Sacrifice of scholarship for meanness and political relevance
Freddie Kissoon harbours the thinking that he can determine who personifies the demise of Guyana. He has no such moral authority, particularly when he cannot man up, look in the mirror and accept the role he has played in the degeneracy and lawlessness that permeate this society.
As he spewed his vitriol, perhaps in the belief that he was victorious in his attacks of yet another public figure, it was important that I kept focus on other important issues in Region 7 and 10, knowing that the man who professed publicly to be my friend was attempting to undermine the things I worked hard to achieve.
This so-called self-professed “friend” even went so far to reference my wife in one of his nasty little pieces. I have no fear of Freddie engaging my wife publicly if that is his desire. I only ask that he ensures she receives adequate newspaper coverage to respond to him and not take an unfair advantage of the media to stifle her views. I am also ready to engage him and reference his wife as I see fit, for he has set the standards for this engagement.
Let us take a closer look at the man named Freddie Kissoon.
THIS INGRATE OWES ME
I had the privilege to serve on the University of Guyana (UG) Council as the Guyana Trades Union Congress’ representative when a recommendation was brought before us for the dismissal of Frederick “Freddie” Kissoon. Whereas this most ingracious man will conveniently forget or fail to acknowledge my role in saving his bacon and whereas I do not seek his kudos or acknowledgement of same, what I say now is to make it clear to Freddie that he remained in the service of the UG due in significant measure to the fact that I put to the Council that the recommendation for his dismissal be withdrawn and going forward the rules and standard practices of holding lecturers accountable for academic performance be at all times upheld.
Freddie’s continuity as a lecturer of the institution had to do with my adherence to industrial relations time-honoured principles that allowed him to remain in service based on an administrative weakness. Hence, he was given a chance even though he failed to perform to set academic standards
SACRIFICE OF SCHOLARSHIP FOR MEANNESS AND POLITICAL RELEVANCE
In my application of universally acceptable principles it mattered not – then or now – that Kissoon is not of my race; it remains a matter of the value of its applicability to social justice, Rights and the Rule of Law which has served humanity well over the centuries.
Today Freddie’s deceitfulness and efforts to denigrate me allows him to rhetorically question whether I am a Black fascist, accuses me of racism and xenophobia, whilst using said tenets in calling on the government to put in place a plan for managed migration. What kind of professed academic stoops to such levels to misuse his learning and privilege?
It would be giving him a pass to say he does not know better. He does. It is just that his love of social chaos, his ingrained deceit and lack of integrity allows him to ignore the fact that no nation can see even handed development and best utilisation of its resources for its people where it fails to have a coherent and sensible migration policy, laws and programmes.
Imagine how Freddie would wash his mouth in the proverbial Guyanese manner and heap condemnation on the government and any other with whom he is angry if they failed in this regard. I’m not sure if Freddie would be happy. But Freddie must speak and Freddie must condemn and attack others’ views, just because they are different from his, were not shaped by him, or because he does not favour them.
Readers are reminded that Guyana being a member of the United Nations’ (UN) family it is forgone expectation that these basic structures and policies will be consistent with the tenets of the UN. Freddie acts the fool by ignoring this. He sacrifices scholarship for meanness, because such has always been his nature and means of gaining political relevance.
THE LEWIS’ ARE NOT AFRAID OF COCKROACHES, WORMS AND WEEVILS
My wife is an independent thinker and a woman who has demonstrated her commitment to this nation from within and without the borders of our country. She is an upstanding, law-abiding citizen of two countries and is no less certified than Freddie. That he has sought, in his usual reckless ‘hoist up throw down’ manner to introduce her into his rants about me is typical of this man who seems to feel best when he can get personal, expose your business or publicly embarrass those he attacks, even those he calls friend.
He is advised that my wife has never violated the immigration laws of any country, whether it be for vacation, business, education or residency. He knows that if he has a problem with my wife he can address her, for she has demonstrated numerous times before her capacity to deal with him and others of his ilk. Like her husband, she is fearless of cockroaches, worms, weevils and shrimp-like creatures.
