Apr 06, 2011 Letters
Once upon a time one of the first things I used to do in keeping up with the Guyana news was to tap in to what Freddie Kissoon had to say; his opinion mattered much. I still read Mr. Kissoon’s column, but with much less frequency, and with much less seriousness. His constant ranting, his hatred for all and sundry that are not in sync with him, and his bloated exaggerations have seen him fall from grace.
Simply, I don’t take him seriously anymore – though it is sometimes fun to hear what the blabber has to say. The fracas about ‘Freddie’s lies’, however, caught my attention again for the columnist.
Freddie Kissoon is demanding that Stella Ramsaroop apologise to him for her column on March 23, “Freddie, go stand in the corner”.
We are waiting to see if Stella would acquiesce to her friend’s desire for an amicable relationship, or if she’d take the high moral road to integrity and professionalism.
Freddie Kissoon is the one that should do the apologising – to his readers, to his boss man, and to Stella.
Freddie messed up big time. He made a(nother) gigantic faux pas! But, true to his colours, Freddie (in his demand), confessed that he “will not acknowledge anything that was offensive”.
In the column in question, “I know why the Government did away with prescriptive rights”, Mr. Kissoon wrote, “One day as I was driving home, I saw the land where these squatters live being surveyed. I stopped and enquired and was told that it was a job undertaken by Lands and Surveys. The operation lasted for three days.
“I suspect that there was a move to sell this area off to a friend of Mr. Bennettitaceous. Then a strange thing happened. Days later, GPL came and took away the connections for all those houses. More days later, another strange thing happened. GWI disconnected the water supply. The die was cast. The land was to be sold.”
Such strong utterances caught the attention of the KN boss man and editor that the KN sent reporter(s) to verify Mr. Kissoon’s story. Then came the thunder that was reported in the KN on March 20, “None of 18 homes across the road from Mr Kissoon’s residence at Turkeyen, had received any notifications from Government to remove. Neither did the authorities take away electrical power lines from their homes. None of the homes ever had GPL connections. The power company never ran any primary power line to that area.”
Poor Freddie was left red-faced, and has desperately tried to rescue some semblance of integrity by ferociously defending his stance, saying that the point of the column was to show that the government wanted the land from the squatters (“to sell this area to a friend of Mr. Bennettitaceous”).
But his integrity has taken a bashing again – even though Mr. Kissoon would never acknowledge it.
Mr. Kissoon wants Stella to contact Mr. Fillmore, the Canadian expert on media relations, on what is proper journalism. While Mr. Fillmore is in Guyana, Mr. Kissoon could ask him if it is acceptable journalism when he (Kissoon) ascribed (a few months ago) that out of 10,000 businesses in the Georgetown area, 9,999 of these belonged to East Indians – without the burden of proof.
Or, was it okay to categorically insist that Vishnu Bisram’s polling was the subject of discussion at the OAS meeting a couple of years ago. (Mr. Kissoon promised his readers that he would substantiate his claims about the OAS meeting. We were waiting, waiting, waiting…)
Mr. Kissoon, unfortunately, is looking ridiculously silly. With every writer who has tickled him the wrong way, he nonchalantly dismisses them as unintellectual, childish, racist or a ghost writer.
I shall quote the columnist verbatim, in his March 24 column, “Rice, pigeons, magistrates, jokes and lies”, by substituting the word ‘magistrates’ for ‘journalists’ . “Not all journalists but quite a number of them appear comical in the eyes of the nation because they have no clue about the law. You wonder how some of these journalists could face the public when their intellectual and professional routines are so poor…”
Mr. Editor, which journalist is the joke of country? Who has been guilty of lies – but would not admit any iota of it?
It is a gross understatement to say that Guyana is better off having a Freddie Kissoon as a watchdog. However, Kissoon needs to come face to face with his gaffe and indecorum, and apologise for his snafus and slips.
And then more people will respect his opinions and integrity.
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