I write to convey my deep appreciation to Professor Dr. Churaumanie
Bissundyal for his expression of gratitude regarding my assistance in obtaining a position of Professor of Fine Arts in Fiji in letter titled `Grateful to the Caribbean Press for publication’ (SN Jul 1, 2013). I never sought and I am not now seeking publicity or any public expressions of thanks for the assistance I have rendered to so many people. I also wish to note that I never announced to anyone that I helped Prof. Bissundyal to obtain a job in Fiji in spite of queries from friends. Whatever assistance I give to others is not a matter of public record and I have helped hundreds in various ways and thousands financially (including some in Guyana, India and Trinidad).
For the record, Dr. Bissundyal was not the first or last person I attempted to help. He is a gentleman and a fine scholar who will make a significant contribution to any university. I have travelled a lot over the last few decades and spoke at several international universities developing contacts which I have used to help others (never myself resulting in my wife constantly chiding with the comment that charity begins at home). It is my nature to assist people, and since him, I assisted several individuals who came seeking recommendations for employment. At any rate, Dr. Bissundyal was hired based on merit, competence and his extraordinary credentials and hardly on my recommendation. He is an accomplished academic. Few Guyanese have published as much as he has and he has done a lot to help fellow Guyanese in America. In addition, he contributed significantly in the struggle for the restoration of democracy in Guyana.
What is disappointing is his own country denied him employment at UG. When I confronted members of the academic board at UG on why Dr. Bissundyal, an activist against the Burnham dictatorship, was not hired, their defence was “the PNC associates” were opposed to him. When I pointed out that the PPP government appoints a majority of members on the board, they told me to find out why the PPP leadership has appointed PNC associates on the board.
UG’s loss in not hiring Dr. Bissundyal is Fiji’s gain. My contacts in Fiji inform me that they are most impressed with his academic productivity and his credentials. They tell me that few foreigners have graced their university with the kind of work ethic (time spent instructing students and preparing reports for the university) and publications as Dr. Bissundyal. He is greatly admired by students and colleagues (a few of whom visited Guyana and with whom I had exchanges when I was a guest lecturer in Fiji). Dr. Bissundyal is well respected and regarded for the kind of rigor he demands from those he instructs.
I wish Dr. Bissundyal well in his future endeavours and hope UG board members will reconsider why they did not vote to hire a talented son of the soil who was forced to seek employment in distant land and in whom another Caribbean university has expressed an interest.