Aug 14, 2022 Letters
A rich soil of fertility is born when people reply to columnists and other analysts. It gives the respondent a chance to educate those who are interested in the intellectual rivers that flow in their country and history become replete with research material that future generation can learn from.
There have been several replies to one of my columns in which I declined an invitation by Mr. Nohar Singh, owner of Globe-Span, a Zoom programme hosted by persons who do not live in Guyana.
My point was succinct and direct. A format where an interviewer from country ‘A’ questions a guest about country ‘B’ is flawed for one fundamental and commonsensical reason – the interviewer has to have residency in the country from which relevant knowledge is derived. A smart phone cannot replace residency because actual presence in the country offers you priceless information that you will not get from a smart phone.
My column mentioned five interviewers who do not live in Guyana – Charles Sugrim, Paul Tennassee, Asquith Rose, Vishnu Bisram and Isabelle DeCaires. Three of the interviewees or guests – Alissa Trotz, Arif Bulkan and Baytoram Ramharack – do not live in Guyana.
There was not one word of commentary by me on the names. There were absolutely no critical words on the eight individuals mentioned. My task was the format, not the personalities. As usual, there was an outpouring of criticism from the Globe-Span crew and Freddie Kissoon became the issue not the Globe-Span format which was what the column was all about.
Asquith Rose got personal but that doesn’t bother me. After more than 50 years in social activism and 34 years in the media, I could not be bothered with the Freudian concentration in people’s minds about my work. Just one example of Freudianism should suffice.
When Aubrey Norton was competing to be leader of the PNC, he was interviewed by Rose on the Globe-Span programme. Alongside Norton was his supporter, Sharma Solomon. In a moment that must have shocked every viewer, Rose asked a weird question. He asked both guests what they thought of Freddie Kissoon.
Someone by the name of Vassan Ramracha replied in yesterday’s KN and devoted 90 percent of his composition to telling me how he and others fought against President Burnham 50 years ago as New York migrants. I remind readers – the issue was foreign-based interviewers hosting Guyanese who live in Guyana.
But read on and you will see how Ramracha contradicted himself. Here I quote from him; “Bisram spent a lot of his time in Guyana over the last two decades and perhaps more time in Guyana than in the US over the last seven years.”
I could use a strong adjective to describe the mentality of Ramracha. But this was my original point. You have to be in the country to know it before you can interview Guyanese living here.
Ramracha makes out a case for Bisram having the competence to interview Guyanese because he describes Bisram as living more in Guyana than in the US which is his home. This was all that I was saying in the column. If you do not have to be in the nation to interview people, then, why would Ramracha mention the prolonged presence of Bisram in Guyana?
But here is quote from Ramracha that reveals what a columnist has to deal with; “Freddie does not travel all over Guyana.” Well at least I am still in Guyana. Not only do the Globe-Span interviewers not travel all over Guyana, they don’t travel at all in Guyana because they don’t live in Guyana.
In the KN last Friday, Charles Sugrim joined the chorus. He writes; “Freddie is not a friendly person.” I never heard about a man name Charles Sugrim. Never saw a man named Charles Sugrim. Never spoke to a man named Charles Sugrim. How does Charles Sugrim know I am not a friendly person? He does not. Because he does not live in Guyana. He has never interacted with me.
Read the replies to me by the Globe-Span fan club and you will see how bizarre the world is. There is a movie named, “The boys are back” with Clive Owen. The sports correspondent could not go to Australia to cover the tennis tournament so he reported on it for his network sitting inside his home using the coverage of CNN.
Maybe the world’s networks do not have to pay correspondents to cover the invasion of the Ukraine and CPL cricket next month in Guyana. The networks could rely on the smart phones of those in the Ukraine and Guyana. Stupidity is a mental thought process that has more energy than a nuclear bomb.
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