Jan 25, 2022 Letters
Kaieteur News – Freddie Kissoon wrote a praiseworthy down to earth fitting tribute to Yesu Persaud describing him as a kind of a loving father who cares to see his children succeed (Jan 24). Yesu also helped many others financially. And he supported many politicians from both sides of the aisle. He facilitated my research and my polling surveys though not with financial assistance.
When I visited Guyana, I would stop in his office going back to 1988/89 to say hello or phoned him when there to interact on current affairs. He would urge me to come by and warmly receive me with bear hugs praising my writings on varied issues and political activism against the dictatorship. I was at several of his meetings when GUARD was formed. Freddie may not remember, but I met him twice at the DDL office of Yesu on High Street just exchanging greetings. I also met him briefly at a few other locations. Freddie was always busy gathering research information with no time for social interaction.
As Freddie would have found, Yesu was a most charming individual, very knowledgeable on world affairs. He exchanged views on world events. He took me to lunch a few times at Pegasus and I was also at his 90th anniversary puja and some other birthday puja (80th or 85th) at Peter Hall Mandir conducted by Pandit Vishnu Panday. He also had his driver taking me around in his official car for several of my errands. Yesu was very helpful in my research on Indian indentureship in his office.
Yesu led a group that ‘digitized’ the archive on Indian indentureship. I used the documents at his office – there was a hard copy as well as on the computer and floppies (the large black computer discs). Post 2000, Yesu told me he lent the discs to someone who had not returned them. Whoever is in possession of the discs, can you please make them available for public research! Yesu had confidence and trust in me. When one of his sons (who was settled in Canada) visited India, he asked me to check up on him. I visited the hotel (Yatri Niwas) in Delhi to check up on the son over twenty years ago taking him to breakfast. A terrific youngster at the time.
Separately, I agree with Freddie Kissoon (Jan 23) that Caricom (and the world) must have been sickened to what Guyana has become – sinking from a progressive democracy with one of the highest per capita income in the region and in the Third World at independence (1966) to the lowest per capita in the region and a standard of living worse than Haiti during the 1980s and early 1990s
Freddie rightly chastised those who condemned Jair Bolsanro but not those who attempted to rig the 2020 elections. Like Freddie, I have no respect for those who were silent on rigging but developed courage to speak out on other issues. Activists condemn Jair Bolsanaro for what they see as his racist rule in Brazil (Jan 1 2019 to now) but not those who governed Guyana between 1965 and 1992 and May 2015 to July 2020. Those Guyanese rulers were more racist than the allegations made by the group against Bolsonaro. Is it that they don’t care about the victims of racism in Guyana?
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