Kaieteur News – I know how the mind of a newspaper editor operates because I have been edited by several of them over the past 32 years. Though respecting your independence, there are times when an editor would subtly ask you to do a piece he/she is interested in. He/she wants the newspaper to carry an interpretation of a controversial story that’s riveting the nation.
I am at a loss to understand why the editor of the Stabroek News has not asked its weekly columnist, Dr. Clive Thomas, to do a few items reflecting on the five years he has held substantial state power. Looked at from any angle in any country, a person that is the State’s chief investigator for corruption and the head of the main industry is a person with formidable authority.
Since the fall of his party from power (WPA was part of the APNU outfit), not even a few paragraphs have been assigned to Thomas’ experience in government. Each week for the past few years, his weekly offering is on a subject he has no expertise in – the petroleum industry.
This is one of the current mockeries in Guyana. Thomas has published a book, dozens of published articles and more than four years of weekly columns on the sugar industry. Against that backdrop, he was made chairman of the sugar industry.
Why then is he writing on oil and not sugar, but more importantly, on his experience in managing the sugar industry? This is where an astute editor comes in. He has to tell Thomas what he perceives to be in the interest of the newspaper and what the readers want.
He cannot dictate for Thomas but he can gently nudge him in the direction that can stir the curiosity of readers. I repeat for emphasis – I have never written for an editor who did not politely ask me to touch on a controversial subject.
Thomas must know that he continues to appear silly in the eyes of Guyanese wherever they live in that, he was a “big, big” one in the government of APNU+AFC from 2015 to 2020 holding two crucial portfolios but he doesn’t write on two of those subject-areas. Thomas’ outpourings on oil are soporific, jejune and lack penetration. He is losing credibility if he hasn’t lost it already.
In any country, people would expect to hear what a person like Thomas has to say after his time in government is over. It is the same with Nagamootoo. This man was the second most powerful man in government for five years, but if you see what commentaries he does on his Facebook page, you will want to throw up and I honestly mean that without any insult.
Let me repeat what I described in my analysis yesterday just in case you missed it. You have to see these items to believe it. I was sent about 15 of them from his Facebook postings since I am not on Facebook. Nagamootoo is writing glowingly on Cheddi Jagan and Walter Rodney and disparagingly of Forbes Burnham. His utterances are accompanied by photos of him, Jagan, Rodney, anti-Burnham personalities from the seventies, and famous global ant-colonial figures he met during the seventies and eighties.
Most of the pieces are in this vein, plus, he utter excessive ranting about the present PPP administration. As I wrote in my column yesterday, there isn’t anything about his time as prime minister and any reflection on the five years of governance by his party, the AFC.
In one of his postings, he carries a picture of himself a few weeks ago in a barbershop in which he points out that he is still with the people of Berbice. The brutal reality in Berbice is that, Nagamootoo is not welcomed in his own hometown at Whim. In any survey of how the people of Berbice feel about Nagamootoo and Charrandass Persaud, the results would show he is the anti-Christ and Charrandass is a garlanded hero.
I don’t want Nagamootoo to sue me so I am not going comment on his state of mind. Yesterday I simply used the following words, “it appears that he is undergoing a different mental journey.” Two lawyers told me those words are not libelous.
To conclude then I think it is only in Guyana you would find a Thomas and a Nagamootoo. Most politicians, perhaps all of them, when they leave government or are thrown out, they feel an obligation to their country to explain their time in power. And the thing is, Thomas is in his eighties and Nagamootoo is near there. So maybe, Guyanese will never read about that part of their lives.
(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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