Apr 10, 2019  Features / ColumnistsFreddie Kissoon

One of the most nationally known citizens in this country said a thing to me that, days after, caused me to think of how destructive party politics is to poor, underdeveloped Guyana. This individual is well respected in Guyana and, in my estimation, has a sharp, analytical mind.
In journalism, your editor has to know the source of your information. People still think that only the two Washington Post reporters – Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward – knew who Deep Throat was in the Watergate scandal. But from day one, their editor, Ben Bradlee was told. If asked, I will name him. If on reading this column, because of how important he is and how important too is the issue, President Granger requests the information, I will tell him.
When he told me this, he asked that he not be quoted. I will abide by that request, but I am writing on the subject, because the tempestuous debate about dual citizenship has brought into the picture the question of how politicians put their personal matters and personal things before the welfare of the nation.
At a certain event in relation to the death of a prominent Guyanese, this admired personality told me that he honestly thinks that Vice Chancellor Ivelaw Griffith is not the right person to lead UG. As soon as he said that, a thin smile accompanied the words, “Freddie, don’t quote me.” Well I am quoting him, but readers will not know who he is, because I haven’t named him. Then I responded, “Have you spoken to Granger about how you feel?”
freddie-kissoon-300x273I asked that because this gentleman’s words and analyses have swayed in the PNC’s leadership and in the war room of the government. He quietly said he was not interested. I couldn’t continue my enquiry, because certain people came up to us. Did he tell me he was not interested in expressing his feeling to the leadership of the government because he didn’t want me to know that or is that the way politicians see their country? They just could not be bothered but only with the things that concern them.
A senior manager of ANSA McAL told me yesterday that he thought Raphael Trotman was putting himself first, rather than country, when he expressed his desire to have dual citizenship recognized by the constitution. He explained that Trotman never spoke about changing many other things in the constitution that can make Guyana a better place, but only dual citizenship, because the issue may be personal to Trotman. And you know what? The fellow is perfectly right.
It was that conversation that motivated me to write this column. If given your experience and service to Guyana and given the influence you have in the corridors of power, you think that the person who currently heads UG should not be in that position, you owe it to the present generation and those in the future to influence changes, since your words can do just that.
If this gentleman keeps his feeling to himself then, are we not right to conclude that politicians are concerned more with issues that are personal to them and put the interests of their country second? UG is not just another institution that the nation can relegate to secondary importance. Like the NIS, the Bank of Guyana, etc., it is a primary institution. Its priceless value has to be recognized by the powers that be.
Should he not tell himself that he thinks UG deserves more visionary, democratic leadership, and seek to have his party the PNC, which leads the government, reflect on the issue?
I am writing on this issue because I want the PNC leadership and President Granger to know that someone they admire and respect, and someone whose ideas they listen to, believes that UG has the wrong person at the helm. I too have a healthy level of respect for this person, and for this reason, I will not see him the same way if he does not transmit his feeling to the government.
I don’t know what will emerge from my disclosure here, but I fully understand the frustration of that ANSA McAL manager. His words reflect how substantial numbers in this country’s population feel – politicians are only interested in furthering their own personal agenda at the cost of the country’s future. But hasn’t it been like that since two of the founding fathers (I say two because I regard Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow as one of several founding fathers), Burnham and Jagan, set foot on the political soil? Both Jagan and Burnham put their own agenda before the well-being of their country. It has been like that ever since.