Wikipedia is not a credible, authentic academic source of information

first_imgDear Editor,An editorial in sections of the media of March 20, 2018, on the late Cheddi Jagan, was timely, given that it was his 100th birth anniversary.It seems that the names Jagan and Burnham are symbiotic in that any reference to one always seems to occasion the mention of the other. Your editorial was no different. It is in relation to that reference that I pen this letter.Your editorial stated that: “Cheddi Jagan founded the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), fashioned out of a merger of the PAC (Political Action Committee) and the then British Guiana Labour Party (BGLP) led by Forbes Burnham”. The correctness of that assertion is hereby questioned and the truth proffered based the following irrefutable facts.1. The BGLP’s formation predated Burnham’s return to Guyana.2. There was no merger between the PAC and the BGLP. The two were established in the same year. Ashton Chase was a founding member of both. Nanda Gopaul in the Bengal Tiger, his biographic work on Ashton Chase, in reference to the BGLP noted that “The party went out of existence shortly after the 1947 elections”, in which it had participated.3. The PAC remained in existence until 1949.4. Burnham returned to Guyana in 1949 and the PPP was formed in 1950.5. The PPP’s website ( in the article “History of the People’s Progressive Party” does not acknowledge any such merger between the BGLP and the PAC to form the PPP.In fact, three years had elapsed between the expiration of the BGLP and the formation of the PPP.6. Burnham was a co-founder of the PPP and its first Chairman. He did not transition from the BGLP to the PPP.7. Burnham’s role as Co-founder/Chairman of the PPP was essayed before his return home when Ashton Chase, a founding member of the BGLP and the PAC, declined the offer and eminent Caribbean leaders proposed Burnham as being best suited, in view of the potential that he portrayed as a student leader in the West Indian community, in London; and his political and progressive activism, while in London.8. In preparation for his activist role in the anti-colonial struggle in British Guiana, Burnham detoured to Jamaica, on his way home, for an induction into, and orientation on, the anti-colonial struggle in the West Indies. His political association, upon his return home, was with the PPP, as a founding member.Unfortunately, Stabroek News’ version seemed to have been pulled from Wikipedia which facilitates lay versions and discourses on matters of public interest. Wikipedia is not a credible nor authentic academic source of information.It is my sincere hope that Stabroek News acknowledges that it would have been revisionist and thus misinformed its readership on an important matter in the country’s history; and the biography of Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham.Yours truly,Vincent AlexanderChairpersonBurnham Foundationlast_img read more

Are we promoting a “lawless” society?

first_imgDear Editor,Kindly permit me to express myself — while also assisting other residents in Montrose, East Coast Demerara — about a most dreadful noise nuisance that emanates on a daily basis from the popular bar, which is located at Montrose.I would also like to publicly call on Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan and Police Commissioner (ag) David Ramnarine to address the matter with urgency.Over the past 12 months, residents of Montrose have been living at the mercy of this bar. The owners have no consideration for the people who are living around its immediate environs. Most nights we cannot have a good night’s sleep because of the loud music. Due to lack of rest at nights, we cannot concentrate and work the next day, as we always have a drowsy feeling, sometimes headaches, and lack of energy as well.Please note, some of us have huge bank loans to repay, hence we have to work. Some of us are on daily “blood pressure medication”, and when these tablets are taken and we cannot have our sleep, we feel like we are “running mad”.Students cannot concentrate on their studies at nights. There are elderly and sick persons in the area who are affected as well. Babies keep “jumping” out of their sleep. Our windows keep vibrating from the bass of the music.They just don’t have any regard for us and the curfew time as set out by the law enforcement, since they would close off sometimes at 4.00 a .m and 5.00 a.m. in the morning.We have been desperately crying out for “help” since March 18th, 2017, and, to date, nothing has changed, even though letters were sent to the abovenamed Public Officers.After twelve continuous months of misery from this bar, and no help seemingly forthcoming, our question is: Are we promoting a “lawless” society, instead of a decent environment for our children?The vulgar lyrics emanating from that bar are not what we would like our young children to hear. At an early age, their little minds have started to grow in a negative direction, as against towards good values in life.We cannot continue to live with this noise, it is having negative health effects on us. It is driving us to the limit. Yes, it is driving us to the limit. Please, Honourable Public Security Minister and please, Police Commissioner, look into this matter with immediate effect. It is not going down well. People need to sleep when the night comes. If you have to CLOSE the business, then do so. Residents in Atlantic Gardens are terribly affected as well.Just for information purposes, our investigation on the opening of this bar on March 18, 2017 revealed that they were NOT in possession of any permission from the L.B.I./Better hope NDC to build any building; no approval was obtained from the Ministry of Housing; no approval was obtained from the GRA to sell liquor; no approval was received from the E.P.A to play music within the limit of the law, and there is a cut-off time of 11.00 p.m.Yet this building went up, opened its doors, and it is business as normal, no one can touch them. What are the regulatory bodies doing? It would appear that the law applies only to those who do not have contacts.Why do the people who are living around this bar have to struggle to get justice; struggle to get a good night’s rest, so that their bodies can recuperate to go on the next day, as against the lawlessness and vulgarity which goes on there on almost a daily basis by a handful of people?It is indeed regrettable that we have to move to the ministerial level to seek help, so that we can continue to live in our homes in peace when the night comes.Many nights after 2.0 a. m there seems to be no sign of lowering the music. The DJ with the “mic” usually be in full flow then.We trust that immediate action will be taken against this bar, and we iterate that this bar should be closed, because it will continue to have our lives in misery. It is NOT easy having to endure this NOISE continuously, and we all do look forward to your personal intervention, as your sub-ordinates seems incapable of dealing with this particular matter.Thanking you for your prompt action.Kind regards,Concerned Citizenlast_img read more

