November 1, 2014

I sought to import a damaged vehicle because I could not afford a new one

Dear Editor,

I have noted in your newspaper, an article published on October 27, concerning a crashed Prado bought at an auction”, for which a similar article was previously carried by the Kaiereur News, “Auditor General should investigate Sattaur’s vehicle…GRA boss imports Prado for $1.5M”.

I wish to express my appreciation that you have carried such an article and thank you for doing same, since it has given greater exposure to the truth regarding my wrecked Toyota Prado motor vehicle acquired through an auction and for which tax exemption was obtained as a public officer.

The newspaper is suggesting that the value of the vehicle was grossly understated without knowing the facts.

In a recent article, it was reported that the Legal Affairs Minister imported one used 2010 Toyota Jeep Land Cruiser acquired at a cost of $7.2 million. It was also reported that an identical vehicle was imported by Kwame Gilbert, a Member of Parliament.

The report stated that it was a 2011 model which was declared at a cost of $7.4 million while claiming that my vehicle (a 2010 model) had a declared value of just under $1.5 million. It was as a result of the publication of these articles that I wrote to clear the air on the gross inaccuracies.

It is ridiculous that a second newspaper would choose to take the same path of the other newspaper with its scandalous reporting. The calculation clearly explained the economic reason for purchasing a salvaged vehicle.

I wish to provide you with a photograph of my vehicle when same was purchased. I believe this photograph was not submitted to you previously but should aid in alleviating some of the damage both newspapers have already created and continue to create through scandalous reports.

It should be noted that before carrying such reports, you need to take into consideration the fact that Parliamentarians pay no taxes in their capacity and therefore have the liberty of importing any vehicle of their choice.

As it relates to re-migrants, these persons pay a 10 percent duty upon importation, while for for public officers, this varies depending on the year and engine capacity of the said vehicle. It is, therefore, unfair to make a comparison of the vehicles imported by these individuals without using this basis prior to comparison in the first place.

I sought to import the damaged vehicle because I could not afford a new, expensive vehicle and entered into the deal with Mr Danny Persaud who provided his response as well. It is mind boggling why it would be so difficult for some newspapers to understand this process.

I wish to thank you, however, for publishing the email from the auto dealer containing the details on the extent of the repairs carried out to make the vehicle road-worthy again.

Thank you for the opportunity to clarify the inaccuracies being reported.

Khurshid Sattaur

Commissioner-

General

Guyana Revenue

Authority

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Contact GRA before issuing statements based on conjecture

Dear Mr Editor,

I have read an article dated October 27, 2014, headlined, “Sattaur collected full retirement package in 2012”.

I wish to advise that I am employed by the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) which is a body corporate established by an Act of Parliament (Cap 79:04).

As a body corporate, the GRA employs all employees on agreed terms and conditions between the employee and the Authority.

These terms and conditions are prescribed by the GRA Act and all relevant laws pertaining to employee/employer relationships.

I trust that in the future you would contact the GRA before issuing a statement based on conjecture.

 

Regards,

Khurshid Sattaur

Commissioner-

General

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Anti-Government media abusing press freedom

Dear Editor,

I read the Peeping Tom column on October 29 under the headline, “Safety comes first”. This column gives the impression that the Kaieteur News may have to close down because of some sort of threat on the life of its publisher and his staff by the state.

I reject this accusation on the basis of anti-Government sentiments expressed. In this regard, I am in total agreement with an AFC Councillor of Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) that the “Kaieteur News has an open agenda to destabilise the PPP/C Government”.

But if Peeping Tom is claiming that the Kaieteur News may have to close its doors, this can very well be merely a hoax.

The problem with freedom of press and expression in Guyana is that they have been blooming since 1992 with the restoration of democracy under the PPP/C Government. This is obviously well-known, both nationally and internationally.

Unfortunately, in Guyana the freedom of expression in the press is generally being abused by the anti-Government sections of the media.

And anything that is frequently abused like alcohol consumption has dangerous consequences to your health.

The abuse of the press in terms of not adhering to journalistic standards can have dangerous consequences as well, such as court actions for libel which any media house must seek to avoid, so as to be a credible media entity.

And court actions are just one of the indicators that measure that credibility in my opinion.

