May 22, 2021 Freddie Kissoon
Kaieteur News- My wife was annoyed that I wrote the following words in my March 23, 2021 column “I never liked Gaskin. See my revulsion of him as a Stabroek News columnist in 1989. That is 31 years ago. I still harbour the identical dislike.” She intoned that I should not write like that about other people.
My wife never took an interest in politics. I, on the other hand have chalked up more than 50 years of activism plus 32 years in the media. I know the other side of humans and it has scared me since I was 10. In three libel cases, Ramon Gaskin was the chief witness for the plaintiff, Dr. Walter Ramsahoye.
In testimony in front of different judges, Gaskin could have caused me and this newspaper hundreds of millions of dollars in libel. But here is the thing. Gaskin told fictions on the stand. He told the court I failed my doctoral dissertation. When Justice Cummings-Edwards asked him how he knew that, he said one of my professors told him so. None of my professors would not have even responded to Gaskin if he had said hello to them.
I accept my wife’s concern and I am going run the risk of annoying her again when I say I never liked Rex McKay and will never like him. It is my right to say if I like someone or not. I am not being hypocritical or pretending by hiding my feeling. The Donald Rodney conviction for possessing ammunition is over after 40 years. The DPP testified in the appeal that there was no evidence to convict Rodney.
A citizen in this country has a choice, which natural law empowers them to make, without fear of reprisal. Donald says he was convicted on false evidence. He told me so as recent as last week. McKay would say no since he was the prosecutor. Who do you believe? I believe Donald.
Mr. McKay is in his nineties and should tell Guyanese about the evidence he presented against Donald. I sat in the High Court every day in 1976 when McKay (Forbes Burnham trusted McKay more than any other person in the world at the time; even more than Dr. Ptolemy Reid) was the prosecutor in the trumped up murder charge Prime Minister Burnham brought against PPP Berbice activist, Arnold Rampersaud.
I will never forget a day in the trial that caused me to begin disliking McKay. Witnesses were brought in that simply lied about what they saw. I will never forget how an academic who taught physics at the time at UG brought down McKay when McKay tried to belittle his testimony.
The defence called Father Malcolm Rodriguez to testify about how the witnesses could have seen the shooting, given the angles that were involved and it was pitch dark that night. McKay should have stuck to law but tried to confuse Father Rodriguez about physics, an area of science that the man was an expert in.
It was a pathetic sight to see how McKay’s ignorance about science actually caused the jury to acquit Rampersaud at the third trial after the first two trials resulted in split verdicts. For McKay’s conduct in those three trials see the powerfully moving book on contemporary Guyanese history by one of Guyana’s powerfully, moving journalists, Father Andrew Morrison. The book – “Justice: The Struggle for Democracy in Guyana, 1952-1992.”
I was one of the invitees at the admission to the Bar of Christopher Ram. I stood next to Andaiye. As Rex McKay walked in, Andaiye turned to me to give her impression of McKay. At 92, I don’t know if McKay will sue for libel but I will not take that chance so I will not state what Andaiye said.
McKay has had a long relation with both the PNC and Forbes Burnham. This explains why he has done a plethora of cases for successive PNC governments and the PNC itself as recent as months ago with the election petition. I never forgot McKay jumping around the courtroom of Justice Donald Trotman in a libel writ brought against me by a former UG Vice Chancellor, shouting out that I stole books from the national library.
It was hilarious from my point of view because I read about McKay in the Guyana Graphic in the 1950s long before he became a lawyer. I wrote about it. I remember eating fish and plantain chips with famous insurance businessman, Bish Panday, one night at Nicky’s Fish Shop and Bish said I was criticised for writing that thing. Yes, I do not like McKay because I love Donald Rodney.
(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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