The public must have clarification on the Caribbean Press

Dear Editor,
Now Dr David Dabydeen has come to the defence of the esoteric ‘Caribbean Press’. But since Dr Dabydeen is by no means the Oracle of Delphi or of Manoa, his letter must be considered in terms of its content, and as having described the most bizarre publishing arrangement I have so far been exposed to in principle. I have had works published and have self published for over  twenty-three years, but never in my years of self publishing have I appended the logo or trademark of a publisher to the cover of my publication when that publisher had not paid for it. It’s unthinkable, unless the Minister was seeking some kind of credibility and legitimacy using the said logo; as I said, it is bizarre.

The Minister must step forward from his inner sanctuary, and engage the local writers and explain why a taxpayer funded publishing arrangement is treated as if it is a private sector company. The public must have clarification on the Caribbean press: (A) who is its Chairman? (B) Who decides what is ‘literary culture’ and what constitutes a peer reviewed press? (C) Is its mandate truly elitist and democratically void as its unpublicised existence implies? (D) Now that Ruel Johnson has responded to Dr Dabydeen’s pronouncement about giving up his honorary position as editor and has volunteered his own participating services, the next step would be to lower the bridge and open the gates on the Caribbean Press. I too am completely interested in engaging the procedures of its Mission Statement.

Some years ago (3-4) we waited breathlessly for the release of Anna Benjamin’s book on the 1763 Rebellion, I approached her constantly on its release. It was mentioned in Dr Dabydeen’s letter in the Tuesday, Jan 15 Stabroek News (‘Minister Anthony paid the printing and shipping costs of his daughter’s book’), but I have not yet seen it in the section reserved for the ‘Guyana Classics’ since I have purchased many of those republished editions, which I must now assume is the Caribbean Press corner at Austin’s Bookstore.

I think that I am vindicated when I publicly stated that there is need for a separate Ministry of Culture, open and managed by persons who have persevered in shaping the post-independence decolonization of Guyanese culture, and who know the landscape.
Yours faithfully,
Barrington Braithwaite

Editor’s note
Ms Benjamin was told that her book on 1763 would be launched around the anniversary of the uprising in February.

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