In Guyana the violence against women is only getting worse, rape and murder is everyday story. The police does nothing about it, the government turn a blind eye and go as far as covering up rape when one of their own is the perpetrator.
Women like Priya Manikchand, Shalimar Ali-Hack, Gail Teixeira, Bibi Shadick should be ashamed of themselves. Only the other day Shalimar Ali-Hack’s husband and head of CIOG Shaikh Moen-ul-Hack basically said Guyanese girls are directly responsible for being raped. This is the husband of the lady that is responsible for laying charges against perpetrators of these heinous crimes. Is it any surprise why there is no justice for rape victims?
Pick any article in the news today about the brutal rape of the young lady in India, and you can easily substitute Guyana for India in it, except for the part where people are protesting.
The PPP and their friends are allowed to do anything they like to women, and the average man on the road see this and do the same.
By STABROEK STAFF | LETTERS | THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2012
The report ‘Kissoon didn’t qualify for contract‘ in SN of Feb 1 raises some new questions while leaving old ones unanswered.
The old questions are:
Why would the university allow an incompetent lecturer to remain for more than 2 decades?
How could it be a sensible financial decision to terminate a contract immediately, in effect paying a lecturer not to teach, when the council could quietly decide not to renew the contract at its legal end?
The new questions the article raises are:
Why has the council not formally cleared the air on the termination of Mr Kissoon’s contract if it is true that this, as with all other decisions was consensual?
Does consensus at council deliberations mean that the positions of the PPP members carry the day?
Having read much of the coverage relating to the de facto firing of Mr Kissoon, a reasonable conclusion is that the decision was political, and there is much to be said for Dr Henry Jeffrey’s analysis in the same issue of SN that Mr Kissoon was fired to show who has the power. I would add that the intent, besides plain malice, is to send out a warning to those who might be prepared to speak out in ways critical of the presidential party. I suggest that it is past time for the party representation type of council to be changed.
This is no way to run a university or a country.
Karen de Souza
UG Students Society President denies voting against Freddie Kissoon
Written by Demerara Waves
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 19:30
The President of the University of Guyana Students Society, Duane Edwards on Wednesday bluntly denied that he supported the termination of Political Science Lecturer, Freddie Kissoon’s contract.
Four Council members, who represent the Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPPC), have said that none of the 14 council members supported Kissoon’s retention.
But in a statement, Edwards called the claim by Indra Chandrapal, Nirmal Rekha, Gail Teixeira and Bibi Shadick “absurd” and almost false and mischievous.
“I now conclude by saying categorically that I argued for the retention of Mr. Kissoon based on the interest of the constituency I represent,” said Edwards.
Kissoon’s contract termination, the payment of three months salary in lieu as well as no offer of future employment is being used a launching pad by workers and students organisations on the Turkeyen campus to press for a number of demands. They include hygienic conditions, no political interference, improved laboratories and the hiring rather than the firing of competent lecturers.
Daily lunchtime protests and marches are being held on the campus and the organisations- University of Guyana Workers Union, Senior Staff Association and the Workers Union plan to escalate ‘Operation Rescue UG’ into a strike in another 72 hours if no action is taken.
Following is the full text of the statement by the President of the Students Society.
Recently four PPP/C UG Council members have seen it necessary to speak publicly about what transpired at the last Council meeting. In relation to my participation in the process as the representative of the UGSS, the press release is promoting as an ‘incontrovertible truth’ what in fact borders on gross misrepresentation of facts that smacks of mischief-making. Apart from coming close to falsity and mischievousness, the press release which claims that ‘not one single member of the 14 council members present at that meeting, including the [University of Guyana Students Society]… supported [Mr. Kissoon’s] retention’ is a reduction to absurdity of what exactly transpired at the meeting. It is inconceivable that in less than two weeks before the beginning of the second semester that the academic staff and I would be party to a decision the consequences of which could be inconveniencing to students and burdensome to the faculty. When the version of the unfolding of the Council meeting presented by the press release is juxtaposed with the fact that the matter had to be transferred from the Appointments Committee, a body dominated by academics, in order to secure the intended outcome then the claim that no academic staff supported Kissoon’s retention becomes even more absurd.
I wish to further state that my voice was among those voices of reason that highlighted the totally irrational and inconsiderate nature of terminating a contract in the middle of the academic year.
