April 26, 2015

Provocation!

Dear Editor,
The matter involving the Minister of Health is one of much provocation by that female who calls herself a rights activist. What rights is she defending or promoting? I guess the rights to provoke and to be disrespectful to all and sundry.
This is the example she is portraying to other women – that you have a mouth, so you can open it and say anything, anywhere, anytime and anyhow. There are those among us who have no respect for time and place, talking about rights which they misuse.
Some of their favourite terms include: freedom of speech, so they talk out of place and no one dareS touch them. This is a public road, so the law cannot remove them.
What connection did she have with the court matter in question? Has she a right to be there and not anyone else? What was that right? Who was she to question the Minister on his presence there?
She claimed to be a tax payer whose money pays the Minister, and because of that he ought not to be there!

Name withheld by request

Share Button

Our youths have faculties to analyse for themselves

Dear Editor,
Before I treat with the thrust of my contribution, I must compliment Fire Chief Gentle and his brave team for averting major disaster at McDoom a few days ago. Kudos must also go to Commander Hicken and his personnel for taking control of the affected corridor.
Now, my take on our nation’s youths.
Thousands of youths throughout Guyana have been exposed to numerous workshops and other training programmes organised by a host of agencies: the Government, political parties, diplomatic  missions, sporting bodies; the list is long.
The expected outcome of all these initiatives is that our youths will be more analytic and pragmatic in how and what they say and do; in their perspectives of who they will be in another few years and the contributions they will make to developing Guyana.
After all, aren’t they the leaders of tomorrow?
Our youths of voting age account for about 45 per cent of our electorate and I will wager that at least 85 per cent of them have a secondary school education. By any standard that is flattering. We have a pretty educated youth population.
But what is not flattering is the utterance by many youths of voting age that they have no interest in voting at the upcoming May 11 elections. How can we on one hand lay claim to being educated, analytical, pragmatic, while on the other hand express disinterest in the direction and goings-on of our country?
As a cricket coach of sorts and (part-time) trainer in leadership, I interact with youths and I find that they can be pretty incisive. But there is also a strong tendency on their part to be swayed towards perception rather than hard, substantiated facts.
It is as if they are reluctant (not unable) to “sus” out the reality from the perception. And this is my observation as I visit communities of all ethnicities.
To be leaders and parents of tomorrow requires the willingness to accept the obligations and challenges of leaders and parents. Decisions on whether to purchase a house or a vehicle or making a baby or voting at elections must be premised on measurables, not suppositions or perceptions.
My call to that 40-plus per cent of youths who are qualified to vote is that you exercise your franchise in recognition of your ability to analyse and to make your own decision.
Do not let leaders  with narrow interests influence you on how to vote. Rather, vote on the basis of issues about which you know rather than on perceptions drummed into you by others.
Use your own judgement!  You have been educated to do that!

Taajnauth Jadunauth

Share Button

Provocation!

Dear Editor,
The matter involving the Minister of Health is one of much provocation by that female who calls herself a rights activist. What rights is she defending or promoting? I guess the rights to provoke and to be disrespectful to all and sundry.

This is the example she is portraying to other women – that you have a mouth, so you can open it and say anything, anywhere, anytime and anyhow. There are those among us who have no respect for time and place, talking about rights which they misuse.

Some of their favourite terms include: freedom of speech, so they talk out of place and no one dareS touch them. This is a public road, so the law cannot remove them.

What connection did she have with the court matter in question? Has she a right to be there and not anyone else? What was that right? Who was she to question the Minister on his presence there?
She claimed to be a tax payer whose money pays the Minister, and because of that he ought not to be there!

Name withheld by request

Share Button

Our youths have faculties to analyse for themselves

Dear Editor,
Before I treat with the thrust of my contribution, I must compliment Fire Chief Gentle and his brave team for averting major disaster at McDoom a few days ago. Kudos must also go to Commander Hicken and his personnel for taking control of the affected corridor.

Now, my take on our nation’s youths.

Thousands of youths throughout Guyana have been exposed to numerous workshops and other training programmes organised by a host of agencies: the Government, political parties, diplomatic  missions, sporting bodies; the list is long.

The expected outcome of all these initiatives is that our youths will be more analytic and pragmatic in how and what they say and do; in their perspectives of who they will be in another few years and the contributions they will make to developing Guyana.

After all, aren’t they the leaders of tomorrow?

Our youths of voting age account for about 45 per cent of our electorate and I will wager that at least 85 per cent of them have a secondary school education. By any standard that is flattering. We have a pretty educated youth population.

