I have long argued that many of the persons in this country who write extolling certain positive values do not embrace those values themselves. One of those persons I have identified more than fifteen years ago is Ralph Ramkarran. I could only think of one person who has publicly exposed the authoritarian mentality of Ramkarran, and that is Malcolm Harripaul, who in a published letter described Ramkarran’s Stalinism in service of Janet Jagan.
I write this missive here after reading Ramjattan’s column in which he gave it an ironic caption; “The politics of abuse.” This was in response to Khemraj Ramjattan’s trenchant comments on Ramkarran’s condemnation of the AFC’s performance. Interestingly, there are no threats of libel from Ramjattan, a course of action Ramkarran is fond of. He mentioned in that column that he would not allow Ramjattan to block him from speaking. But that is what Ramkarran tried to do with me, five months ago.
People have to write about these types of hypocrisy, because the young generation of Guyana needs to be exposed to those who say they are for free speech and tolerance when they are not. I will offer here evidence of Ramkarran’s politics of abuse and his political dishonesty.
We begin with Mr. Ramkarran’s legal correspondence of July to Kaieteur News indicating the intention of suing. Mr. Ramkarran’s letter stated parts of my column relating to him were defamatory, malicious and calculated to hurt his good reputation and to lower his character in the estimation of the public and “has so done.”
Yet in studying this letter which charges maliciousness on the part of my column, the editor, in carefully reading Ramkarran’s legal letter and juxtaposing it against my column published, found that there were “attempts at dishonesty” in the very letter. How can you accuse someone of hurting you and seek legal action against him or her, but you are dishonest in your claim? What or where are these “attempts at dishonesty”? Strangely, Ramkarran didn’t show the editor. He couldn’t.
Here is the evidence: I quote from my column of July 18, 2017, “It makes you want to throw up when you read Anil Nandlall’s daily ruminations in the newspapers about the rule of law being violated, Bharrat Jagdeo talking nonsense about political victimisation of PPP supporters at his weekly press conferences and the arid sermons about violations in the letter section of the newspapers by Donald Ramotar. All three of these former PPP Leviathans should be ostracised by civilised society. Sadly, we don’t have such a society in Guyana.”
Any school boy would know that the three Leviathans here are Nandlall, Jagdeo and Ramotar. A leviathan in political theory refers to a very powerful exerciser of governmental authority; in this case, the former attorney general, and two former presidents.
Mr. Ramkarran then cited the following lines in my column, “…Bharrat Jagdeo and Henry Jeffrey and Ralph Ramkarran were part of a state apparatus that did what it wanted to.” Then after those words of mine, Mr. Ramkarran wrote the following, “…he recommends that all three of these former Leviathans should be ostracised by civil society.”
Those words came after several paragraphs on Nandlall, Jagdeo and Ramotar in my column and were applied to them, not Ramkarran. Since Ramkarran said “Leviathan” was applied to him, it damaged his character and he wanted a retraction and an apology. I did retract the words and apologise. I did that to protect the paper I write for and to get on with my life rather than be bogged down with Ramkarran in a court of law in my older age. But the paper saw the offence in Ramkarran’s letter and described it as “attempts at dishonesty.”
What are the lessons to be learnt here? Simple! This is the nature of Guyana, where truths are casualties. Here is another example where the truths become casualties. In his correspondence threatening libel, Mr. Ramkarran said I damaged his character through the use of the following words in my column; “Kirton was not allowed to continue because UG’s lawyer, Ralph Ramkarran informed the Pro Chancellor that Justice Patterson’s order of certiorari did not include the retention of Kirton.”
Mr. Ramkarran took objection to that and wrote that I insinuated “that Ramkarran …was engaged in a course of action designed to pervert the course of justice.” There are no such words in my column, only the simple truth that Ramkarran wrote the University advising them to ignore the two orders by the judge. This he did in two letters to the university, one dated September 7, 2005; the other September 13, 2005.
To prove that he did not do such a thing, Mr. Ramkarran described in careful details, with specific dates, the course of events from the time we filed the writs to stop the revocation of Dr. Mark Kirton’s appointment to the conclusion of the case in the year 2005.
Missing in his meticulous description is the date, September 5. It was on that date the judge issued two orders halting the removal of Dr. Kirton. Mr. Ramkarran, for reasons readers can comprehend for themselves, chose not to mention that two orders were issued and he advised the university to disregard them.
In closing, let me boldly state that I never admired Ralph Ramkarran, because I know that while in the PPP, he was one of the enduring autocrats but his sins never came out because, unlike other high profile leaders, he kept out of the limelight. I am not finished with him by a long way.
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