During the CPL semi-final, my wife and I were switching channels after each over to escape the onerous banality of seeing the same commercials every five minutes (it can harm you psychologically). My wife switched then went back to cricket but I saw basketball player, Stephen Curry being interview and yelled out; “Put it back, put it back!”
What Curry had to say I knew fifty years ago. But Curry’s words will stay with me until I die. I will pass on what he said to his BBC interviewer to every human I meet. Asked to give his opinion on the Serena Williams outburst and the Kaepernick controversy, the basketball genius defended both Williams and Kaepernick.
Then came the wise words. He told his interviewer that famous athletes like him have a platform to speak on behalf of those who haven’t got one. This is a lesson all humans must internalize. People who have achieved recognition in their country and are role models have a duty bestowed on them by civilization to speak on behalf of those who need their voices.
Please forgive me for an insertion of a little personal example that will underscore my point. I took a worker who was badly exploited by his powerful and rich employer to Labour Minister, Keith Scott. See my column of Friday, September 7, 2018, captioned; “I took a victim to Minister Keith Scott.”
Scott was moved by the descriptions offered by the employee and ordered an investigation. That was on the Friday. On Tuesday, the employer paid. The exploited employee sought persons who could have helped.
If any country should heed the words of Curry it is Guyana. This country simply defies logic in a way that no other country does. I picked up the papers and saw that Mark Benschop asked Nigel Hughes to fight the farmer’s appeal who was jailed for possession of eight grams of cocaine.
According to a survey on legal education in Caricom countries funded by Canada and carried out by UWI, Guyana has 1200 lawyers. The study (see Kaieteur News – April 9, 2018) revealed that Guyana has a lawyer for every 657 person.
Now do the research and you will find the name of just one lawyer – Nigel Hughes – coming up all the time in situations where poor people’s right are violated and they cannot pay for legal resort. Can you imagine a country with 1200 lawyers in a population of just under 800,000 citizens yet lawyers doing pro bono work for poor people whose rights are violated are as scarce as elephants in Georgetown. What kind of wasteland is this country?
As mentioned in one of my columns last week, I have to report on my advocacy to take the Guyana Post Office to court over the violation of citizens’ constitutional right. The post office requires you to produce an envelope with a post date with your name and address on it before you can post a parcel. That has to be a violation. Thousands of people will be affected since they probably never received a mail through the post office.
A number of persons have agreed to fund the court case but finding a brave lawyer is a problem. I chose one of my students that I liked when I lectured to him at UG and who recently returned. I thought it would help his career.
The guy said; “No, no, no, Mr. Kissoon”. He wants nothing to do with such a case. If you are reading this and you have a lawyer in mind please contact me at 614-5927 or email me at [email protected] The attorney will be paid for the fees he charges. We need to get this writ filed as early as possible.
This sickening situation with the lawyers is the same with our academics. If you come from a very far off country, and never knew about Guyana, you would never believe we have a university. Our academics do not publicly debate anything for the benefit of those who need to know. Our academics do not raise their voice in support of those who do not have a platform.
But why ask them to look at the Curry interview? They will watch Curry talking about the need for those who are influential in society to help those who do not have a voice and as our older folks used to say when I was growing up; “it will go through one ear, and come through the other.”
The older folks had another way of putting it; “It is like throwing water on a duck’s back.”
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