But what is not flattering is the utterance by many youths of voting age that they have no interest in voting at the upcoming May 11 elections. How can we on one hand lay claim to being educated, analytical, pragmatic, while on the other hand express disinterest in the direction and goings-on of our country?
As a cricket coach of sorts and (part-time) trainer in leadership, I interact with youths and I fin

d that they can be pretty incisive. But there is also a strong tendency on their part to be swayed towards perception rather than hard, substantiated facts.
It is as if they are reluctant (not unable) to “sus” out the reality from the perception. And this is my observation as I visit communities of all ethnicities.
To be leaders and parents of tomorrow requires the willingness to accept the obligations and challenges of leaders and parents. Decisions on whether to purchase a house or a vehicle or making a baby or voting at elections must be premised on measurables, not suppositions or perceptions.

My call to that 40-plus per cent of youths who are qualified to vote is that you exercise your franchise in recognition of your ability to analyse and to make your own decision.

Do not let leaders  with narrow interests influence you on how to vote. Rather, vote on the basis of issues about which you know rather than on perceptions drummed into you by others.

Use your own judgement!  You have been educated to do that!

Taajnauth Jadunauth

Share Button

GRA has zero tolerance for unprofessional conduct

Dear Editor,

Given its mandate to collect and secure revenue for the state, the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) cannot and will not countenance any misdemeanours or slippages where security is concerned.

In the past those slippages have cost the GRA great shame, criticism and unwarranted public attention, all of which have prompted management of the Authority to put corrective measures in place.

As taxpayers visit the Authority’s central office in large numbers on a daily basis, security officers on the ground floor are responsible for directing members of the public to the appropriate area.

They also regulate the queues and number of taxpayers in the lobby area in an effort to ensure timely and orderly transactions.

This policy is reiterated in response to a letter in the April 22 Edition of the Guyana Chronicle, captioned “GRA security distracted by non-security activities,” which alleges that “the security personnel stationed at the entrance of the building was occupied with activities, mostly not security related”.

The public should be reminded that directing and conversing with the public is part of the security’s inevitable responsibilities. Nevertheless the GRA can only reiterate that it expects its officers, whether security or otherwise to act professionally, particularly in the eyes of the observant taxpaying public.

Moreover, as an agency with a mandate to provide quality service, the GRA expects nothing less than a high quality performance from its staff so that the services required of the Revenue Authority by the various clients are delivered.

In light of the foregoing complaint by the taxpayer, the matter is being addressed with a view of taking corrective measures if there is such a need. The GRA also wishes to thank the concerned person for highlighting the issue.

Public Relations Dept

GRA

Share Button

Toll gates and food as weapons

Dear Editor,

As a young adult in Guyana I weighed 110 pounds because of the limited amount of food that was available to me in the 1980s. This was because food of any kind was in short supply.

The PNC/APNU wanted to starve Berbicians into submission because of their supporting for the PPP.

Berbicians tried to supplement their food supplies by going to Suriname to bring back sardines, potatoes, salt fish, peas and other basic food items. These were considered contraband – the equivalent of the possession of cocaine, and punishable by fines and jail times.

To punish Berbicians even further, the PNC/APNU installed toll gates. These were installed to further penalize an already malnourished population. But to further insist on showing their hatred the PNC/APNU installed three toll gates in the Corentyne area.

The toll gates were used not only to extort money from an impoverished section of the population but to seize food items coming from across the border and to intimidate the people of the Corentyne.

The toll gates were used to stop and frisk everyone who traveled on the public road. The women were forced to stay away from traveling on the public road to save themselves from the embarrassment of being fondled by the thugs guarding the toll gates.

I am once again being threatened by Moses and the PNC/APNU that I should not remember those horrible days. I am further afraid that if I do not inform the current generation of the horrors I suffered by people like David Granger that I would have neglected my responsibility as a human being.

Let my experience serve as a guide to what can happen again if you let yourself be fooled by Moses and his new found friends. Say never again to anyone who tells you to forget the past.

Let your history serve you to its fullest.

 

Ganesh Persaud

Share Button

Let’s stand with the youth leader and the new order

Dear Editor

Marissa Nadir is the youngest political leader in Guyana today, the youngest presidential candidate in Guyana, a qualified attorney at law who came through TUF’s youth arm the Guyana United Youth Society (GUYS).

I as the oldest (in membership) serving member of TUF am proud to have this young patriotic youth coming out to give our young people a voice in Parliament. Yes, young people of all walks of life, of all races, of all religions especially the growing youths out there.