FREDDIE CANNOT BLEMISH THIS RECORD
I am beginning to wonder. We both write for the same newspaper, we were, according to him “friends” yet he has proven in recent times to be the most vicious and nasty person, out to discredit me. Are we rivals for social space or is he seeking credits? Whatever his purpose, these are just a few records of mine that Freddie cannot match or discredit. In 1999 I journeyed to Washington DC, USA to protest against the transgression of the Colombian government. In 1990 I was in Bogota, Colombia, protesting for the release of trade union leaders jailed by the Virgilio Barco Vargas Government. I was at that protest with other trade unionists at the UN Headquarters in New York agitating for the release of Nelson Mandela. As recent as 2007, I was part of the trade union mission to Haiti that sought the release of 13 imprisoned trade unionists, resulting in their release and dropping of all charges within two weeks.
While I did other protests around the world, the highlighted are the major ones. Likewise, when I stood up for Freddie and recently sugar workers, obviously it was not race, fascism or xenophobia that guided me, but the said tenets I hold dear. This is my resume when it comes to treating with diverse groups; a resume I hold proud and would not let Freddie or anyone tarnish.
USE OF THE MEDIA BULLY PULPIT TO LIE, DECEIVE AND DESTROY
Any part of the world, university lecturers are held accountable to a certain level of academic integrity. These are the persons who train our leaders and lift our education standard, not just in classroom, but in their day-to-day attitudes and behaviours. Kissoon knows the power of education, yet he discredits his scholarship for meanness, and driving political and racial divisions as suits his purpose. It is no wonder his political career has been one of vacillations and rejections left, right and centre, not because the truth hurts, but because his genuineness as an advocate is tainted by intellectual and academic dishonesty of a self-serving nature.
Many will recall the role played by him to attack and malign Desmond Hoyte by placing his literal interpretation to Hoyte’s use of the colloquial phrase “more fyah, slo fyah,” where he sought to make it literal. He subsequently, years after Hoyte died said he was sorry. Hoyte never dignified him with a response. I respond not to dignify him.
Kissoon more than most has supported the degeneracy and lawlessness in this society, and is being paid by the media, which he uses as his bully pulpit to tarnish and undermine many good efforts to bring about a better society. He has used his column to misrepresent and undermine the good intent and struggle of a man whose undoubted quest was to pursue the path of ensuring a society of equality, fair play and adherence to the Rule of Law.
Every time I read him giving kudos to Hoyte, I shudder at his wickedness, what he has done to further divide this society along race, and his role in legitimising lawlessness. We can only in sadness reflect what society could have been if executive lawlessness was checked and nipped in the bud.
With regard to UG and the sad state Kissoon bemoans, he must take some responsibility. Were he respecting of the rules of an employee (lecturer) and his responsibility therein, he would have been part of a process to make the university one to be proud of. Where he seeks to distance himself from the negatives we must not let him forget his significant role in ensuring same.
He was one of the lecturers’ accusations were levelled against of not marking papers on time, and there were perpetual complaints from students that if they wrote anything positive about Forbes Burnham he’d scratch up their papers, and mark them down. All of these matters came to the attention of Council. This man has escaped serious public scrutiny for his misdeeds.
Freddie has not been able in his public life to separate the personal from the principles, a fundamental defect of his character. In his Friday’s column he has made Ruel Johnson his new target, attacking his person unnecessarily. The only reason he is doing this is because Johnson has been able to positively channel the energy of the young people around a programme that attends to their self-development. Kissoon won’t like that, because he sees himself as the end all and be all for activism and interpretation of what people ought to be doing, who they should associate with, and what they must pursue.
While Freddie may have a thirst for power or leadership, what remains absent is the capacity and discipline to conceptualise and develop programmes people can buy into. And in his quest to seek relevance on the national stage, he continues to disrupt and condemn even the good.