Peeping Tom said that “safety comes first” when he referred to the closing down of the newspaper in his column. I do not think though that “safety comes first”, which has resulted in lots of libel actions against the newspaper.

Is Peeping Tom saying that the newspaper may force its own closure? But if this happens, the newspaper has absolutely no one to blame but itself.

It is important to be realistic and honest, Peeping Tom, and my only interpretation of your column is, “Oh judgment thou have fled to savage beasts”.

 

Yours sincerely,

Peter Persaud

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No-Confidence Motions against two Caricom countries

Dear Editor, 

No-Confidence Motions have been filed against the administrations of two states in the

Caribbean Community (Caricom) and the electorates in these two countries are anxiously awaiting the outcome of the No-Confidence Motions, which will pave the way for early General Elections.

In Guyana, the small Opposition party, Alliance For Change (AFC) has filed a

No-Confidence Motion against the Donald Ramotar Administration and is hoping to get the support of the main Opposition party, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU).

If all the members of APNU support the No-Confidence Motion, it could pass, since the combined Opposition has one more vote than the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), and will force the Government to call elections within 90 days of its passing.

The motion might be delayed, because there is a debate on if the Speaker, Raphael Trotman, has the authority to set a date for the reconvening of Parliament after a recess.

The Speaker is a senior member of the AFC, and he was advised by the Clerk of the National Assembly that he had no authority to do so. However, the former Speaker, Ralph Ramkarran, who has quit the PPP/C, feels that his successor has the power.

Despite the advice of the Clerk, the Speaker went ahead last Wednesday and instructed him (the Clerk) to reconvene Parliament for November 6.

Meanwhile, the Government’s Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira, said she has the authority to reconvene Parliament and she will do so following crucial discussions between President Ramotar and Opposition Leader David Granger, who is also the head of APNU.

Over in St Kitts and Nevis, a second No-Confidence Motion was filed against the Denzil Douglas Administration last week. The first, which was submitted two years ago, never came up for debate in Parliament, because it was stalled since legal proceedings were filed in the courts.

Prime Minister Denzil Douglas is facing stiff opposition since his Deputy, Sam Condour, who was also Minister of Foreign Affairs, and another Minister, Dr Timothy Harris, who had held the portfolios of Agriculture and International Trade, resigned and moved over to the Opposition bench.

This means that there are now six elected members on the Opposition side, as opposed to five on the Government’s. However, there are two Government Senators and the Attorney General, who sit with Prime Minister Douglas.

Elections in both Guyana and St Kitts and Nevis are due next year, and polling in five other Caricom states: Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica, and Suriname are also scheduled for 2015.

Sincerely,

Oscar Ramjeet

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Apparent uselessness of Cane Farming Committee needs to be investigated

Dear Editor,

Recently, I was invited as a cane farmer to attend a meeting of the National Cane Farming Committee (NCFC). Many things struck me about this meeting.

It was the first time I was so invited in the almost 20 years that I have been a cane farmer. I have previously attended occasional meetings of farmers who supply canes to Rose Hall Estate.

I was surprised by the preponderance of officials representing various GuySuCo functions from the Head Office and the Estates, plus the Ministry of Agriculture, Republic Bank and the Secretariat of the NCFC.

This was also the case in the previous meeting according to the minutes of that meeting which identified a total of 10 ex-officios and eight farmers, but, remarkably, the absentees were in the majority.

The foregoing bore little resemblance to provisions in the Cane Farming Act (understandably, the Act is quite old; but my repeated attempts to get some clarification were fruitless).

The Action Sheet from the previous meeting of the NCFC identified 17 items of which only one was recorded as “completed”, while all the others were shown as “to be followed up”, that is, no action. The discussion of “current” items followed the same pattern of indifference, deflections, deferrals, and delays ad nauseam.

What was pellucid and disturbing was the diminishing output from private cane farmers as well as the complete discontinuation of cane farming by others while some are in the process of selling off their farms.

Should we not examine the reasonableness of current expectations from cane farmers in particular, if not GuySuCo in general? In any event, I believe the apparent uselessness of the NCFC needs to be investigated.

 

Sincerely,

Nowrang Persaud

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Kaieteur News’ open agenda is to destabilise the PPP/C Government

Dear Editor,

Since its birth, the Kaieteur News has been bent on sensational journalism without any effort to ascertain the veracity of its publications.