APA clearly playing politics

first_imgDear Editor,A section of the media reported on alarming news on Thursday, July 26th, 2018. A former member of the National Toshaos Council (NTC) Executive, Mr Lennon Shuman, revealed that the APNU/AFC Government was lobbying to ensure that the new Chairman of the NTC is someone whom Government can control.First, Mr Lennox Shuman said the old NTC Executive did work to counter this lobbying, but I respectfully disagree with him when he says that the counter-efforts were successful. I say this because of the photograph that has surfaced, and shows the new Chairman of the NTC; a top member of the Amerindian People’s Association (APA), Jean La Rose; and President David Granger socialising together. Imagine, the former NTC Executive could not get a meeting with President David Granger; a sit-down can be arranged to involve ONLY the new NTC Chairman – not the NEW NTC Executive – and the President.Second, the APA is clearly playing politics here with the NTC – with what is the ELECTED BODY that represents the rights and interests of Amerindians in Guyana. The reason I say playing politics is because the new NTC Chairman is also associated with the APA. Amerindians in Guyana can only hope that there is no sabotage of what should be a strong agenda of the new NTC Executive.Third, no one has forgotten that it was Jean La Rose who was the deputy head of the APNU/AFC List which was presented at the 2015 General and Regional Elections. Yes, the same Jean La Rose who is in the leadership of the APA. The same APA that has been silent on all of the transgressions visited upon Amerindians in Guyana by this APNU/AFC Government.When the controversial Land CoI issue came up and concerns were raised about the possible threat to Amerindian land rights, President David Granger did not meet with the NTC – the elected body that represents the rights and interests of Amerindians in Guyana. President David Granger instead met with the APA – a charade to show that he has engaged a body that is supposedly dealing with Amerindian issues. Both President David Granger and the APA insulted the intelligence of the Guyanese people because: one, nothing has been done since that meeting to substantially address the Amerindians’ concerns about land rights; and two, the APA said nothing about the controversial Land CoI.Finally, the international organisations funding the APA as a non-governmental organisation, including the European Union and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), should recognise that they are funding a political group, not a sincere non-governmental organisation that works to advance the interests of Amerindians in Guyana. What other evidence do you need to see that the APA is a political group when Guyanese know that a key leader, Jean La Rose, is also the deputy head of the APNU/AFC elections list?Sincerely,Anson Paullast_img read more

