Dr.Walter Rodney, Freddie Kissoon and the PPP: a tale of “different folk different strokes
Written by realTalk
Saturday, 28 January 2012 11:03
In Guyana it often seems as if the more things seem to change the more they remain the same. In a time gone by when Guyana was once governed by the PNC, the PPP then in opposition, vigorously protested that which it believed were the excesses of the PNC government. Many of the harsh protests were felt in the sugar industry, where strikes were used as a crippling political weapon, while arson in the cane fields was reserved for the more dastardly acts of sabotage. Sadly the myopic vision of the PPP could not see that it would live to inherit an industry it systematically wounded.
Today Guyana is faced with one of the most corrupt governments in the Anglophone Caribbean, but yet there is a deafening silence from those who once protested the naked abuse of power under the PNC.
In Guyanese politics, there exists a hypocrisy that reveals the blatantly dishonest sides of many politicians, as they pretend to function in the best interest of the Guyanese people. The most recent example of this is seen in the way the PPP led university council members dealt with popular anti-government columnist and political scientist, Mr. Freddie Kissoon.
Upon returning to Guyana from Tanzania in 1974, Dr. Walter Rodney applied to the University of Guyana (UG) to be employed as a lecturer. He was never employed. Many believed that because of his revolutionary political stance against the political leadership of the day, Dr. Rodney was blatantly refused employment. This son of the soil and academic extraordinaire was being refused gainful employment in his own country because the government of the day was not enamored by his vibrant revolutionary political thinking.
The opposition party in 1974 was the PPP. It engaged in very loud protests both at home in Guyana and in the international hallways of power, to register their disapproval of this obscene abuse. PPP leaders in 1974 thought that the PNC government was dictatorial in its handling of Dr. Rodney’s right to work in Guyana, and made sure that its displeasure was felt and understood by all.
Guyana is now governed by the PPP. In 2012, this same PPP that was in fierce opposition of the firing of Dr. Rodney under the PNC rule in the 70s, today can have its members collectively vote to terminate the employment of one of its harshest critics. Sadly there is no decent member of the PPP who would openly renounce this kind of vindictive action taken in this “democratic” Guyana.
Supporters of the PPP must justify their silence on this most vicious action taken against their Guyanese brother who once fought side by side with their leaders against the “tyranny” of the PNC era. In a society where most of its brightest minds migrate to more democratic, economic and politically stable jurisdictions, UG cannot afford to lose a healthy and fertile mind in Freddie Kissoon.
If the PPP leadership truly wants to demonstrate that it is serious about growth and development, ethics and good governance, then it should reinstate Mr. Kissoon immediately! The PPP must learn to identify and reside on moral high ground. It cannot allow itself to continue pursuing a confrontational political agenda which sees it as the big bad political bully.
Guyana truly needs a mature political society where politicians can agree to disagree and coexist without the fear of victimization. Citizens must be allowed to freely express their opinions and not worry about political retribution. The PPP likes to refer constantly to Guyana as a democracy. However, in a democracy dissenting voices are not penalized and victimized. They are encouraged and respected.
Today it is Freddie Kissoon. Tomorrow it could be you or a member of your family! Guyanese must stand up and demand an end to political victimization.