The newspaper is hell-bent on “being deliberately obtuse, appealing to emotions, being controversial, intentionally omitting facts and information, being loud and self-centred and acting to obtain attention.

“Trivial information and events are sometimes misrepresented and exaggerated as important and significant, and often include stories about the actions of individuals and small groups of people” the content of which is insignificant (Wikipedia’s definition of sensational journalism).

I guess some sections of the public are happy with this, since it ‘makes their day’. On the other hand, the majority of readers know for a fact that many times the source of information is so obscure that it must be concluded that they are non-existent.

Today, the newspaper’s open agenda is to destabilise the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government, simply because its owner can no longer get what he wants from the Government. If I could recall the refusal of a radio licence was the last straw that broke Lall’s back.

His vengeance not only became personalised but his vicious attack on the Government and Ministers and the social and economic development of this country can only be regarded as unpatriotic. Lall has become indistinguishable from people such as Ramjattan and Nagamootoo.

The present piece of Kaieteur News’ sensational journalism is with regard to the Attorney General (AG) Anil Nandlall. It is with much trepidation that I listened to the ‘doctored’ recording of an alleged conversation between a Senior Reporter and the AG,

Then recently, I was shocked by the extreme level that the Kaieteur News can go to sensationalise this alleged conversation between the AG and the Reporter. The headline reads, “Attorney General reveals plans to ‘hit’ Glenn Lall, KNews”.

When the transcript is read, any reasonable man will conclude that there was no such plan. All one can discern is a general statement hinting at the probability of a recurrence of what took place in August 2006 when some six workers were murdered in cold blood at the newspaper’s Printery.

It was alleged then that it was a drug deal that went sour. The purported hit plan is an assumption that if Lall continues to use his newspaper as a weapon, then someone may repeat what had happened before.

The person alleged to be the AG did not say that he will take a weapon and start to kill Lall and his workers. It is a severe strain on one’s intelligence to match the content of the article with the heading of that article. The content simply does not support such a heading.

This reminds me of what my grandfather used to say: “Goat s**t does wait fuh breeze blow.”

Now I want any reasonable person to analyse the audio recording itself. The transcript itself given in the newspaper recorded numerous instances where the Reporter’s comment or reply was recorded as inaudible.

This is even more pronounced when the audio recording is heard – one can hardly discern what the Reporter is saying. The pertinent question here is: Why is it that the voice purported to be that of the AG is loud and clear as opposed to the voice of the Reporter?

This is deliberate doctoring so that only one side of the conversation is given so that listeners will be unable to understand why certain replies were purportedly made by the AG!

The entire dialogue should have been presented to the public. But this is how the newspaper deceives its gullible readers. It is also clear that the responses were carefully orchestrated and prompted by the Reporter to elicit the intended response and capitalise on it, having gained the confidence of the other party.

This is a heinous display of deceit and poor journalistic ethics and professionalism.

It was a private conversation and should not have been brought to the public’s attention and moreover it must be recalled that in any private conversation expletives are used and in this case it was the newspaper’s Reporter who began the use.

The use of expletives is quite normal; a daily interaction between people who are quite familiar with each other. Therefore, I do not see the ‘holier than thou’ attitude of some people and the emphasis on the use of expletives in the article.

It is also clear that the newspaper by the very content of its article on the alleged tax scam by Kamal Mangal viciously and intentionally provoked the Attorney General by continuing to address Mangal as the “AG’s uncle” and expressly trying to connect the AG with the alleged re-migrant scam.

This was deliberate and wicked and it was meant to rile the AG and any reasonable man would have become angry at such insinuations. It is also evident that on many occasions the newspaper was used as a weapon to attack people personally and there is nothing patriotic about that.

A patriot should pay his taxes!

It is now evident that the newspaper has its own plan to destabilise this country and that plan began with a crusade against business and Government officials, and now the venom is spewing in all directions.

In this case, it is simply greed for material things! In Dr Ramayya’s words, “everyone should have a piece of the pie” (DTV Channel 8, Saturday, October 25).

Just read between the lines!

