The politics of Manickchand

Dear Editor,

I refer to your editorial on Sunday, April 13 captioned, ‘Vulgarity.’ I was moved to pen this commentary out of your description as follows; “The father of political vulgarity in its modern incarnation is undoubtedly former President Bharrat Jagdeo… Ms Manickchand clearly belongs to the same school.” I have long written on the politics of Ms Manickchand after I saw her performance in Parliament when she was made a Minister by Mr Jagdeo.

It was clear to me that her postures, gesticulations, vocabulary and facial expressions indicated that she was not going to be a debater who would abstain from unbecoming language. I wrote about this.

What I also wrote about after conversations with people with access to the PPP hierarchy was the type of politics she had embraced – the typical hardline approach by the PPP.

Ms Manickchand in my opinion also belongs to the Clement Rohee school that refuses to see that they are dishing out what they don’t want people to dish out to them. Right in front of me during a recess in the libel case Mr Jagdeo brought against me, Ms Manickchand sought to upbraid Mark Benschop over an unflattering piece on her on Mr Benschop’s web page. I was disgusted and turned away.

In July last year, Ms Manickchand contacted the publisher of Kaieteur News, Mr Glen Lall over my column, ‘In the Ministry of Education, an evil injustice goes on’ (July 2013).

The column was based on research I have been doing since 1989 on school placements at the nursery and primary levels. My data is irrefutable. It is foolproof and more waterproof than a submarine – at the prestigious nursery and primary schools, children from outside the catchment area get into those schools in large numbers

In my research I showed where in Station Street, Kitty less than five per cent of the children who lived there got into Stella Maris when Stella Maris served that area; it is the catchment school for that part of Kitty.

At St Margaret’s, the situation is equally obnoxious. The article made no mention of Ms Manickchand or the Minister of Education.

On contacting Mr Lall, Ms Manickchand complained about a line in the column which said that over the past two years the situation has worsened. She told Mr Lall that by those words, it meant her as Minister.

To think that a Minister can contact a newspaper over such a banal, ordinary opinion. And I would like to think that can only happen in Guyana.

Because Ms Manickchand is a mother of two young children, I called her about the article. I felt that a mother may feel aggrieved when her children saw pungent criticism of her in the press.

In our conversation, Ms Manickchand said she would release the figures to me to show that the schools do indeed stick to their catchment areas. She also assured Kaieteur News she would provide the spreadsheets. To date she has not.

She cannot because my research is accurate.

Finally, I did remind her that contrary to her public statement that the University Council’s vote to dismiss me in January 2012 was unanimous was untrue. In fact, the dismissal went through by a majority of one vote.

 Yours faithfully,

Frederick Kissoon                         

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