Kaieteur News – I have known Bryan McIntosh for a few years now because we live in the same compound. I got to know him better during the five-month election rigging drama when he was part of the Guardians for Democracy.
We have been talking about things in Guyana since March 2020. Recently, a video went viral with Bryan in a radical show of force against what he described as a wrong thing the Pegasus Hotel allegedly did – erection of a barrier to prevent vehicles from driving unto the Kingston beach.
The video shows him breaking down the barrier and making accusations against the owners of the hotel. When I watched that video, I saw me 40 years ago. But within those 40 years, I learnt with unlimited angst and broken dreams what a wasteland Guyana is where people have lost any courage to save civilisation. The man or woman who tries to save civilised norms in Guyana is going to feel that 40-year-old pain that I have endured. I was not going to let Bryan go down that sad pathway.
In a long conversation I showed him what my experience of over 50 years was like. My first offering was to avoid getting libel. Powerful people are going to sue, and ruin you if you lose. I advised Bryan that he could have accosted the owners of the Pegasus avoiding the adjectives he used. I used to express those adjectives and though they were relevant, I ended up with a large collection of libels.
My second sermon was the turmoil he will go through getting a lawyer to appear in court to save him. My newspaper made it clear to me 26 years ago, it will not fund any kind of court case from my action in society or writings in the newspaper. I have spent those 26 years begging lawyers to help. I looked at Bryan and said – “you want to go through that?” Then I said something and he shook his head and uttered, “you right.”
He must know the company he keeps. It will take more than two million dollars to engage a lawyer. The judgment, if he loses, may be in the vicinity of five to 10 million dollars. I told Bryan that is peanuts to some people who criticise politicians or businessmen. They will fork out that money as if it were peanuts if they were sued. My advice was to avoid protesting with critics that can spend money for libel while you don’t have a cent to your name.
My third admonition was the O’Neil Greaves saying. In my Tuesday column, I referred to what my UG colleague, O’Neil Greaves said to me moons ago, “Freddie when you look over your shoulder, your army won’t be there.” I told Bryan he got a massive outpouring of admiration for the seawall action and if he repeats a similar feat, the chants will be, “yes, Bryan, yes Bryan” but like me, when he looks over his shoulder, his army won’t be there.
I poured out all my experience to Bryan. I stood alone in the High Court with only my lawyers present. They were trying to save me from prison. Bishop Juan Edghill brought a contempt of court charge against me. His lawyer, Mr. Ashton Chase (90 years at the time) worded the writ in such a way that once the judge agreed that I was guilty of contempt, there was no alternative to imprisonment. It asked the court for “penal consequences.” No one was in court to cheer me up.
I always remember what the Pakistani Prime Minister proclaimed decades ago. He said he had fans that treated him like a hero. When it was time to build a cancer hospital in his mother’s name, his fans disappeared. Recently, the Stabroek News publicly published how it feels about me – it will choose the leaders of Transparency International-Guyana Chapter any day in front of me. No one wrote even one paragraph asking why.
Bryan McIntosh if he is going to continue on a radical course needs to do two things. I emphasised that. Look at my life’s experience and study the country you are fighting for. I warned him that Guyana is a very cruel, lost horizon. He should be extremely careful about radical activism. My solemn advice was to fight for what he believes in but avoid bringing on unnecessary destruction unto himself and think long and hard if Guyana is worth it.
Note: In yesterday’s column, Ms. Walton-Desir was mistaken for Tabitha Sarabo-Halley in the formation of a new political party. An apology is offered to Ms. Walton-Desir.
(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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