Yours sincerely,

Haseef Yusuf

AFC Councillor

Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne)

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Demand for service determines sections in GRA that function during lunch hours

Dear Editor,
The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) has taken note of the letter written by Nicholas McDavid to the press on October 27, claiming that staff of the GRA were “out to lunch” when he went to transact business on October 24.
Mr McDavid acknowledged that he went to the office at the time of the lunch break, but did not specify the particular section in the GRA that was unavailable at the time.
The GRA appreciates the feedback and will continue to endeavour to institute change with the taxpayers’ comfort in mind.
It should be noted that management is serious about the rules and regulations governing the semi-autonomous body and would move with haste to launch an investigation, if warranted, into claims of misconduct by staff.
The GRA understands the importance of quality service, especially in an organisation that is responsible for tax administration, revenue collection and the promotion of voluntary compliance.
The GRA also shares Mr McDavid’s view about the need for the right business ethics and mentality.
At the same time, the GRA is concerned that Mr McDavid might have created a vague impression when he stated, “I have never been to any country, in all my travels, where you cannot make a business transaction because every single person has gone to lunch at the same time!”
It is on this basis that the GRA is compelled to remind McDavid and all those who are ignorant of the rules, about its statutory work hours. These rules, I am sure Mr McDavid would agree, are common in several other institutions.
The working hours are from 08:00h to 15:30h from Monday to Thursday and 08:00h to 14:30h on Fridays, with a one-hour lunch break from 12:00h to 13:00h.
It should be noted, however, that because of the proportionally large numbers of taxpayers at the GRA on a daily basis some sections like Registration, Licence Revenue (Application and Renewal) and the Cashier Departments remain functional during the midday recess to expedite transactions.
Such a deliberate decision took into consideration, congestion, waiting time and the difficulty with parking on the busy Camp Street area, as Mr McDavid admitted to have experienced in his letter.
The GRA regrets the inconvenience Mr McDavid might have experienced and can only urge that he makes a fervent effort to visit the agency during the normal working hours since the information contained in his letter indicates that the transaction he wished to carry out was not one which is facilitated during the lunch hour.

Submitted by
GRA Public Relations Department

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The Kaieteur News dilemma

Dear Editor,

There are so many angles one can take from this taped cellphone conversation reportedly involving Attorney General (AG) Anil Nandlall and Reporter Leonard Gildharie, which is why mine will surely not be the first nor last.

After listening to the recording of the conversation, there are a few observations and several inconsistencies which lead me to believe that this conversation was made in jest.

It is actually the reporter who sets the tone by responding to a question with a question, “How the ***k I misquote the man?”

This tone and language would never occur in a professional conversation and I am inclined to believe that it was a ‘gaff’ between two friends, even though they work in different settings and in varying positions.

The reporter not once referred to the AG in his official capacity but rather by his first name.

So how did a private conversation between two friends end up in the hands of Glenn Lall? The reporter did express concerns that contrary to the belief of the AG, Lall “has friends” who are capable of tapping someone’s phone and worriedly hinted that this could be the case during their discussion.

Currently, the only legal way to intercept a phone call is by the security agency, being the Guyana Police Force, requesting permission from a High Court Judge after providing enough reasons why this should be the case.

So it appears that the AG was correct when he stated that “the man’s (Glenn Lall) view is that he is above everybody else, that he is above the law and that he own this newspaper and he could buse everybody”.

Now there is much emphasis being placed on the aspect of the conversation where the AG reportedly warns his friend of a scenario of what might possibly befall the news entity if it continues along its current path of creating stories based on lies.

While he pointed out that several former and current Government officials have stayed quiet against an onslaught of attacks against them by the Publisher of Kaieteur News, the paper/publisher now shifting their attacks to persons outside the Government is an entirely different kettle of fish as not everyone will react the way the PPP/C Government has done for the past several years.

In fact, the AG is heard twice saying that he has spoken to both Glenn Lall and Adam Harris of such a possible scenario. So while the AG was warning the reporter, we must understand that he had warned the entire entity by relating his concerns to both the publisher and editor-in-chief. Hence, what he said in the conversation was simply a repetition of his earlier interactions with the two.

But how does that discount the fact that the AG is heard saying that “there is a simple way of dealing with a situation, you know, I tell Glenn already…he knows my capacity and I know his…me nah got to go to court every day and issue press statement; I don’t have to revert to those methods”.

Some have jumped to surmise that this is a threat and is vindication of what Glenn has been contending and is currently contending.