Representing the interest of the students, I pointed out to the Council members the extant situation as it relates to the shortages of lecturers for key courses and the fact that lecturers are expected to fetch extra courses to make up for these shortages which consequently result in reduced quality instruction and engagement and lack of program preparation.
I now conclude by saying categorically that I argued for the retention of Mr. Kissoon based on the interest of the constituency I represent.
By STABROEK STAFF | LETTERS | WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2012
My colleagues have reminded me of my letter in your publication of December 19, 2011, imploring obedience to the law disqualifying persons with dual citizenship from sitting in the National Assembly (‘The new MPs should hold only Guyanese citizenship’). This law is Article 155 (1) of the Constitution which says “No person shall be qualified for election as a member of the National Assembly who is, by virtue of his own act, under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state.” Having said to them I think I did my part and hope the political leaders will do theirs, I am reminded this is not enough until an answer is received or corrective action taken. So here I go again and hope this time the politicians hear and give answers or execute actions.
The disqualification law is similar to the law forbidding a naturalised Guyanese from running for the presidency, and stipulating the period of absence from the country to be eligible to run for office. The positions of president and member of parliament are the two highest political offices. I attended some of the 1998-2000 Constitutional Reform meetings and heard that the reasons for having these included were to avoid persons holding office who are not fully committed to the country or jumping ship when the going gets tough. The feeling was you cannot serve two masters at the same time. The presenters and attendees cited examples of this practice in other countries in making their case.
It is said that there are cases of MPs holding dual citizenship in all three parties. The public officials involved should come out and clear their names with proof. If they don’t then the party leaders should. The disillusioned have resigned themselves to a fate that things will get worse because the members of this corps of politicians are birds of a feather.
My colleagues are convinced we are witnessing the death of public service and political decency. They think public servants no longer serve the public, are arrogant and a law unto themselves. A recent ‘Frankly Speaking‘ column referred to this being a badly kept secret. The columnist supplied a definition for ‘honourable,‘ hinting that the ‘honourable‘ in the members of the National Assembly has waned. There is genuine concern about the growing absence of integrity which was a prerequisite for public service in the not too distant past. Honour was worn with pride because it meant everything, whether rich or poor, educated or uneducated, living in the rural areas or the towns. Persons stepped aside until their names were cleared or proof was provided in defence of their name. The pessimists rejoin that the accused are from our generation.
Editor, the bone of contention here is the law and all being subject to it, but some think they aren’t. The point is not whether the law is outmoded; it is that it exists. The MPs took an oath to uphold the constitution and should respect the law because it is on the books. Our sister Caribbean countries had to deal with a similar matter. It was handled, and the accused made answerable. With a public outcry and the help of the media the accused and enablers no longer ignored the people. There is the feeling the same can be done here. I sincerely hope this time the MPs and party leaders take the time to respond or you use your publication to have them do so.
Gail Teixeira a Canadian of Convenience, meddling in University of Guyana affairs, sparks a massive protest
Committee plans to shut down UG
By Latoya Giles
Classes at the University of Guyana are expected to be suspended until further notice as plans are apace for mass protest today at the Turkeyen Campus. Yesterday the leading figures in “Operation Rescue UG” which comprises students, workers and academics, spoke to a packed audience in the George Walcott Lecture Theatre yesterday, outlining a series of issues which they are fighting for.
The purpose of the meeting was to urge the UG community to come out in support of the closing down of the University until the demands of staff and students are met. These demands include contract renewal for Freddie Kissoon and Vincent Alexander.
Duane Edwards, President of the students’ union, told the gathering that so far the students at UG have been disappointing in that they have failed to protest the appalling conditions at UG. He urged them that the time is now right to fix all the wrongs that have been done to them.
Edwards called on them to look to their conscience and be morally forthright in fighting for the rights of Freddie Kissoon and Vincent Alexander at the Turkeyen campus.
Kaieteur News columnist Freddie Kissoon explained that throughout history, the young has changed civilization for the better. He said that the young have the passion and purpose and as such he called on the youths to participate in changing UG by protesting.
Kissoon exclaimed to loud applauses; “We are closing down this university.” Describing what happened on Friday, the opposition raised his dismissal with Jagdeo and his team in the tripartite talks, and he remarked that the Government’s nonsense must be stopped. He explained that President Ramotar told the opposition that they cannot ask him for answer because it was a UG matter and they must ask UG Councilors.
