I never thought that one day my name would have been flanked between the likes of Cheddi (Joey) Jagan (Jr), and Vishnu Bisram. Freddie bestowed me that honour when he designated us as, “mere footnotes that no one pays attention to”, in his Kaieteur News column, “Looking for a place to survive”, on 22-04-11. I write relatively few letters to the newspapers, so I was quite taken back by making it to Freddie’s dubious elite list of ‘footnoters’.
I was tempted to give comeuppance after such personal upbraiding but decided to ignore the castigation; after all, I do believe that Freddie Kissoon is generally a good man and one who has the good of Guyana at heart. Letters to the editors in Guyana are fraught with personal attacks on other writers or public personalities, of which I am also largely guilty – hence my hesitation to reply to the remonstrance. However, a couple of recent factors have cajoled me to replying to Mr. Kissoon’s stricture: first, was Joey Jagan’s brilliant recent letter to the Kaieteur News, “Develop 63 Beach into a tourist attraction”, on 17-05-111, and second, was Mr. Kissoon’s column, “President Jagdeo and a valuable, priceless road that was never taken”, printed the following day.
The big problem with Mr. Kissoon is himself. He deems those asking hard questions and confronting him with hard facts as mere “footnotes”, and perceives himself as the palpable ‘Headnote’.
Mr. Editor, is Joey Jagan Jr. a mere footnote in Guyana? Quite the contrary, I surmise! His most recent letter to the Kaieteur News is a firm, positive piece with practical ideas for a progressive Guyana. And the man is personable, and has a charming and charismatic personality, and is well liked by various strata in Guyanese society. Joey’s name and character will be inked in Guyana’s history for a long, long time as the man who turned from his parents’ political party, and who has demonstrated outrageous acts of defiance against the status quo. Joey is no mere footnote; the man is a giant in his own right!
Vishnu Bisram is a well informed and well travelled Guyanese. I wish I had a fraction of his experience and exposure.
Indeed, I may be going down as a mere footnote in Guyana, albeit of some significance. Perhaps some will acknowledge that I was the first person in the country (in the hemisphere?) who has brought to (live) television the reconciliation of Christian worship with Indian culture – something that I feel is of utmost importance in Guyana. I speak Hindi with relative ease, I sing (Christian) bhajans, and have had a solid grounding of Indian culture, having lived in India for several years. My
miniscule contribution to Guyana is that of providing musical and other resources to enable Christians to worship Jesus Christ in Indian culture, and with Indian music if they so choose.
In Mr. Kissoon’s column, “President Jagdeo and a valuable, priceless road that was never taken”, the columnist is convulsed by the fact that the President does not apologise; I quote, “If you want to understand the inherent weaknesses of Mr. Jagdeo or if you want to rightfully accuse him of the worst type of mediocrity then look at the concept of an apology.
All human beings, without exception, know that the apology is a device by which a situation against you is turned in your favour by the simple acknowledgement of being sorry or an admission that you were wrong. Ordinary folks may not need to show remorse when they make inelegant mistakes. but for leaders it is an indispensable tool. Unimaginably, Mr. Jagdeo puts no weight on the importance of an apology. What is too horrible to contemplate is the fact that Mr. Jagdeo may be too intellectually poor to understand the value of an apology.”
This analysis is laudable, and Mr. Jagdeo should have at least apologised for the torture of the 14-year-old by the police, as Mr. Kissoon pointed out.
The problem with Mr. Kissoon, however, is that he is concerned about the toothpick in someone else’s eye and ignores the wallaba post in his!
Has Mr. Kissoon bothered to apologise for his gigantic faux pas? Did he say ‘sorry’ for the books he stole as a young boy from the library? Did Mr. Kissoon ever acknowledge any iota of blunder or impropriety as a journalist/columnist? In his (in)famous column on 07-04-11, “An apology to Stella”, Mr. Kissoon issued not even one line of apology to Stella! That entire column pivoted on the ego of the columnist, as in, “I write… my language… my work… I gave… I did…I believe…”. Everything in that column centred on Mr. Headnote; it was a travesty of justice to a lady of class, and a writer of distinction. Remember your pontificating on ‘apology’ Freddie? It is not too late to apologise to Stella – and to your readers.
Freddie: in his 22-04-11 column, he was bemoaning the fact that he was being criticised from many quarters and angles. Oh, poor guy – he was being attacked and called lots of names.
Christopher Ram should have had the fortitude and integrity to ask Mr. Kissoon on his TV programme why does he feel the need to cuss down all and sundry who are not in sync with his disposition. Mr. Ram should have grilled his guest about his propensity to present untruths, exaggerate or plain lie.
Turning to me, Mr. Kissoon wrote in the said column, “Google the name Devanand Bhagwan and you will find over the past four years letters in Kaieteur News by this man and all, I repeat, all [my emphasis] are on the bad things Frederick Kissoon writes about. I don’t know who this person is.”
I shall let the readers judge for themselves the veracity of that sentence – it should take a mere few seconds if they are on the Kaieteur News page of the Internet.
On the top right corner of the page, type in ‘Devanand Bhagwan’ in the Custom Google Search. There you will find the last letter written to the Kaieteur News, on 15-04-11, titled, “Environmental impact assessment needed”, where I thanked Janette Bulkan for her well researched letters on the environment, and questioned environmental husbandry by the planned exploits of the Indian company Vaitarna Holdings, on the pristine forests of Guyana.
Another letter titled, “The use of profanity and sexual innuendo in the classroom is inappropriate” – referring to another UG professor. And there are other letters not focusing on Freddie Kissoon. So, you’re wrong again, Freddie.
Mr. Kissoon claims that he does not know who I am. I am 99% sure that he is not telling the truth; we both have a close mutual friend in Georgetown! Also, Mr. Kissoon once dubbed me as being “too much into culture”, after watching my TV programme, Jeewan Jyoti, around 2002. We’ve never met, but I am sure he knows who I am. One day I’d like the privilege of meeting him – footnote meeting headnote!
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