A closer inspection of this particular quote would reveal that the AG is saying that he has already told Glenn of whatever he is specifically referring to.

If the publisher of Kaieteur News felt this was indeed a threat, he never made this public as all he has said to date is that ‘friends’ of his had warned him of a possible plot. So why was no mention ever made by Glenn of both instances of such a conversation with the AG, if he took it as a threat?

Further, knowing that Lall was already told by the AG of such a possible scenario and of which was simply repeated in the conversation, why did Lall only choose to break down in tears while speaking to the media quite some time after?

Did he break down in tears during his conversations with the AG? It appears not, which simply adds to a growing perception that this incident was carefully stage- managed.

Sincerely,

Rommel Roopnarine

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Who authorised WPA arms stockpiling when they were all coequals?

Dear Editor,

“I am proposing a political culture in which political figures or former political figures of great age do not write with hostility about younger activists in an attempt, not to examine their supposed ideas, but to discredit them before they carve out a space in the political exchange. It will be rather stuffy, with us, only exhaling from our laden tissues into that space,” wrote Eusi Kwayana recently in another section of the press.

His letter was in defence of Dr David Hinds and Freddie Kissoon who were both in a verbal duel – two younger, very healthy and able-bodied men against an elderly graphene white lady – former President Janet Jagan.

When the great white was about to devour her two daring Afrocentric attackers, Mr Kwayana sprang to their rescue, waving his calabash for a truce. The black icon could be commended for rescuing   his “defenceless” duo.

Still alive, would he be entitled to more than the usual quota of virgins should he further excel by any itty bitty compassion for a troubled young black man – “of no social pedigree, no big family”, which he so described the duo – who alleges he was sodomised by a prominent lawyer?

Doing the right thing like his previous laudable rescue of the healthy duo?

Ennoble

What can best ennoble our faded glory are not impositions on our democratic rights or actively ignoring the problems which trouble us most. Those same “political figures or former political figures of great age do not write” when it matters most.

Convicted of bringing concealed weapons at the airport (under appeal), Dr David Hinds will continue to write nevertheless, in glowing terms about his political guru and fellow Buxtonian. How is Mr Kwayana, therefore, not motivated by his own self-interests towards his partisan political objectives?

In comparison, Mr Kissoon is his usual razzmatazz self and spares few. A known admirer of the ageing US -based Buxtonian, he still enjoys dishing it out and generously shares whatever he knows about everyone, including Mr Kwayana.

So no surprise when he wrote: “I have heard untold numbers say that he is an eccentric man. Despite the large numbers out there that perceive Kwayana as an odd human being, I have never accepted that evaluation.” But after analysing and criticising him for media favouritism, the columnist concluded that “maybe after all, Mr Kwayana is indeed eccentric, and life is mysterious”.

Four years later, the same Mr Kwayana, still around, still continues to give advice, again by another letter titled, “Temptation at Rodney (Commission of) Inquiry” (RCoI). With Rodney’s old WPA on coalition life support within their once nemesis PNC, and both awash in the RCoI revelations, Mr Kwayana is naturally most concerned about the damaging repercussions.

In his advocacy for restraint, because, he says “political organisations and individuals can by their words and actions outside the sittings affect the way members of the public see the RCoI”, he is obviously most concerned about WPA self-preservation and not least, to enhance how he is recorded for history.

But who can realistically expect Guyanese to remain silent especially about a famous murder because a shrill voice says so?

Professionals

No one can seriously believe that all the RCoI professionals in diligent pursuit to discover the complete truth about Dr Rodney’s brutal assassination will be compromised by public chatter. What’s the big fuss?

When Mr Kwayana can use free speech and press freedom to openly propose restraints on the public’s rights to free speech and press freedom, is he doing Guyanese any big favours?

What actually precludes the WPA, PNC and even the PPP/C from any searing scrutiny or from public censure in a democracy? Mr Kwayana only stokes more doubts and suspicion by what he camouflages and misdirects Guyanese to do. Has he become any less eccentric or disingenuous over time?

One reporter prominently highlighted Mr Kwayana’s outstanding political repertoire of verbal acrobatics and scintillating cunning when the RCoI asked him to describe the political atmosphere at the time of Rodney’s assassination.