Kissoon said that when Councilor Gail Texieira was called upon for ban explanation, she refused, only to say that she cannot divulge UG Council deliberations because they are confidential. Kissoon further stated that when Texeira argued for his contract termination when asked what will happen to the students, she said that was a problem for UG administration to fix.
“Gail Teixeira, said that she holds a Canadian passport while her two daughters were educated at York University,” Kissoon said.
Senior academic Dr. Patsy Francis, called on students to let their voices be heard on the deteriorating situation at UG. She pointed to the holes in the roof of the George Walcott Lecture Theatre and told them that they have to sit in classes while it rains on their heads.
She remarked that she recently came back from Barbados where her salary was far higher than what she got at UG.
Meanwhile, the University of Guyana Senior Staff Association (UGSSA), the University of Guyana Students Society (UGSS) and the University of Guyana Workers Union (UGWU) in a press statement yesterday condemned the recent decision of the University Council to terminate the full time, temporary contracts of several university lecturers.
The termination of Mr. Frederick Kissoon’s contract with the specific caveat that he must not be reemployed in any capacity (either full time, part time or temporary) is particularly troubling as it has all the appearances of political victimization for his outspoken criticisms of successive PPP Governments.
They said that they reject the interference of the Council in the academic affairs of the University and insist that departments and faculties are best positioned to determine staffing needs. We will therefore not allow the Council to determine who departments employ as academic staff. We demand that the termination letters be withdrawn and all lecturers concerned be allowed to fulfill their original contracts.
Apart from the violation of proper labour procedures, the terminations of these seasoned, qualified academics will also have deleterious effects on students who are already faced with insufficient and inadequately trained lecturers.
UGWU, UGSSA and UGSS are also deeply concerned about the lack of transparency, lack of accountability and apparent bias displayed by government representatives on the University Council in arriving at the decision to advertise the position of Registrar.
Notwithstanding University regulations that require the advertisement of the positions of Director of Berbice Campus and Bursar, the Council employed a performance-based mechanism to recently reappoint Mr. Daizal Samad as Director of Berbice Campus and Mr. John Seeram as Bursar.
The motivation therefore behind the decision to advertise the position of Registrar, held by prominent opposition member Vincent Alexander, is viewed with suspicion. The Council is cautioned that the disparate treatment of the three cases has understandably roused fears of ethnic and political discrimination and we urge the Council to function in accordance with principles of transparency and parity. Our position is that either all the positions are advertised then filled or all are filled on the basis of a performance evaluation. Anything less is unacceptable and will be resisted.
UGWU, UGSSA and UGSS are also greatly concerned about the working conditions for all categories of staff and quality of education received by students. Salaries and emoluments are grossly inadequate, way below comparable levels at regional universities and in the public and private sectors in Guyana.
Offices lack basic equipment and the physical facilities used to instruct students, particularly in the science and technical faculties are not only inadequate but also dangerous and place the lives of staff and students in jeopardy.
Staff members and students are demotivated and demoralized. “We are therefore concerned that the World Bank negotiated loan to rehabilitate those faculties involved in Science and Technology has not yet been signed.”
It is inconceivable that monies available for the enhancement of student’s welfare are in danger of being lost to the institution and we urge the Government to immediately move the process forward so that the University can be enhanced.
UGSSA, UGSS and UGWU are prepared to immediate take all legal and industrial measures to restore academic and administrative order at the University of Guyana. “While we intend to fully resist political interference and victimization, we are prepared to work with all stakeholders, including the Government, the Administration and the Council to secure better working conditions for all categories of staff and better quality education for our students.”
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.
PPP govt too busy promoting vulgar entertainment, rather than promoting decency,another example of how PPP failed Guyanese
Lack of education could be cause of women seeking pregnancy terminations from uncertified doctors, Teixeira says
By OLUATOYIN ALLEYNE | 8 COMMENTS | LOCAL | SUNDAY, JANUARY 8, 2012
Presidential Advisor on Governance Gail Teixeira has described the death of an East Coast Demerara woman following a botched abortion, as unfortunate, pointing out that a lot had been done since the passing of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act in 1995.
The Act, which became operational in early 1996, made the process of a woman terminating an unwanted child legal in Guyana.
Teixeira, who was the Minister of Health in 1995 and had piloted the bill through Parliament, told Sunday Stabroek that it is possible that a “lack of education” could have led to the …..