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On Wednesday evening, the UG Council met and rescinded three lecturers’ contracts that the Government’s representatives wanted sacked in October because they claimed the Vice-Chancellor had no legal right to issue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.
Phillip Bynoe’s presence on the PPP/C stage for its Sunday, October 16th Linden Rally is a stark reminder of the nature of the governance Guyanese have suffered for 19 years, and a man without a soul.
Along with me, Bynoe was on July 15, 2002, charged with treason. This charge which infers the accused is engaged in acts inimical to the state’s interest, was as a result of my presence in front of Office of the President.
My presence there that day was to lend solidarity to the Lindeners’ struggle for equal rights and justice. I had a loud hailer in my hands appealing to the heavily armed Presidential Guards not to shoot the unarmed protesters who were seeking an audience with the President.
In pursuit of justice, several unarmed persons were shot to death, and dozens injured by trigger-happy Presidential Guards.
At that time, Bynoe and others were leading daily vigils in front of State House with persons primarily from Linden who were seeking the attention of the government to ensure social and economic justice for their community.
This was the call the PPP resisted and proceeded thereafter to gain public acceptance of their discriminatory management by demonising the group and calling them names like hooligans and criminals.
Having spent over five years in the Camp Street jail, in solitary confinement (and my case called just once in the High Court, with 11 of the 12 jurors bringing back a ‘not guilty’ verdict.)
I was finally released on August 27, 2007, with a critical period of my youthful life spent behind bars on a charge I was never guilty of, and of which President Jagdeo used as a pretext to show his ‘omnipotence’ and drive fear into this nation by saying he has forgiven me and hope I have learnt my lesson.
During those five years Bynoe was on the ‘run’ and writing/calling President Jagdeo seeking his pardon. Pardon for what – was he guilty of a crime when the court, who has the authority to make such a judgement, never ruled on the matter.
The people of Linden in 2002 were protesting for social and economic justice, their conditions are worse off today than in 2002.
Among some of the injustices are high unemployment, increasing poverty, poor school conditions, absence of a pension and where such exists, it is measly. Injustices have also been meted out to workers employed by the Bauxite Company of Guyana Inc. (BCGI), a company owned by the Government of Guyana and RUSAL.
And, even after almost 10 years since the protests, Lindeners have still not achieved economic and social justice. Yet, Bynoe wants Lindeners to support such a heartless regime.
It is under this PPP administration that the people of Linden have been targeted in a manner never seen before in this country.
Bauxite which has been the mainstay of this town has seen the government caring little or nothing about what happens to this industry, and how the workers are treated.
Over the years bauxite workers have had to suffer such injustices as the government took away the tax-free overtime they fought for, in as much as they keep it for sugar workers.
Bauxite workers have been wrongly dismissed and going on to two years the government refuses to enforce the Labour Laws to ensure justice prevails. For the many without a job, they have to subsist with the help of overseas support or having to do menial day-to-day jobs, in as much as they are highly skilled.
Linden, a once thriving town, is now dying as a result of the vindictive, racist and cruel PPP regime. The people are crying out for economic and social justice – theirs are like voices crying in the wilderness.
Having spent my early years in Linden (and a product by birth) I know the people of Linden are proud.
They are not lazy or incompetent, but want what is theirs by right. This is the town the PPP chose to make its political pitch on Sunday, October 16th, touting it as the largest rally in history when it came nowhere near the tens of thousands that attended the rallies during the earlier years of the PNC.
This is the town the PPP punished for 19 years even though Prime Minister Sam Hinds was rescued by Linden and worked in bauxite.
This is the town the PPP went to ask for another five years, making false promises of value added products to bauxite and bringing 2000 new jobs when the truth be told they took away thousands of jobs from Lindeners, seeking to bring the people to their knees.
Bynoe did what he thinks he had to do, but for those who know better and believe in better, his support of the PPP and calling on Lindeners to support the party – knowing fully well of the people’s sufferings under this PPP regime – is mere pandering and singing for his supper (eating the King’s Meat.)
And, most importantly, it reveals the nature of the man without a soul – a self-serving person who will do anything to satisfy his interest, even exposing his people to more injustices and deprivations.
I ask the people of Linden not to vote PPP. You deserve better. Do not be fooled by their promises, free t-shirts, small piece to attend rallies and wine down, because should you let them win on November 28th they will make your lives worse off than now. Time to take back Linden, and the entire Guyana from the hands of modern-day ‘massas’, and slave drivers.
Mark A. Benschop
I pray to allow me to share with citizens some experiences over the weekend.