Manna came on a silver platter by what was reported, that is, “the US-based Guyanese had a (sic) unique way of testifying. Ninety per cent of the time he did not give a straight answer. Instead the veteran political activist gave what some would refer to as “history lessons” and left the Commissioners (and public) to make their own assessments”.

Charismatic

How much is he hiding by his usual evasive answers? The popular chatter had previously revealed – now growing – that Mr Kwayana and his acolytes in the WPA had found themselves overshadowed by the charismatic and immensely popular Dr Rodney.

This was tantamount to making the veteran Mr Kwayana and his militant tribesmen obsolete.

Since under Dr Rodney’s leadership the WPA directed its attacks on the PNC Government, the PPP/C became the automatic beneficiary. This was most unacceptable to Mr Kwayana and company. The WPA was not yet a political party.

After the 1980 assassination they recalibrated and became pitiful electoral failures, and still remain so. Dr Rodney’s increasing popularity had made himself a huge threat to both internal and external adversaries. Both wanted to get rid of him, but for different reasons.

Intercede

It may now become very clear why Mr Kwayana, despite all his political experiences, never interceded to prevent Dr Rodney’s radical pursuit.

But isn’t Dr Rodney’s strategy to keep all options open which made him the successful hero – just like Mr Kwayana’s ASCRIA conjoining with Mr Burnham’s PNC to violently get rid of the PPP in 1964? Those whom Dr Rodney totally eclipsed were quite content, indeed better off with him not being around.

Trust

The exchange at the RCoI between Attorney-at-Law Selwyn Pieters who cross-examined Mr Kwayana speaks for itself.

Pieters: Well, let me put it to you differently, Mr Kwayana. I am going to suggest to you that Dr Rodney did not trust you.

Kwayana: Oh! [laughter] I am willing to accept that if you say so, but I think there is evidence to the contrary.

Pieters: Well, we know that he never told you about Gregory Smith, correct?

Kwayana: No.

At the RCoI, both Tacuma Ogunseye and Dr Rupert Roopnaraine’s bodyguard Allan Robert Gates publicly supported Dr Roopnaraine on the arms issue. Consider that the WPA’s security committee was composed of only Dr Rodney, Dr Roopnaraine and Mr Ogunseye – who were tight – what does it say who were trusted? Dr Rodney being dead cannot vouch for Dr Roopnaraine.

But the late lawyer Vic Adyta Pooran has publicly vouched that Mr Kwayana did not belong to the “armed wing” of the WPA.

How can anyone not belong to something within the WPA which allegedly did not exist? Glaring inconsistencies by any demented insistent who swears the WPA was a party of peaceful coequals are most laughable.

Mr Kwayana, in fact – 34 years later (1980-2014) – totally sidestepped any knowledge of WPA’s arms stockpiling. Why? To actually throw his WPA Indian “coequal” Dr Roopnaraine under the bus, because he may have revealed the WPA’s arms build-up was despicable.

It implicated Mr Kwayana and the entire WPA lot in future violence, which, of course, they are not with coequal knowledge. Obviously the venerated Dr Rodney did not privately view Mr Kwayana as his coequal or trusted him.

Contrast

Both black leaders are a study in striking contrasts. While the Buxtonian has been a racially polarising magnet ever since the 1950s, the murdered historian has left a treasured and unparalleled legacy of uniting Guyanese across the spectrum.

Those who remain convinced that the WPA still operates by any lofty collective leadership are welcome to their democratic beliefs. But neither freedom of speech and free and fair elections nor freedom of the press should be curtailed by any censorship in our fledgling democracy. In Guyana only God knows all for sure, and the WPA is not God, for sure, as all fully well know.

Sincerely,

Sultan Mohamed

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No place for attacks on anyone, biased reporting

Dear Editor,

David Hinds chastised the Guyana Times (no evidence cited) for what he claims are biased reporting and negative commentaries about Africans in letters published in the two other papers.

Readers I spoke with find Hinds’ letter offensive, biased and racist in nature. They say he is focusing on his own race and does not pay attention to the feelings of members of other ethnic groups who are attacked by the other publications.

There are daily attacks against Indians in other papers, but those attacks don’t concern the Afro-nationalist Hinds. Hinds did not provide examples (of negative comments or biased reports) to buttress his assertions. Hinds used the term “vile racist attacks”, but others I spoke with said they did not find any.

