Kaieteur News – I get queries each year from people wanting to know about this or that person or event. Many emails would contain useful information about things, places, events and people long, long ago, some of which have never been published and cannot be published for fear of libel.
The examples are many and space would not allow for just one percent. I got an email from a Guyanese living in London who was a close colleague of a certain controversial and racist trade unionist. I was given information about the betraying things that this trade unionist had done in the past that remain secret up to this day.
The information is very detailed, and I was advised to contact three well-known persons, all of whom are in advanced age. I only got hold of one of them who is quite known in trade union circles and showed him the email.
I simply do not have the time or resources to follow up on many of the things I receive, and in several instances, information is hard to come by because many of the folks are of advanced age in foreign lands. I was told that there is a former newspaper vendor nearing his nineties who lives in Annandale, who has knowledge of many racially driven acts of Eusi Kwayana when they were both young.
It turned out the man no longer lives in Annandale and resides in Lusignan. I am not going to repeat the racial indiscretions about Kwayana in the 1960s that the gentleman described. I leave it at that for now. For me Kwayana is an iconic failure but these things need to be recorded. A caveat is in order. Many politicians in those days were the Indian version of Kwayana.
Once I am alive and writing, I will record history. The coming generations need to know their country’s history. Of course, you have to avoid the path of libel when you write about those who are still alive. Nothing in Guyana is more ubiquitous than libel writs. You can find more libel writs in Guyana than the national flower – the Victoria Regia.
Before I move on, there was a libel judgment handed down recently that is of immense value to the media and political society. It just passed by without being highlighted. Justice, Gino Persaud, denied then Minister, Annette Ferguson, an injunction against the Guyana Times and then Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo. Every Guyanese should read his delivery. It is based on sound philosophical judgment of the right of a society to know in circumstances where that knowledge is important for society. Space is not available, but I will return to it in a future column.
Back to the recording of history. Those who are alive will sue for the exposure of the grievous wrongs they have committed. Those who did many such wrongs and who are dead, the present generation needs to know about their misdeeds. Former Chief Justice, Ian Chang, is dead. Former GRA Chief, Khurshid Sattaur, is dead. Former army boss, Godwin McPherson, is dead. Many of the lieutenants of Burnham and Hoyte who violated people’s rights are dead. Of course, Hamilton Green is alive.
I don’t have a problem with people publishing prodigious eulogies about eminent Guyanese; that is their right. As a social activist for over 50 years, a media operative for over 32 years and an academic for over 40 years, I know things about my country that must be passed on to the coming generations. I will write because I know that is my obligation to history and my country.
I will end with a little encounter. I was at the northern entrance of Movie Towne waiting for Charandass Persaud, who was coming from Berbice. I was standing at the entrance when a car with a young man and young woman drove up and stopped. The gentleman greeted me, identified himself as the son of the late GRA boss, Khurshid Sattaur, and said he was happy that I wrote about his father, telling me he had nothing against me.
I then requested $72,000 from the young man. I told him his father owed me that. In his episodes of victimization of me, he left all the white-collar workers in Guyana and all the UG lecturers and demanded that a poor soul like me pay property tax going back seven years. Christopher Ram did the work for me for free. I ended up paying GRA $72,000. I could not have afforded it and it was wrong what Sattaur did to me. His son has promised to pay. (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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