When Marissa enters Parliament after the next elections it would not be Marissa alone in Parliament, and all the other youths of our party, but it would be all tens of thousands who for the first time will be having a say in matters concerning them.

In the past, as a young teenager Marissa would sit at our Executive meetings, she would draw up a chair away from us and listen attentively to our debates which were not only about party matters, but also matters of the nation. When her father was not too keen on having her at a particular discussion he would tell her to ask the Chairman for leave.

Marissa’s elevation to leader and presidential candidate of TUF was done at an Executive meeting when I nominated her for that post. If voters could remember well there was a lot of commotion as to Valerie Lowe who well benefited in the 2011 election amidst all the challenges.

Valerie Lowe had switched and immediately became a member of AFC (Always Fooling Citizens). Lowe got into Parliament after that election.

Today, as Marissa and her party enter this 2015 elections we have been telling our supporters that this election is not about one race verses the other as in the past, or the rich verses the poor. This election is about youth verses the past. It is the first time and praise to God the young people out there will be able to hold their heads real high and proclaim title.

This can only be realized by supporting a party like TUF. Our young people have for too long been only a pawn in the political game. I as an elder person with my family will be voting for Marissa and TUF on May 11 and, when those votes are counted, I as an elderly person can say I on my own have made a contribution to the future.

Youths, you too can contribute to the development of young people. This can only be done by voting for the “Sun” symbol of TUF. Marissa Nadir and company need your support young people and those of us who would live to see youth leading our land will be proud.

Marissa is not of the bourgeois class, she like her father was born in Albouystown (at the corners of James and Hogg streets). Her door is always open to anyone with problems. I know my children had and she was there for them. I first met her as a child of eight years old when I went to see the Nadirs.

At that time they were living opposite Sophia in Garnett Street. I came up on my cycle and went to the yard. She was at the pipe and I asked this child does Mr Nadir live here? With that she shut the pipe and shouted, “Daddy, someone is here to you. Now here was this middle age man who this child had never seen.

She did not run up the stairs in fear, nor did she look at me with suspicion or question. She treated me like a human being. Today, that child is the same race and gender neutral person, a political gift to you. Young people have been offered and Guyana accepts Marissa Nadir and party.

For the first time, a real chance is being offered. Accept Marissa and her party, they are the new order. No Manzoor Nadir and her mother had nothing to do with this. It is we the members of TUF. Let’s stand with Marissa the youth leader and the new order.

Murtland Williams

Share Button

No other party suffered denial of democracy like PPP/C

Dear Editor,

There is a saying that those who look for faults can find nothing else. As the elections fever picks up momentum, the Opposition parties will go on overdrive to paint the ruling PPP/C as inept and unsuitable to continue in office for another term.

The fact is that there is no Government known to man that could be considered flawless. The same is true for individuals. We are all prone to making mistakes.

As the great Russian leader and revolutionary V I Lenin once said: “He is not wise who makes no mistakes. There are no such men, nor can there be. He is wise who make not serious mistakes and who corrects them easily and quickly.”

Life is all about making choices and having to adjust and re-adjusting plans and strategies. In the final analysis, it is the extent to which we are successful in overcoming obstacles and confronting challenges that really matters and defines us as individuals. The same is true of organisations including political organisations.

It is in this context that the PPP/C has to be judged. In and out of office, the PPP/C has consistently championed the cause of a free and democratic Guyana. The PPP/C always fought for and remained a strong advocate for parliamentary democracy based on the principle of one man, one vote.

Indeed, no other party in Guyana suffered as much from the denial of democracy and democratic rule like the PPP/C.

In 1953, the PPP was removed from office in what could be described as a constitutional coup. In 1964 it was engineered out of office as a result of what former British Minister Harold Wilson described as a ‘fiddled constitutional arrangement.’

In the ‘elections’ of 1968, the PPP was cheated from office in rigged elections which persisted until October 1992. In the elections of 1997, the PPP/C was forced to give up two years of its elected mandate despite winning a decisive victory in certified free and fair elections.

This repeated itself in 2014 when President Donald Ramotar was forced to initially prorogue and then dissolve parliament following the threat of a No-Confidence Motion by the combined parliamentary Opposition.

In every instance, the PPP/C was the victim of an aberration of democracy and the democratic process for which it has always been the major proponent.

There are some who accused the PPP and Dr Jagan of having made tactical mistakes during the 1950s and the 1960s which resulted in him being out-manoeuvred by Forbes Burnham into losing political office in the elections of 1964.