Tribute to VS Naipaul

first_imgDear Editor,Renowned West Indian author Vidya S Naipaul drew his last breath on Saturday, August 11, 2018, just a week shy of his 86th birthday. Naipaul was perhaps the most controversial contemporary literary figure, vilified and criticised as a man, but as a writer, he drew unparalleled admiration from the literate world.Naipaul not only wrote in a lucid, unambiguous style but he playfully exposed men and women for their falsity. VS Naipaul was just 18 years of age when he entered Oxford University in the United Kingdom in 1950. By 1957, he had published The Mystic Masseur which lovingly poked fun at the Trinidad he grew up to and remembered from every angle but which also exposed false gods, men who were mimics and who had no sense of identity. His characters, such as “GR Muir”, “MBE”, are emblematic of the wider society.We in fact came to that delightful book of short stories, simply titled Miguel Street (1959; Somerset Maugham Award), before we came to The Mystic Masseur, and those stories made us realise that ordinary people were the characters in fiction, that the purpose of fiction is to hold up a mirror to the society and who stared back was yourself (and many of us did not like what we saw in the mirror). Characters such as “Hat”, “Bolo”, “Man-Man”, “B Wordsworth”, “Bogart”, and the unforgettable “Laura” became immortal for us of that age. Those characters are timeless. Novel after novel by VS Naipaul revealed the dilemma of being a colonial, the complex matters of dispossession, placelessness, and identity, the emptiness of the post-colonial world, the quest for self-knowledge and freedom.Among the fictional works Naipaul wrote are The Suffrage of Elvira (1958); A House for Biswas (1961); The Mimic Men (1967; WH Smith Award); In a Free State (1971; Booker Prize); A Bend in the River (1979); The Enigma of Arrival (1987). Naipaul embarked on travel in 1960, and produced writings too many to list in this letter; in one of them, Finding the Centre (1984) is a perceptive discussion of his emergence as a writer.His travel writings were a way of questioning the imperialist form of the novel that we had inherited. He even ventured into the Muslim world in his pursuit of truth and said things which angered Muslims. He angered Africans, women, and West Indians by saying, “History is built around achievement and creation; and nothing was created in the West Indies….”, but Naipaul did not care what people thought of him; he was a man with a mission even if he was accused of transferring his own neuroses onto his characters.A writer does not need philosophical training to write; he is the philosopher.Naipaul richly deserved the Nobel Prize (2001) and his Honour of Knighthood bestowed by Queen Elizabeth 11 in 1989.In 2007, on a visit to Trinidad, VS Naipaul appeared on a public platform, a few of us from Guyana (including Bernadette Persaud, Ryhaan Shah and myself) travelled to Trinidad to celebrate Naipaul week with the hope of catching a glimpse of the man who had done us all proud.At question time, a man from the audience ventured a question whereupon, Naipaul, as gentle as a lamb, like a father to a four-year-old child, replied, “Please find another question, you asked me that one already.” That is the writer who people vilified as being “strange” and “cold”.At that meeting, I presented the writer with copies of The Arts Journal. I doubt he gave them a second glance, and I don’t fault him for that because I appreciate that he spent this life educating us, giving us a clear sense of who we are and our place in the scheme of things.VS’s younger brother, Shiva, was also a prolific writer whose Fireflies (1970; winner of three awards including the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize, the Jock Campbell New Statesman Award, and the Winifred Holtby Prize) and The Chip-Chip Gatherers (1973; Whitbread literary Award) are also profound statements on the complicated questions of culture and place of Indians in Trinidad. Shiva died in 1985 at age 40 but not before he had written four more works: North of South (1978); Black and White (1980); A Hot Country (1983); and Beyond the Dragon’s Mouth (1984).In fact, it was their father, Seepersaud Naipaul, a journalist, who was first bitten by the writing bug; by example, he led the family into a scalding awareness of the post-colonial world.His Gurudeva and Other Stories was ultimately published (1976) by Andre Deustch long after his death. Now, the news has it that their sister Savi has just released a book about her brother.Perhaps, in her book, we shall discover the reason her brother, so critical of the imperialist world, chose to spend his entire life in England. Trinidad and the English-speaking Caribbean owe much to this family and Hanuman House has a place in history.The Arts Journal records its condolences to family and admirers. VS’s passing has left a lamentable void; it would be decades before the West Indies produces a writer as fearless as Naipaul to tell us bluntly about ourselves.Ameena GafoorFounder andSecretary, The ArtsForum IncFounding Editor, TheArts Journallast_img read more

GECOM has no reason to be unprepared for elections

first_imgDear Editor,A lot of talk is being heard about Guyana Elections Commission’s (GECOM) preparedness for the holding of National and Regional Elections. We are also hearing talk that a new house-to-house registration is needed. Now we are hearing talk about them needing 180 days to prepare.All of these claims are really excuses with the view of frustrating the will of the Guyanese people.I say this because in 2015 the Commission had 90 days to prepare and they did to hold elections in May of that year.All over the world, including in our sister Caricom states, Election Commissions are ready to conduct free and fair polls with as little as a month’s notice.Millions of Guyanese taxpayers’ dollars are spent to put GECOM on such a footing.Recall that GECOM was made into a permanent Commission in the year 2000. Before then it was not. It was set up only to conduct elections and then dissolved.The reason for doing so was to ensure that GECOM would always be ready to conduct elections. The situation which we have now was always anticipated as a possibility.  Therefore, measures were put in place to ensure that GECOM would be ready at all times.Continuous registration began in 2005. By legislation, the law mandated that the list of 2001 be used as the base for continuous registration.Let me state that that piece of legislation was reached by agreement with all the political parties in the National Assembly.When the operation began, GECOM had an arrangement with the General Registration Office to get monthly reports of all the persons who died during that month. That list was shared with the political parties. The purpose of that was to ensure that the names of those who died were constantly removed from the lists.  That practice was ongoing at least up to 2015.  I have every reason to believe that it is continuing.I am aware that GECOM had even moved to get the lists from Police Stations to be given to the Registration Offices in each region. This was to accelerate the process of removing names of the dead.Therefore, there can be no argument that GECOM is not ready.  It was provided with all the resources to fulfil its mandate.Mr Ramjattan has displayed his lack of knowledge about elections issues, or he is faking to play for more time. He had said that he wanted new house-to-house registration, to put onto the list, persons who have come of age.The laws that established GECOM have made provisions for putting people on the list.I have described one such process in the form of continuous registration.The other way is during the Claims and Objections period which every election must have. During this time all those who had recently come of age can put their names on the list and those, who for one reason or the other were not registered can also be registered. In the same way names of the dead that were missed can be removed. That is why the period is named ‘Claims and Objections’.It is therefore difficult to understand why GECOM is not ready. They have been given a constitutional mandate and they must fulfil it.All the talk about lack of readiness is either dishonest, pushed by persons who want a rigged election or because of the lack of knowledge or both.If GECOM officials are saying they are not ready, then it means that they are compromising themselves to satisfy the APNU/AFC.Sincerely,Donald RamotarFormer Presidentlast_img read more