They speak to real but worrying conditions existing in our beloved Guyana.
At a function on Sunday evening in the village of Crane, West Coast Demerara, I met a seventy-six year old Guyanese born retiree living in Delaware, USA. Painfully he related some experiences, He was unhappy at the sharp decline in standards since his last visit. He was in a hire car when a Police Patrol stopped it – after a brief exchange, he observed the driver of the hire car take a bag of rice from his trunk – the police took it and drove off.
Next he related that he spent part of his childhood in the Golden Grove, Nabaclis area and reading about the many contracts and the wonderful things coming from the Ministry of Education, he was surprised to find the school in the village in such a sorry state.
Finally, he lamented that as an ex-police, our police and teachers are still poorly paid.
After leaving that village, I noticed a convoy of vehicles – enquiries revealed that they were part of a large number of vehicles including sugar estate vehicles that were commissioned to take persons to and from the PPP Rally in Kitty.
One Linden resident told us he was given $3,500 as a meal allowance to attend the said rally.
The previous evening a young man came forward at the vigil on Main Street protesting the ban on Channel 6 – he openly related how he was asked how much he needs to read a Martin Carter poem at the event to commemorate United Nation Year of People of African Descent’, sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport and held at the National Stadium.
When the sum of five thousand dollars was mentioned he was told that more was available. He explained to those of us gathered on the Main Street Avenue, why he refused to sell his soul, but having heard of the vigil came and asked permission to recite the poem, he was allowed and duly did so.
It is clear, the PPP and the government are in possession of substantial sums to purchase support and are in the business of rent a crowd and glitter.
Buses were seen lined up from the Kitty Market to the Sea Wall.
The PPP has been in office for almost two decades, ought they need for such tactics, but they know full well that history repeats itself, and we would always have those to whom money is just about everything.
Kaslay noted. “Money is a bottomless sea, in which honour, conscience and truth may be drowned.”
Let us hope that such persons who take these incentives know how to exercise their franchise so as to avoid future indignities.
Hamilton Green, JP
OCTOBER 5, 2011 | BY KNEWS| FILED UNDER LETTERS
So the Ramotar Campaign is off and what a start! Last count showed some 10,000 “trucked people” from all over Guyana for a typical PPP “wine and grind” session. In 1992, Dr. Jagan had 25,000 Berbicians rallying to his call for time for change, but today this pitiable cabal has to scrape all over Guyana to muster 10,000 people. What a step down for Team Ramotar.
But let us get to the substantive points Donald raised since the AFC will win this elections on issues rather than following the PPP style of promising and not delivering (Duckism).
Mr. Ramotar pledged at Albion that he would “build a modern Guyana if elected with greater focus on cheaper energy”. So what was Jagdeo doing all along? Running around the mulberry bush! Did Donald wake up Sunday morning for the first time in his life?
This Ramotar cabal speaks with a forked tongue. In 2006, this is what the Ramotar cabal said in their manifesto “We intend to make reliable and affordable electricity available to all Guyanese and industries.”
Five years after and our people are still waiting for this carrot from these bogus leaders, who eat the people’s grape, drink the people’s wine and throw the grape seed at the people telling them to eat and be happy.
Well for 19 years the people had no choice since the PNC was an incompetent and ineffective opposition party that still cannot move away from its race-based foundations. Today, however, the PPP is faced with a formidable multi-racial political force in the form of the Alliance for Change (AFC) and we sense that the people are in the mood to share licks like peas on the PPP come elections day.
But to expose these empty promises some more, Donald talks about “investigating bio-fuel”. If one is to follow the PPP record on bio-fuel it was “dead on arrival” after the “treaty of convenience” with one Mr. Duprey from Trinidad .
Mr. Duprey got his fame from the CLICO conglomerate that lost $6.8 billion of Guyana’s money. The long and short was he wanted 100% of Guyana’s molasses for among other things –ethanol production, when Guyana had a proposal on the table from a reputable Brazilian conglomerate to produce bio-fuels.
For dubious reasons, the political sponsors of Ramotar chose Duprey. Luckily, Yesu Persaud sued and saved Guyana from another CLICO-related fiasco. Jagdeo got mad and here we are 10 years after still talking about bio-fuels rather than reaping the benefits for the people. No jobs, no future thanks to the PPP.
The AFC speaks about actually developing a bio-fuel industry creating thousands of new jobs in the sugar belt and in the coconut industry. This industry will be formulated in a transparent manner with a clear aim of creating over 1,500 new jobs in sugar and coconut with reputable bio-fuel companies in Brazil and India.
