SN was the only newspaper that followed the Shivraj/NIS inspectors story

Dear Editor,

I refer to your news item, ‘Buddy Shivraj charged with failing to produce NIS records‘ (Sept 28). I thought it was important for the future of journalism to write this viewpoint so that young journalists coming up can understand the importance of competition in the media. The process not only enhances the quality of the profession but healthy, professional media rivalry makes a country (and by extension the world) freer, because it provides citizens with information about life and people that they need to know about.

As an analyst in the media since 1988, I have learned more about human nature and Guyana that I would ever have been able to experience if I had stuck to my academic occupation only. I hope to share these moments in book form so I could leave something, not only to my only child, but to the generations to come in this country. I did include the Shivraj incident with the NIS workers in one of my columns for the Kaieteur News that I write for. I did not devote the entire article to it. There was a certain reaction from certain quarters to it but I will leave details of that for discussion at another point in time or in the book that I plan to do about my media career

I want to thank the SN for pursuing this story of the Shivraj/NIS inspectors‘ controversy. Episodes like these go to the heart of who I am as a media practitioner.

From the time I occupied space in the SN and the Catholic Standard in the late eighties and early seventies, I wanted to pursue a career as an investigative media operative. I feel disheartened that I could not pursue this incident further in my columns, but that is another dimension of my public life that is best left for another time. Had it not been for your crusading journalism, Shivraj would not have been charged.
I am deeply hurt at the way the shape of the legal matter turned out. A society becomes a messy, Kafkaesque banana republic when public servants like court marshals, police officials, NIS inspectors, and court levy personnel are contemptuously treated like nuisances by powerful people in the land, and become untouchables because of protection by, of all people, elected leaders. Up to this point, the society has not heard anything further about the police investigation in relation to the gate that was rammed at Ogle airport.

The Shivraj/NIS inspectors‘ imbroglio and the Ogle gate incident are episodes in the post-PNC life of this country that cause me to reflect every day on my activism against the PNC government, under both the Burnham and Hoyte presidencies. I have no regrets that I have confronted and fought both governments. If I have to live my life over, I will do it again. Human rights are in my blood. But I can say boldly, bravely and honestly, the type of exercise of power that we see in Guyana today, at the essential level, is far more depraved than the Burnham regime. I will continue to speak out and confront the cabal whose bad governance allowed the NIS inspectors to feel they have no worth in Guyana. I regard the Hoyte interregnum as the most democratic government since the colonials gave British Guiana self-government

It is not normal for a media operative from another newspaper to publicly pronounce positively about the journalistic ethics of another printing house but it is love of country, my human rights blood and my love for investigative journalism that compelled me to write to you about this pursuit that has finally reached the courts, which should have been done minutes after the incidents occurred. Your newspaper was the only media house that doggedly went after the defaulters. I admire this kind of journalistic relentlessness and wish that I had the space to do the same. But I do try with the little latitude I have in my columns

Yours faithfully,
Frederick Kissoon

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