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On Wednesday evening, the UG Council met and rescinded three lecturers’ contracts that the Government’s representatives wanted sacked in October because they claimed the Vice-Chancellor had no legal right to issue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.
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.