The opening dialogue has already started and once in Government, we will conclude. Can you see the difference from the Action for Change Party and the Perpetually Promising Party?
Donald talks about “energy being more expensive than our neighbours’” yet he sat as General Secretary of the PPP for more than 14 years and did nothing about this crisis. He watched as President Jagdeo spent billions of dollars on fuel guzzlers at GPL and now he asks you to trust him to change course?
But the truth is the PPP cannot deliver on hydro. If we vote PPP, we will just be setting ourselves up for another Skeldon Factory, more pain, and more losses all funded by the taxpayers.
Why is Ramotar not explaining to the people how many jobs he will create, when and where in Guyana ? Why is he ducking the debate on jobs?
The AFC will create more than 8,000 new jobs in its first terms as a result of public policy measures flowing from our Action Plan. We will be creating jobs in the sugar belt, in the coconut belt; we will be creating some 2,000 new jobs across Guyana building computers in Guyana, by Guyanese for all Guyanese school. We will spend less money per computer than the PPP by importing the parts and building the computers at the industrial estates at Coldingen, Hampshire, Linden, Essequibo, and Rupununi.
So dance on Donald to the chutney queen Fiona, dance on. While you wine and grind, the AFC is concluding its work to fund the 20% salary increase across the board for civil servants.
Our technical team will deliver on the promise of our Presidential Candidate Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan and our Prime Ministerial Candidate Mr. Raphael Trotman, to pay the workers 20% wages and salary increase in the public service.
We will also deliver on the AFC promise of reducing the VAT from 16% to 12%. We will deliver on increasing the tax threshold for workers to $50,000 per month. We will deliver on reducing the PAYE rate from 33% to 25% by the end of the first year of the Ramjattan Government.
So dance on Donald, dance on, while the AFC “Government in waiting”, prepares public policies that are pro-poor and designed to grow worker’s productivity.
The post-colonial insanity of the PPP
The story of the failed leaders who inherited the territories of the Third World after the white man left is tragic in the extreme. No writer with access to Dickensian ability to use the English language can even attempt to describe the economic and psychological death of the Third World after Independence.
To say that I am not emotionally overjoyed with the defeat of Gaddafi is to exhibit immense personal dishonesty. This fool of a leader overthrew the monarchy forty years ago, then, became a monarch himself. One of his sons paid the superstar Beyonce, two million dollars to sing three songs. The year before, he paid Lionel Richie, one million dollars to do two songs. This money wasn’t his; it was the country’s resources he was using so wastefully.
All over the Third World you see the pitiful, Naipaulian failure of post-Independence leaders. Their people run from the psychological prison these rulers built and turn themselves into second class, third class and even tenth class citizens in other lands.
A friend of mine told me it was a horrible sight to see how four Berbician carpenters were living in Barbados. Apparently the employer of the construction work they were doing, allowed them to stay in a large dog kennel he had. I mean every word of this. I am dead serious of what I have just written here.
If the citizens of Niger, Guatemala etc., run away from their birthplace and submit to these semi-civilized conditions, one can understand, given the economic ruins they are fleeing from. But not Guyana. The consensus of the economists who visited this land is that Guyana is a rich territory.
What do our leaders do with our money? From August last year right up to the time of writing, the State is involved in the expenditure of funds to sustain non-stop entertainment. It has gone so bizarre that it goes beyond singers and dancers. They bring in international cricketers to play in meaningless matches. The Government essentially pays these cricketers and performers. Of course American money is the preferred currency.
I am still to make up my mind which is the stupidest statement I ever heard from a PPP leader since that party came to power in 1992. I know Mrs. Jagan wrote in one of her Mirror columns just before she died that Guyana’s medical services are superior to the US, because in Guyana there is free medical treatment. What was foolish about this is that if people could afford it they would spend their money on private hospitals and refuse the Health Ministry’s generosity.
The Secretary of the PPP’s Executive Committee is the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Heath. His name is Hydar Ally. Mr. Ally published a brief letter in the Stabroek News informing readers that the founder of the communist ideology, Karl Marx was proven right by the United States in 2011 because right now in America, life is about the rich dominating the poor.
No one will pay any attention to Mr. Ally; no one did. But what is frightening is that this man occupies one of the most important positions in the public service and is a high-ranking member of the ruling party.
