I refer to the letter of the head of Transparency Institute (TIGI), Dr. Troy Thomas of November 29 in KN in which he took umbrage at some comments of mine from 2018 to the present time, the issue being his organization’s silence on lack of transparency and accountability at UG, 2016-2019.
Dr. Thomas’s commentary personifies the intellectual decay of this country since the Burnham-Rodney confrontation ended in tragedy in 1980. There are many deceiving sections in his contents some of which I hereby respond to in an attempt to show his double standards.
One: Thomas wrote – “In his November 22 column, Mr. Kissoon also turned attention to me personally. Prior to this, he had written about me on a few occasions. I responded once (See KN of February 18, 2018) and explained my perspective on the matter. I will not rehash it here but I wish to clarify that my role as the president of TIGI is to act on behalf of the organisation and not myself and I will not drag TIGI into matters of personal benefit to me.”
I confess I haven’t a clue what this gentleman is referring to or what he means. I insisted since 2018 that TIGI has a moral obligation to investigate rampant opaque governance at UG where Thomas works. Since 2018, there has been not even a line of what has taken placed at UG from TIGI. Thomas justifies this eerie silence by saying he “will not drag TIGI into matters of personal benefit” to him. Again I confess; I don’t know what he is talking about. I maintain that TIGI has a right to investigate wrong-doing wherever they occur. He alone can explain what matters he is likely to be seen as personally benefiting from.
Two: Thomas quote me out of context when he wrote that I praised him for speaking out on television on some irregular things at UG. He chose not to contextualize my praise for him. The column of Thursday, May, 30, 2019 is headlined,” The quicker we speak up, the more we are likely to save this country.” While appreciating his courage to go on television and offer critical remarks on UG, I did write; “Well, Dr. Thomas has at last decided to speak out on controversial things taking place at UG. It has been a long wait – February 2018 to May 2019.” I hope Thomas sees there is a subliminal cynicism in those words. I hope he reads the meaning of the column’s title.
Three: Thomas spoke his critical remarks about UG on a television programme. Try accessing his words. Where can one find that item? Thomas is no fool. Had he made those observations in the mainstream media, in a fraction of a second one can obtain his words through a Google search.
Four: Thomas accuses me of hypocrisy by not speaking out against a Kaieteur News journalist who was stopped from investigating corruption involving a government minister. I am not a Kaieteur News insider. I have no administrative or any other standing at Kaieteur News. I don’t know such an incident occurred. Not one human in Guyana ever brought that to my attention. I am only hearing this now from Thomas.
This is strange. Why hasn’t that found space in the ubiquity of social media if in fact it did occur? I am obligated to the Guyanese people to speak on the imbroglio if in fact it did happen. It is for Thomas to expand. But equally strange is why Thomas has remained silent on such an abnormality if it was a factual occurrence?
Five: Here is where Thomas exposes his moral fragility. He wants me to write about victimization at my work-place but since 2016 when formidable questions hit the public airwaves on lack of transparency in UG’s governance, the nation has heard nothing from TIGI. Up to this day, not a line about the controversial three year tenure of former Vice Chancellor, Ivelaw Griffith.
Finally, I appreciate the work of TIGI in Guyana and do not intend anything personal against Dr. Thomas. But I will reveal what I honestly feel. Dr. Thomas used his higher authority in TIGI to evade comments on Professor Ivelaw Griffith because I think he feared victimization.
I spent four years as a UG student and 26 years as a lecturer. I have criticized the UG administration under the presidencies of Burnham, Hoyte, Jagan, Jagdeo and Ramotar. But never have I seen such terrible governance, financial recklessness and lack of transparency as what took place between June 2016 and June 2019. It was truly shocking. If TIGI failed to investigate what went on during Griffith’s tenure, it is not fit to continue its work in this society because it opens itself to the serious charge of double standards and of being fearful and frightened.
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