Kaieteur News – Please see my column, in case you missed it, of Friday, September 23, 2022, “People live in mortal fear of the US, UK, Canadian diplomats in Guyana.” I stand by every word that is printed in that column.
I have achieved 34 years of a presence in the media both in the print media and in local television and in those three and a half decades people have been emotional about the wrong things the American, Canadian and British embassies have done to them, and the refrain has always been the same – “Please Mr. Kissoon, don’t mention my name, I don’t want to be victimized.”
That plea has been given to me throughout my media career. It has not stopped. From every walk of life in this country – rich people, governmental leaders, journalists, professionals, etc, there is mortal fear of being victimized with visa denial if you criticize these embassies.
They question is; is the justified? You are naïve if you think if you criticize these embassies in Georgetown, you name will not go into their data base. I can live my life happily if my visa is denied. I do not have a visa for any country except one – Timbuktu
Of course you are also naïve if you think this is an exception. All embassies for all governments put names of journalists, columnists and critical academic thinkers into their data base. If you criticize Mexico, as I did years ago on this page, the Mexican embassy here would put you in its data base.
I wrote on this page a few years ago that Mexico was a failed state. The ambassador was annoyed and broke the diplomatic code by replying to me. I still hold that view. I don’t know if I will get a visa for Mexico; not I will ever apply for one. Not at my age.
The diplomats of course have an iron-proof alibi- “we do not comment on embassy matters.” So I was nearly injured when I read the US Ambassador saying there needs to be more inclusivity in governance in Guyana.
I was drinking hot coffee while reading the newspaper and when I saw Ms. Sarah-Ann Lynch uttered those words, for the umpteenth time, as so many times in the past, the hot liquid burnt through my pajama trousers and I was injured. The shock caused my hand to tremble.
The envoy should practice what she preaches. The US ambassador should implement inclusivity in its financial donations to different organization in Guyana. The US embassy bankrolls an LGBTQ entity named SASOD and no other group in the broad category of rights activism gets money from the embassy.
In fact SASOD was started with funds from the US embassy. SASOD receives its funds from mainly the US embassy with occasional donations from the Canadian and British High Commissions. The EU mission here also donates funds to SASOD. Those funds pay the monthly rent of SASOD’s Charlotte Street office.
I have the right to express an opinion on people and organizations once I avoid two pathways – fictional libel and scurrilous vocabulary. It is my opinion that SASOD is an anti-Indian outfit and is zealously anti-government; take that to mean anti-PPP.
I once heard a SASOD personality in the presence of several women rights activists, outside the OASIS Café on Carmichael Street used the infamous ethnic slang word, that is, the C-word to describe the PPP leadership. And those present laughed.
One needs to mention also that there are no term limits for SASOD office holders. Its head, Joel Simpson has been there since the empire of Timbuktu disintegrated. My question is – how can the US embassy bankroll such an organization?
The same question should be put to the other western missions in Guyana. I doubt very much that the Guyana Human Rights Association; Article 13; ACDA; Indian Arrival Committee, renamed Indian Action Committee; Red Thread; Election Reform Group, Civil Society Forum among others get money from the US embassy and western missions.
The question is why not? Why is the US embassy not practicing inclusivity with regards to civil society organizations? We will never know because embassies do not comment publicly on embassy outputs.
Interestingly, a competitor to SASOD was formed in 2020. This is a more politically neutral body although one of its founders is close to one of the PPP big names. My point is why SASOD is such a special child of the western embassies?
I close with my position on homosexuality. I have no objection to LGBTQ activities. I am not against same sex marriage. I simply want to know why a questionable organization like SASOD gets so much money from the US embassy.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of this newspaper and its affiliates.)
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