He is followed closely by another PPPite that has substantial authority in the public sector, Prem Misir. He wrote that all over the developed world (and he cited the UK), Governments are cutting back on funding the universities. This was meant to justify the limited money UG gets from the State. What Misir deliberately, and I say deliberately omitted, was the gigantic fact that Guyana has only one university while the UK has over one hundred.
Go on High Street today and you will see the post-colonial insanity of the PPP. More Guyanese citizens are served by the Licence Revenue Office at Smyth and Princes Streets than the Magistrates’ Court on High Street (courts 1, 2, 3). Yet there are extensive extensions being done to these courts and the High Court. But the Licence Revenue Office, smaller than perhaps the large cow pens of rich farmers, remains an incommodious hell-hole.
To accommodate the large influx of people who have to be there, Smyth Street, between Durban and Princes Streets, has been made into a one-way. The PPP expects more persons to be charged and placed before the courts so they extend the agencies of coercion. Institutions of force get more priority than places where development takes place. Only a change of government can save Guyanese.
Bharrat Jagdeo is delusional, Guyana does not have money to even build a bus depot, much less build a railway.
This is the PPP government attempt to bring the dismantling of the last railway into public discourse as an election gimmick. The president should come out and say outright that the PNC got rid of the railway, instead of promising a railway to poor people, that will never materialize in his lifetime. This is PPP’s way of getting re-elected at all cost.
The reason that Jagdeo is saying this and not Donald Ramotar, or the PPP, is that years down the road when people ask where is the “promised railway”, PPP can always claim that Bharrat Jagdeo was delusional and on the way out when he made that promise, so the people cannot hold the PPP responsible. Jagdeo claims of increasing population highlights his delusional ramblings, since more than 150,000 Guyanese run from Guyana every decade, legally that is.
Jagdeo’s talk about hospitals and schools leave much to be desired, currently at Georgetown hospital patients share one bed, schools all over Guyana are in a deplorable condition, many have no windows, washroom are nothing more than pit latrines.
The president should have talked about how Guyana depends heavily on remittance and cocaine dollars to keep the economy growing, about Clico, florida real estate, promoted the failed Clico boss to the Guysuco board etc.
Railway system to be re-established in Guyana
A railway system would be re-established from Diamond, East Bank Demerara, to Mahaica, East Coast Demerara, says President Bharrat Jagdeo.
Guyana was the first country on the South American mainland to establish a railway. The first section, from Georgetown to Plaisance was opened on November 3, 1848.
The then government scrapped the railway in 1972 at the time fuel was cheap and the railway had become uneconomical. But oil did not stay cheap. By the mid-1970s the first oil crisis hit, fuelled by the war in the Middle East.
At the time it was scrapped the railway system had stretched from Rosignol in Berbice to Parika in Essequibo.
The then Prime Minister, the late Ptolemy Reid, later expressed regret at scrapping the railway.
Where the railway track was, is now the Railway Embankment.
Re-establishing this transport system is being done to offset the expected increasing traffic congestion on the East Bank Demerara in light of the housing and commercial expansions in the stretch, Presdient Jagdeo said.
His comments came at the one-stop exercise to award about 1,000 persons with house lots in the new housing development at Eccles, East Bank Demerara.
At the One Stop Shop activity held on Thursday at the National Stadium, Providence where the lots were distributed, President Jagdeo revealed that Government would be accessing more land from GuySuCo to expand housing.
He noted that two years ago Government purchased the land from GuySuCo for $4B and it is now being distributed as such this is not an election gimmick. Furthermore, Government would be acquiring more land from the entity.
It was revealed that in the first phase Government is seeking to establish 10,000 house lots.
Other improvements earmarked for the transportation sector are the extension of the four-lane road from Providence to Timehri and an alternative road would be constructed from Mocha to Ogle.
Moreover, the provision of jobs for the increasing population would be available as a shopping mall would be constructed and three call centres are expected to setup businesses in the area. In addition a new modern airport would be constructed.
However, land space would be left for commercial industrial development.
The East Bank would also benefit from additional secondary schools so that children can attend learning institutions close to their homes.
Already, the district has a hospital at Diamond and with the 300 doctors that are expected to return home soon would boost the facility’s human resources capacity.
President Jagdeo emphasized that in America 10 million persons lost their homes owing to the economic crisis and four million persons are expected to loose the homes as they are in the foreclosure market. In addition, millions have lost their jobs.
However, unlike the Caribbean countries Guyana’s economy kept growing owing to preparatory works done in relation to fiscal management.
Guyana’s budget is $164B and the country is borrowing less and spending more of its own money. Previously the country was borrowing more than it could have afforded and this resulted in a high foreign debt.