This University of Guyana/Kissoon matter has reminded me once again of an exchange between a former Guyana Chronicle columnist and Moses Nagamootoo at a conference held at the NAAC1E building in Kingston some years ago. In response to Mr Nagamootoo rebuking him about his one-sided writing – “How could you bastardise yourself like that? – the columnist with a straight face casually said: “Moses, don’t worry with all dah talk about balance writing, conscience about right and wrong; when the table turn, you gon be doing just wha I doing now and I gon be saying all wha you saying now.“
Judging from what I’ve read and what many learned respected individuals in academia who are knowledgeable about the modus operandi of UG have said, and the explanation from the UG Council, it appears that they will have the devil’s job in convincing the majority of Guyanese that the dismissal of Freddie Kissoon is well grounded and not political in nature.
Given that Mr Kissoon is the author of relentless and caustic criticism of government, ministers and senior public functionaries for a host of improprieties and immorality over the years, and given how he is perceived by an overwhelming majority of our people, definitely both the UG Council and the government will be like a cow on ice trying to convince the nation that this popular columnist is not being sledged for being annoyingly critical.
All the defence arguments about the legitimacy of the contract and the age factor, from all the evidence, when placed against the arguments stated by the many contributors, do seem tangled and feeble.
Really, though, to be practical, it surely becomes too large a pill to swallow by claiming that after 26 years of teaching at a university – except one has lost his/her mind – that a lecturer has all along been incompetent, performed below required expectations and has not been doing research. The retirement age factor we can leave out, since as Clarence Perry has noted, too many precedents exist at UG. Then how can you, having discovered all these shortcomings, never have summoned this individual to point them out? Why was there never a warning as Kissoon has stated, or ever a complaint against him from any student?
And this is what makes the stand taken by the UG Council a hard pill to swallow in their attempt to assert that the dismissal of one of the foremost critics of the government was without malice. It is a tough job, like having a basket to fetch water.