‘Not engaged in PPP propaganda’

Dear Editor,

Mr Malcom Harripaul’s latest missive, ‘Bisram’s statements and polls support the present government‘ (SN, Aug 19) is a regurgitation of the two previous ones he wrote accusing President Jagdeo of begging for an invitation but offering no evidence to support his claim. Then he refuses to accept that his half-baked concoctions have been debunked and instead hides behind an anonymous staff member of the President.

Contrary to what Mr Harripaul penned, I have been critical of this administration many times and have received severe tongue lashings from the late Janet Jagan, President Jagdeo, Robert Persaud, Hydar Ally, etc, as well as dozens of negative missives from unknown writers.  In fact, the late publisher Mr de Caires offered me sound advice to limit my political commentaries and not overly critique or attack political parties or candidates. I heed that advice.

With regards to his comments on my Hindu/Indocentric background, it is true I am an orthodox Hindu and an Indian and I am very proud of my background. I am not negating an Afrocentric and Christian background. As a Hindu, I make a conscious effort to speak and write the truth. It is standard journalistic practice that the media must verify information before printing it. Obviously, Mr Harripaul does not know this basic tenet of journalism. If the media had asked the FIA to comment on Mr Harripaul’s claim that President Jagdeo requested an invitation, his propaganda would have been debunked.

For the third time, in three letters Harripaul accuses me of engaging in PPP propaganda without offering any evidence. When challenged, he came up zilch, nada. The late David de Caires told me when an allegation is made against anyone, the writer must offer sound evidence to support it. Mr Harripaul should not have been allowed to make allegations against me or anyone without proof. Now, I can understand why politicians sue some detractors for libel.  Not once have I ever endorsed the PPP or asked people to vote for them or penned something praiseworthy of the party.  In stark contrast, Mr Harripaul has been continually badgering Guyanese to vote for the PNC (now APNU) and his former commander, Mr Granger, since last year. And in addition, he has penned anti-PPP propaganda (just read his latest letter).

Contrary to what Mr Harripaul penned, I never “issued a poll in support of the PPP.” I conduct polls in Guyana (and elsewhere) and report the findings.  One of the polls in 2005 showed the combined opposition defeating the PPP and was published in SN.  Other polls (2006, 2007, 2008, etc) have shown C N Sharma as the most popular political personality in  Guyana.

Were these also PPP propaganda?

The problem with Mr Harripaul is he cannot negate the findings of the polls and since the findings are generally accurate, he maligns the pollster, attacking the messenger because he cannot debunk the message. Who is stopping Mr Harripaul from carrying out his own polls and reporting his findings?

Contrary to what Mr Harripaul penned, I never showcased Jagdeo to the FIA as a good or bad President.  He was invited because he is an Indian who happens to be the head of a nation. In addition, the FIA is not engaged in any PPP propaganda. The FIA is a non-political organization that invites politicians to march in the parade.  Many African politicians such as Greg Meeks, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, MLK Jr, etc, have marched in the annual parade that began in 1980.  Would Mr Harripaul conclude that their participation in the parade meant the FIA was engaged in propaganda work on their behalf?

In conclusion Editor, Mr Harripaul‘s Shakespeare quote from Hamlet, “The lady doth protest too much” is self-fulfilling. I am not the kind to waddle in mud.  So I will not comment on other attacks on Mr Jagdeo and other personalities.

Yours faithfully,
Vishnu Bisram

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