There are times you meet people and at that very moment, the things that they say cause you to feel that they are not particularly grounded in plausible thoughts.
One day, at the junction of Church and East Streets, I was at the fruit stand and I ran into one of my students. She was working for an IDB project in Guyana. This was just weeks before the 2011 elections.
I asked her to vote for the AFC. What that woman said to me, I dismissed silently in my mind. Years later, I still remember her attitude. Once there is a group named the AFC and once names like Khemraj Ramjattan, Raphael Trotman exist in that formation, I will always remember that lady’s utterance.
She didn’t do political studies at UG; her major was business studies but she had to undertake the compulsory course in philosophy with me.
She told me that a vote for the AFC was a vote for both the PPP and PNC. I distinctly could remember her telling me that Ramjattan is a PPP and Trotman is PNC so it is better to choose either PPP or PNC rather than the AFC.
You do not have to be active in politics to know your politics. This lady knew her politics. Years later, I discovered how right she was. All the worn out, nasty contents of the political culture of the PPP, Nagamootoo and Ramjattan have brought to the AFC. The same thing Trotman did but from the school of the PNC.
Nagamootoo put on the board of the Chronicle, two persons who are political comrades of Sherod Duncan – Juretha Fernandes and Beverley Alert. Both women sit in the national executive committee of the AFC, of which Duncan is a member. Both persons have told the media that they did not vote for Duncan’s dismissal and were quite supportive of Duncan.
One wonders whether readers know that Fernandes and Alert are AFC apparatchiks and so is Duncan and they sit in the AFC’s executive. Do we have a conflict of interest here? I contacted Alert. She is of the belief that she holds her board position because of her experience in the media.
I told Alert that was not my question. My query was if she does not consider it a conflict of interest to participate in the discussion of Duncan’s position with the Chronicle knowing that they are colleagues in the AFC leadership.
Alert went on to say that she would make decisions based on the merits of a case and not who is her colleague. Again I put the conflict of interest scenario to her repeating the question if she does feel that accusations of conflict of interest could be leveled at her. She said no.
A call to Juretha Fernandes went into the realm of the bizarre. On calling, Fernandes answered. When I announced my name, the person said she was Fernandes’s sister and put down the phone. Subsequent calls went unanswered.
I did indicate to Beverly Alert that I found Ms. Fernandes’s attitude to be strange and I will write about it. Ms. Alert told me that she will get Ms. Fernandes to talk to me. Next thing I know, Ms. Fernandes came on the line and said that the she doesn’t speak to people on that number.
Readers may find it interesting to know that Fernandes is the head of the moribund youth arm of the AFC and was David Patterson’s deputy in charge of the AFC’s local government campaign in November 2018. She hails from Bartica and as the statistics shows, the AFC failed to win even one NDC in any part of Guyana.
Fernandes said she doesn’t see it as a conflict of interest because many persons on the board are political activists like her.
So is there a conflict of interest with Alert and Fernandes taking part in the decision on Duncan? That is the first question. The second one revolves the admission of Fernandes, that the board has a number of political activists. The third question is why is Nagamootoo stacking the board with apparatchiks who will vote according to party edicts?
Fourthly, could these party people bring professionalism to the Chronicle if they were put there in the first place because of their party status? Fifthly, can Nagamooto find seven persons who have no ethnic and political loyalties?
Sixthly, stacking a state board with apparatchiks reminds you of how the PPP operated when it was in power. But don’t forget what my student told me at the fruits stand. A leopard cannot change its spots. Poor Guyana! Condemned to die!
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