Kaieteur News – I am responding to a statement about me in KN yesterday by GRA boss, Godfrey Statia. I am rejecting Mr. Statia’s statement. I did write him. He passed on my letter and I got a reply.
The contents of this column have only now been divulged but they were conveyed some time ago to Norman Brown of the PNC group in London, UK. Mr. Brown and I have nothing in common in terms of our perspectives on Guyanese politics but I regard him as a decent man who will not manipulate African Guyanese people and we continue to share a correct friendship.
Here now are the antecedents on the facts about the letter that Mr. Statia denies I had sent him. From 1992, I have been offered an infinitesimal concession by the GRA each time I register a new car. It began under the presidency of Cheddi Jagan and the GRA under Mr. Heyliger. It continued under Presidents Jagdeo and Ramotar and GRA boss Khurshid Sattaur.
On one occasion when I bought a new car, the GRA queried the concession. And even though I was critical of Mr. Sattaur, I complained to him. I will never forget his reaction in his office. I swear on my parents’ grave this is how behaved. He jumped from his seat and said: “Wuh rass is this! Yuh gun write Khurshid Sattaur did dat to you. Boy nah me, nah, me.” He picked up the phone and that was that.
In 2019, Mr. Statia during the government of the APNU+AFC stopped the tiny concession. I knew that was the Freddie Kissoon thing at work. I have lived with the Freddie Kissoon syndrome all my life in my own country. I wrote Mr. Statia on August 13, 2019. I went to the GRA. The security detail asked for my business. I told him I wanted to deliver a letter to Mr. Statia’s secretary. I was told I cannot do that. A gentleman was summoned and I had to give him the letter.
I have been critical of President Jagdeo and Mr. Sattaur but never during those times have I been treated with such disdain by the GRA as what happened after 2015. Mr. Statia’s secretary’s policy is not to speak to me. GRA on May 9, 2017 issued a libelous statement against me in the Chronicle. Mr. Statia wrote a long condemnatory letter against me as the GRA boss in the Kaieteur News on November 15, 2019.
Months went by. I did not hear from him. His secretary would not speak to me on the phone. I asked Adam Harris and Leonard Gildarie for the cell number of Mr. Statia. I cannot recall the number of times I called Mr. Statia.
I wrote again but no success. I spoke on the phone to two of the GRA’s most senior officers who told me Mr. Statia forwarded my letter for them to act on it but the final decision rests with Mr. Statia. I know it was the Freddie Kissoon thing. I tried another angle. At the time, David Hinds was one of my closest friends. I know he had huge influence in 2019 with the government seeing the election campaign was on.
I asked him to meet me and my dog at the seawall bandstand early in the morning. He came and I requested he dialogue with Mr. Statia. Days after, he told me that Mr. Statia was unmoved. But David said my request will be granted because he will call Minister Joe Harmon for it to be done. Days after he told me that Harmon said he was reluctant to approach Mr. Statia.
On October 10, 2019, I received a letter signed by a senior GRA functionary informing me that Mr. Statia had rejected my request. After a Kaieteur Radio interview, Mr. Statia mingled with the staff and brought up his revocation of my concession. Mr. Statia must have known he was talking with my friends. Interestingly, since the rejection, several people have been given the concession GRA withdrew from me. I met a gentleman at the Rubis gas station recently who was given the concession.
Naim Chan, the talk show host from CNS channel 6 has asked me for a television interview. He said the first question he will ask me is if I am a lonely man given the nature of my political activism. I told him I was not. I could never be lonely once I have Janet Kissoon. But I would be a depraved liar if I say I wasn’t disappointed at the way my country has turned out since I became politically active at age 16.
In his letter yesterday, Mr. Statia referred to me as a senior citizen. I’m glad I am, so I could spend my remaining years with my great wife without having to encounter the Freddie Kissoon syndrome until I die.
(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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