Similar accusations were made with respect to the signing of the Duncan Sandy’s Agreement which paved the way for the introduction of Proportional Representation as opposed to the First Pass the Post method which resulted in the PPP losing power to a PNC-UF coalition in the elections of 1964.

Our present Constitution does not allow for a post-election coalition Government as in 1964. Had the electorate known in advance that the United Force and the PNC would have entered into a coalition to unseat the PPP, voting preferences might have been different and the votes for the right-wing UF which came mainly from Amerindian and East Indian segment of the voting population significantly reduced.

One positive feature of our present constitution is that it removes any doubt as to any likely post election political configuration as voters go with their eyes wide open as to which party or combination of parties they would like to form the next Government.

The APNU- AFC coalition is analogous of the PNC-UF coalition except that in the case of the former it is a pre-election marriage with an uncertain future insofar as its chances of acquiring political office is concerned.

Indeed, there are many who felt that the AFC has taken a big political gamble given the dismal record of the PNC both with respect to coalition politics and governance credentials.

The PPP/C has always regarded political power not as an end in itself but as the means to a greater end, namely to create a free, democratic and just society.

This explains the PPP approach to the politics of the 1960s alluded to earlier. Indeed, this is the defining characteristic of the PPP/C Administration and the party.

Political opportunism and dancing to the music of the rich and powerful has never been a part of the PPP/C’s political make up. This is why when it comes to principles and trust, the PPP/C remains unmatched.

Hydar Ally

Share Button

Dr Gonsalves praised Dr Jagan in NY

Dear Editor,

With regard to the headline, “St Vincent PM lauds Cheddi Jagan”, in another media, Dr Ralph Gonsalves made similar laudatory remarks about Dr Jagan at a seminar/conference at City College of New York (CCNY) around 1980 or 1981 at the Finley Student Center (South Campus).

This response was not published. Hundreds of Guyanese and many more other Caribbean students were enrolled at the campus at the time, although only a handful came to the lecture.

Dr Joey Jagan also spoke at that symposium which was on Caribbean politics. Guyanese Chuck Mohan, a host and well known figure at the campus, and fan of Cheddi, was there.

Prof Samad Maragarita Matias, who has held Dr Jagan in high esteem, spoke at the conference. Eusi Kwayana, another of Prof Matias’s fan, was invited but was not at the event; I don’t recollect if his wife Tchaiko Kwayana was here.

Prof Matias extolled the virtues of Dr Jagan and Kwayana, though noting they were not successful in bringing the races together to oppose “Burnhamism” and racism in the society during the PNC era of governance.

I don’t recollect if Tim Hector of Antigua was there, though his name was popular on campus among left wing Caribbean activists.

The CCNY seminar on Caribbean politics was organized and co-sponsored by the Black Studies Department and the Undergraduate Student Government where I was serving as an elected Senator representing the Natural Sciences.

I was an ardent supporter of events pertaining to the Caribbean and never hesitated to advocate for the students Government funding for same, including for that particular conference. My colleague Vassan Ramracha, did same.

Dr Gonsalves was a Professor at UWI Cave Hill campus at the time and he was invited, especially to speak on politics in the Caribbean at a time when several islands had shifted leftward because of the progressive movement that was sweeping the region.

Dr Gonsalves focused on left wing movements in the region and Dr Jagan was among his heroes. Burnham was condemned for being in bed with the imperialists and for practicing racism against Indians and other ethnic groups not supporting him.

I remember Ralphy (as we called him then, and he did not object), describing Dr Jagan as the most honorable politician in the Caribbean and the “Dean of Socialism” in the region.

The late Maurice Bishop also referred to Dr Jagan as the “Dean of Socialism” in the Caribbean in several of his talks as reported in the Caribbean Contact and Caribbean Review Magazine.

Bishop was among those who condemned election rigging and the racism practised by the PNC to deny Dr Jagan his rightful place as leader of Guyana.

At the conference, after Joey spoke about Guyana’s politics and the struggle for free and fair elections, an Afro-Guyanese student asked a question indicting Dr Jagan for racial politics in Guyana.

Joey defended his father saying Cheddi was not the one to introduce race in Guyana’s politics and that his father fought for the upliftment of every worker regardless of race.

Dr Gonsalves blamed Forbes Burnham for the injection of race in Guyana’s politics and for allowing himself to be manipulated by imperialist forces to divide Guyana along ethnic lines.

