There is a disclaimer at the bottom of my columns from management which explicitly asserts that these reflections, viewpoints, emanations, outlooks, offerings, analyses are not necessarily the policies the newspaper embraces.
I will not make any comment on the philosophical stamp of the Stabroek News, a national institution and an independent sister newspaper. It would be impertinent of me to delineate the shape of that newspaper’s philosophical outlook.
But briefly, having read the Stabroek News each day since the day of voting on March 2, it is clear to the world the newspaper, like the Kaieteur News, has taken an ideological position on free and fair elections in general not only in Guyana. When a newspaper does this, then op-ed pieces cannot ignore these valued guidelines. Against this argument, I don’t believe Henry Jeffrey’s support of the caricature that still goes on as an election count should be tolerated.
Jeffrey does not even hide his subjective banalities by citing at least one situation where one can conclude that the opposition PPP and other opposition parties rigged the 2020 poll. In several columns, the infuriating, ugly biases are regurgitated to the point of disgust.
Here are the two recurrent ugly decimals in Jeffrey’s so-called academic ramblings. One is that an election’s fairness has to be judged by the electoral list and since Guyana’s list was a bloated one, the 2020 poll cannot be classified as free and untainted. This asininity has been debunked by a social scientist far more intellectually finessed than Jeffrey. Peter Wickham pointed out that Barbados has a similarly swollen list but the removable names have never voted. It is the identical situation in Guyana. An ill-shaped list can only vitiate the results of the 2020 election if the bloated list was operationalized. That did not happen. The unnecessary names of dead and migrated people did not vote including my deceased mother-in-law whose names remained on the list but no one voted for her.
Jeffrey’s second pathetic refrain is that both parties have been rigging elections in the past and 2020 was no exception. That’s it! No proof, no description of how the opposition did the rigging, no explanation of how such a tight manual voting system could have been manipulated and hundreds of local and international observers and thousands of election agents missed it. Jeffrey’s position on the election is an abuse of press freedom.
Next is my own newspaper – Kaieteur News. It was brought to my attention that in the Chronicle, Lincoln Lewis has announced that he has stopped his Sunday columns. I do not have influence with the editorial management of this newspaper but it was expected that Lewis and Jeffrey were violating the principles under which a newspaper published.
Since the Second World War, the birth of the United Nations, the assertion of the decolonized Third world and the rise of the feminist movement worldwide, newspapers have adopted some inflexible positions on certain values that hold civilization together, These values are numerous and include the recognition that the subject of the Holocaust must never be treated lightly, the equality of gender, and the upholding of the value of racial equality.
It is unthinkable that a newspaper in the 21st century would approve a column on genetic inferiority among races; acceptance that women do not deserve the same pay scale as men; vigilante justice should supplement police work; free and fair elections are not relevant to governance; people should be hanged for death by dangerous driving, etc.
No newspaper, once it has a philosophical outlook that encapsulates the values that are necessary for civilization to continue should publish these anathematic expressions. The country of Guyana was virtually crippled for decades because it did not have competitive elections. In, March 2020, democratic elections were halted and a rigging process replaced it.
I would like to think that the Stabroek News and the Kaieteur News, along with prominent, independent regional newspapers have, as part of their editorial outlook, the priceless value of free elections.
On this basis, the Kaieteur News and Stabroek News should not allow expressions that justify what Mingo did, what Lowenfield did, what GECOM Secretariat did, and what APNU+AFC is doing. A media house has to stand for something. Jeffrey, Lewis and Hinds will say if they are not stopped, the unthinkable – Guyana should not have elections because the APNU+AFC is a superior moral force to all other parties and politicians and the APNU+AFC deserve to run Guyana permanently. Actually David Hinds had come out and said that Kaieteur News is a better newspaper without Lewis.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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