Guyana Times did not attack anyone because of their race. What Dr Hinds interprets as attacks are sarcastic responses at the inarticulate comments of the names (public figures) he mentioned. The comments are not racist or even attacked the individuals.

Rather, they expose the bias of the comments rendered by those individuals. By Hinds’ own admission, Guyana Times critiqued both Indians and Africans – so where is the racial bias in the commentaries?

Hinds ought to differentiate between satirical/sarcastic (picong) and negative (racist) comments (attacks). Another paper uses the same method (in one of its daily columns) and Hinds has no issue with the paper – where is the balance and fairness in his critique?

Is it because the column attacks Indians and Government officials and favour the Opposition parties? Satires are a great method of political commentaries and I encourage more of them. I urge Guyana Times to please provide readers with more of them as they enlighten readers about the bias of Opposition figures.

Public figures are fair game and these individuals whose names were mentioned by Hinds are known to harshly critique (in fact, blisteringly attack) others with the worst gutter comments that don’t belong in the media. A tit for tat is to be expected.  You can’t want to play Phagwah and don’t want abeer on your clothes.

Nevertheless, there is no place for attacks on anyone or for biased reporting and the anti-Government press is as guilty as others in this practice.  In fact, the so-called independent papers are more outrageous in their biased commentaries and reporting than the pro-Government media, if one truly wishes to give a fair assessment.

In recent trips to Guyana, people complained about the biased reports and commentaries in the so-called two anti-Government papers (Hinds also described them as such). President Ramotar and former President Jagdeo called out these papers for their racist agenda in meetings with the diaspora in New York.

In journalism classes, and in graduate school regardless of subject matter, one is taught that all reports must be factual reflecting all sides and commentaries must be fair, balanced and objective.

Can Professor Hinds tell us how many commentaries or reports in the anti-Government media meet those criteria?  No paper should be used to attack anyone.  Some of the papers don’t allow responses and when they do, they severely edit comments that are not even defamatory.

What is troubling about Professor Hinds’ complaint against Guyana Times is that he did not call out the other papers for their biased reporting and publishing of their vile racist attacks against Indians and those who make an effort to defend the hapless Indian population.

By focusing only on Guyana Times, Hinds exposes his own bias. Is it not racist when Hinds does not condemn the other papers for their negative comments on prominent Indians?  It is noted that Hinds did not critique a buddy columnist for his daily (unsubstantiated, unprovoked) ranting against eminent Indians and for the publication to allow it.

Freddie Kissoon routinely attacks Indo-Guyanese in Canada and America – Hinds is not offended by those gutter comments. Hinds did not criticise a newspaper or filed a complaint when the paper published an unverified attack against Mahatma Gandhi.

But he would have condemned the paper if it had published attacks on Mandela and Martin Luther King. Also, Hinds did not criticise those commentators of his ethnic group who routinely sully the good reputation of prominent Indians – because the Indians have been exposing biased commentaries – the same complaint Hinds now make.

One of Hind’s buddies in ACDA attacked Indians principally based on their origin from India and the caste system. Hinds is silent on those attacks.

Nothing is wrong with Hinds or anyone else taking up Afro-centric causes (I applaud David for his Afro-centricity), advocating only an African agenda. But he must be fair in his comments and make an effort to view issues from the perspective of someone not from his ethnic group.

And Hinds should not be upset with others who respond in kind or take an opposing view or those who are nationalists defending their ethnic groups. I prefer a multi-racial agenda in which all of us are co-equals and I prefer a publication that does not allow attacks on one another.

Hinds, like me, is an educator and those of us who are instructors (and even those who went to college) know that we teach students to be fair and objective and to examine and give views to all sides of an issue. Clearly, Hinds has failed in that instructional goal.

For Hinds, it seems it is okay for media houses and commentators to attack Indian leaders, but not okay to attack (critique) individuals (leaders) from his ethnic group. For him, it is okay to criticise one media house but not the others who engage in the same practices that he complains about. Hinds, your slip is showing.

Commentaries from an academic and from any ethno-nationalist, especially one who fought against the destructive policies of Burnhamism, should be objective and balanced and we should all strive for ethnic fairness and equity in our polarised society.

Yours truly,

Vishnu Bisram

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