In that way, what you have to say would carry more weight if seen less often than if seen every other day. That makes much sense.
UG work had been so tight during the end of the year that something that never happened in a long time happened. I did not write for nearly a month. I could not have found the time. But there were deadlines and dates that had to be met. There was much more other work for me to do.
I met a very good person in 2010. There are not many Glenn Lall’s in this world. This man summoned me to his office for lunch and offered me a job at Kaieteur News. I turned up at Kaieteur News at the stipulated time but he was not there. Mr Leonard Gildarie took me to Mr Lall’s home. It was the first time I was meeting Mr Glen Lall, someone whom I had heard so much about; someone who was talked about so much.
He asked me if I loved teaching. He asked me if I did not think that I would be making the same contribution to the nation if I were a journalist—a full-time one, that is.
It was the first time in a very long time that I had a conversation that made a lot of sense. I reflected on our conversation all the way home back to Berbice. He is the person who makes this great newspaper ticks all these years.
Mr Glenn Lall is someone I share much respect for. Someday I will fully listen to him.
I am a strong believer in fate. Things never happen before they are meant to happen. I leave 2010 with immense successes (apart from the tough time History is giving me at UG). And I thank my God for these little perks along the way.
Though it was a very hard and difficult year in so many ways, I can truly say that it ended better than when it began. My year in 2010 began with a threatening phone call for victimization and for me to move out of Region Six to Region Five; a lawyer’s letter threatening legal action against me and the newspapers; my salary being withheld on numerous occasions and deductions made for my attendance at UG without permission; and so many more that would fill these pages.
My year ended with all of the above sorted out and a prospect of a brighter future for myself. A new year always brings newer meanings and thing on the horizon. It is up to us to make those things come true. I thank God for my family, especially mom, dad and my sis who are 101% behind me in whatever I do.
Success can come to all of us if we just allow it to. I will not forget Kaieteur News Editor-in-Chief Mr Adam Harris’s words to me as I was leaving the office in Georgetown a few weeks ago. He looked at me and said, “Don’t worry, you look wicked; you gon mek it”.
I still laugh every time I hear him in my head saying those words to me. Happy New Year to all! (Leon Suseran)
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