PPP fires Freddie Kissoon from the University of Guyana
My dismissal from UG: Naked power in an optimistic age
On Wednesday evening, the UG Council met and rescinded three lecturers’ contracts that the Government’s representatives wanted sacked in October because they claimed the Vice-Chancellor had no legal right to issue the contracts. That was the last meeting of the Council for 2011.
Dr. Patrick Williams will be issued a new contract, so too will former deputy head of Customs and Excise, Loris Bancroft. The Council decided against renewing my contract and it was brought to an immediate end with the provision that I am not to be employed either as a temporary lecturer or on a part time basis.
My contract ends in August. I should have started teaching next week. My termination letter stated that it goes into effect immediately. For people reading this column let me describe what happened and then go on to defend my academic performance at UG.
Five Government appointees argued for my dismissal. There were Nirmal Rekha, Prem Misir, Gail Teixeira, Bibi Shadick and Indra Chandarpal. Those who debated that the contract should be allowed to run until it was up in August were the representatives from the PNC, students union and two academics.
In summing up, without a vote, the Chancellor said there were more voices for dismissal than for retention. I was not invited to the meeting even though I am a Council member. I cleared my mail on Tuesday afternoon at UG. I received no e- email notice.
I have worked at UG since 1986. My contract was renewed every three years after successful teaching and research since 1986. My present contract was awarded after consideration of my research and teaching. It was recommended by the Faculty of Social Sciences.
Over the years at UG, I have done more academic research than the two Presidential aides who argued for my dismissal – Prem Misir and Gail Texieira. Unlike some people who represent the Government at UG, I do not pad my curriculum vitae nor do I edit books and claim that I authored them. For the past five years I have offered to the University community more research seminars than any other lecturer on the entire campus with my last seminar being in November last year.
My latest published research was a 75-page essay that was submitted in 2010 to the Guyana Historical Society that investigated racism in the exercise of power in all the presidents of Guyana, including Mr. Jagdeo.
I was educated at UG, Mac Master University in Canada and the University of Toronto.
In my 26 years at UG, I never had a complaint filed against me by a student for any issue whatsoever. I have taught some of the most powerful people in Guyana including Robert Corbin and Donald Ramotar. I have taught the children of the most important leaders of the PPP, including the daughter of President Ramotar. I taught the wife of Ralph Ramkarran. I repeat; I never had a complaint made against me even for a low grade. Funny that through all the years of Mr. Jagdeo’s resentment of me and my confrontations with the PPP-appointed Vice-Chancellor, James Rose, never could anything be proven against me at UG.
Before I complete this column, I want to state unambiguously that I have proof that the former President, Mr. Jagdeo made a call to Barbados in early November to Chancellor Compton Bourne about me. I hope the Chancellor does not discredit his Caribbean standing by denying that. If he does, I will have to name names.
I will end this column with a funny story that the Guyanese people will not find funny at all. In my presence and other Government appointees on the Council, Gail Teixeira requested a Council meeting from Chancellor Bourne. He said that he may not be able to summon a meeting in November because the British Government had asked him to travel to the UK to appraise one of the universities there. I was speechless.
Dr. Bourne, the Chancellor of UG, was going to appraise a university that was a million times more of an accredited university than UG that he presides over. At that very October Council meeting, Dr. Bourne was asked to immediately fire a number of lecturers. One is fascinated to know what appraisal Dr. Compton Bourne, former Head of the Caribbean Development Bank, gave that university and what he will give UG. Do the Councils in British universities operate the way UG’s does? How will Dr. Bourne answer that?
In an age where the opposition controls Parliament, naked power continues. Let’s see how Parliament will react to this unstoppable cancer.