While the Donald Rodney vigil was in progress outside the Court of Appeal yesterday morning, one of the directors of Transparency International – Guyana branch, Alfred Bhulai, came to join the vigil.
Donald then indicated to him that he has not received a reply from the institute in relation to what is happening to his appeal over his conviction for participating in the murder of his brother, Walter Rodney.
Bhulai told him the institute could not arrive at a decision on his victimisation claim. I was standing right next to Donald and told Bhulai that Transparency Institute’s attitude should be made public.
I told Bhulai I would write about it and he indicated what he said was confidential. I disagreed. I said he was responding to Donald’s enquiry in full view of all the vigil attendees who heard his report.
I pointed out to Bhulai that his organisation goes looking at opaque holes, invisible crevices, darkened apertures and publicly write about what it sees. Why then can I not write about what I know about some of the false stands the institute is taking?
I suggested to Bhulai that the Guyanese people need to know what he just told Donald. He conceded that I can write about what he said though, I felt he agreed because he sensed the folks around us knew his position was untenable.
Some of Bhulai’s revelations stunned some of us. I reminded him I had an exchange in the Kaieteur News with the head of the Transparency Institute, Dr. Troy Thomas, over Thomas’s deliberate silence on the lack of transparency and terrible governance at UG. Thomas’s position was unacceptable because charity begins at home and he is a UG lecturer.
I further explained to Bhulai that Thomas’s reasoning on my criticism of Transparency Institute’s silence on UG bordered on hypocrisy. Here is where Bhulai gave me a headache. Bhulai confessed in full view of all the vigil attendees that he didn’t know about the exchange with me and Thomas because he only reads one newspaper – Stabroek News.
This man is one of the directors of Transparency International Guyana and gets his portraits of life in this country from one media house only. I would like to remind Bhulai that the only online newspaper that is not free in Guyana is Stabroek News.
You can read all the other dailies free of cost. That is assuming that Bhulai connects with the internet.
Here is an abbreviated version of my deep disappointment with Dr. Thomas as the head of Transparency Institute and Thomas’s reply. In my Wednesday, October 18, 2017 column captioned “My mind does not miss these things but…” I wrote the following, “This newspaper featured two news reports in which the two unions say that the UG administration needs to practise transparency.
I thought it funny that UG is being accused of not being transparent and the transparency body in Guyana is headed by a UG lecturer.”
In my column with the headline, “How can the UG Vice-Chancellor argue so unscholarly?” dated February 14, 2018, again I looked at the double standards of the Transparency Institute with these words; “Twice I remarked that it has to be an anomaly that the head of Transparency Institute is a lecturer at UG yet both unions at UG have made public statements that there needs to be more transparency in UG’s governance.
“But that same gentleman voices an opinion on the need for transparent transaction in many institutions but never at UG.”
Dr. Thomas replied in this newspaper of February 17, 2018. I quote him, “What I believe is overlooked in the argument for my going to the public through the press or television is that there is a conflict of interest of which I risk dragging TIGI (sic).”
My understanding of that line is that Thomas said that if he takes critical stances on UG (we are referring to the tenure of Vice Chancellor, Ivelaw Griffith), then he could be accused using the name of his organisation.
I honestly don’t buy that argument. If you are an advocate for medical professionalism then, you should not work at a hospital that engages in medical mal-practices. You are bound to be accused of double standards, meaning you condemn such violations at other hospitals but are silent in your workplace where they happen.
I wasn’t too frustrated at what Bhulai told Donald Rodney. I don’t know apart from Bhulai and Dr. Thomas, who are the other directors of Transparency Institute, but maybe they feel Donald Rodney’s victimisation does not fall within their remit.
But then again, hypocrisy has always been the order of the day in Guyana.
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