Dr Gonsalves said Dr Jagan did not have a racial cell in his body and praised him for his incorruptible honesty, decency, and humanitarian qualities that are incomparable in the region.

Vishnu Bisram

Share Button

Freedom to protest did not exist during PNC era

Dear Editor,

Dr Bheri Ramsaran’s invective response to a female protester is unacceptable and must be condemned by any right thinking person. Kudos to Government officials for condemning the Minister’s uttering to the female activist.

The fact that a female protester provoked the Minister into attacking her is not justifiable reason for him to behave in an uncouth manner. However, I should note that this is not the Dr Ramsaran I got to know during the late 1980s and thru the restoration of democracy in 1992; he served Berbicians well.

And during this oppressive period, protests against the PNC or its officials were not tolerated. Critics of the regime were brutalized, and if you engaged in protests, you were beaten or arrested.

Democracy has been flourishing since 1992 that people can confront any Minister or official of Government in the most derogatory and uncouth manner and can pen or say any nonsense in the media.

The female activist, who is not a reporter, and who was the subject of Bheri’s verbal irate response, did not have a right to disrupt the Minister. She has a right to ask questions but not to disrupt the right of reporters who were engaging the Minister for their media report. Her freedom of speech should not have ended just a few inches from the body of the Minister and the reporters who engaged the Minister.

Clearly, the Minister did not want to engage the protesting activist. But as revealed by reporter Leon Suseran in a letter, the protester baited the Minister who fell for the bait and responded inappropriately. Bheri should have ignored her or ask to be excused or the reporters themselves should have asked her to excuse them so they could do their job.

The Minister compromised his professionalism in verbally dressing down the woman in public. That is not the Bheri I know. Corentyne people displayed great respects for him for his medical practice. And they rated him highly whenever I polled on Ministerial popularity over the last eight years.

The first time I met Bheri was in Berbice when he was a practicing doctor in Miss Phoebe, Port Mourant during the late 1980s. In every trip to Guyana from New York, I would take medicine or other supplies to medical institutions and or doctors to help the poor at a time when medicine was virtually unavailable.

Bheri’s medical office was one of the beneficiaries for my small stocks. He was among a few doctors who helped the poor and the working class and the respected Uncle Bissoon (a businessman who was known by most Berbicians) recommended that I donated my limited medical supplies to his office.

Bheri was very helpful to the poor. He charged relatively low fee and or provided free medical service. He made medicine available to the poor cheaply and or virtually for free.

Although very busy with lines of people waiting for his service, he availed himself to me for political discussions and we exchanged discussions on the struggle for the restoration of democratic governance and how to improve peoples’ lives in the area. He had enormous respect for Dr Jagan and followed every directive of the great leader and founding father of the nation.

Bheri came across as a champion of women and children causes on the Corentyne, and as I observed, most of the patients he attended to were women or little kids. I understand he did same when he practiced in Demerara and even when he worked at Georgetown Hospital.

I was shocked, therefore to learn about his uttering at the woman. It is not like him. He should not have paid heed to the woman whose behavior must also be condemned for disrupting an interview the Minister was having with the media.

As Suseran reported, the protester, who it is reported is affiliated with the opposition PNC-led coalition, repeatedly provoked, interrupted and confronted the Minister while he was speaking.

That kind of behavior is also not acceptable and must be condemned. People should be free to speak their mind without drowning out the voices of others or disrupting the rights of others to speak or violating the personal space of others.

On freedom of speech, all activists, like myself and Dr Ramharack, Moses Nagamootoo, Khemraj Ramjattan, David Hinds, Ogunseye, etc, would remember well that there hardly existed any freedom of speech or right to public protest during the dictatorship. One could hardly have questioned a Minister in private much less so in public.

In those days, Government officials did not resort to verbal abuse but physical abuse; many of us were victims of beatings even though we did not engage in any fishmonger protests like what have been taking place since the restoration of democracy.

Terror reigned on those who protested against the dictatorial Government; I was whipped for exercising my right in a protest on the Corentyne. In Demerara, we were constantly intimidated and threatened with violence by thugs who broke up our political meetings and protest actions.

Police hardly allowed protest activities. Father Bernard Darke was killed by Government thugs for exercising his right as a photo journalist. Father Morrison was constantly harassed and set upon by thugs for his reporting of Government abuses.

There were numerous other cases of abuses against free speech. But the abuses under the PNC dictatorship in no way justify the behavior of Dr Ramsaran.

Vishnu Bisram

Share Button