I write after having read the editorial in the Guyana Chronicle of Monday, December 15 captioned ‘Country above Self.’
I was initially pleasantly surprised that the editorial chose to reflect on aspects of my letter which the newspaper very kindly published last Thursday. I was, however, quite astonished that firstly, the Chronicle misinterpreted my reference to ‘liberation theology’ as being some phenomenon that had occurred in Guyana and implied that this ‘liberation theology’ contributed in the 1970s and 1980s to the “proliferation of choke-and-robbers, kick-down-the -door bandits, children out of school to fetch water for long distances because of lack of potable water in their communities or to line up for basic foodstuff and essential household commodities, or to sell sweets at street corners to augment family income, among others.”
If the GC re-read my letter, they will note I wrote, “a model of liberation theology – the kind that took root and blossomed in our region (underlined for emphasis and ‘region’ meaning Central America and South America) during the 1970s and 1980s.”
Maybe they never heard of one of the foremost practitioners of liberation theology – Archbishop Arnulfo Romero (1917-1980) of El Salvador, who was assassinated while celebrating Mass at the altar. The liberation theologists were in the forefront of the struggles of the masses against the then oligarchic regimes.
Secondly, my letter addressed, in my opinion, topical issues of concern in Guyana and I avoided identifying these with any particular political party. But if my sentiments were deemed to be subtly directed to any one political party, then all I can do is to quote Brother Bob Marley: “Who the cap fits, let them wear it.”
The fact that I was appointed Chief of Staff by the then President HD Hoyte in 1990, commanded the GDF in the transition from the PNC-led government in 1992 to the PPP-led government, and was retained in that appointment by President Dr Jagan and three successive Commanders in Chief (Presidents Samuel Hinds, Janet Jagan and Bharrat Jagdeo) until my voluntary retirement at age 55 in 2000, and then immediately after retirement, being requested by President Jagdeo and Leader of the Opposition Mr Hoyte to chair the Guyana Election Commission for general elections in 2001, does not require me to prove my unbiased professionalism – Quod erat demonstrandum.
One other correction: I am a Major General – one rank higher than a Brigadier.
I also consider it passing strange that the Chronicle would take the particular slant in their editorial of December 15, 2014, when on Wednesday, December 10, 2014, in acknowledging receipt of my letter, they responded as follows:
“Dear Mr Singh, I received your very well written, timely and thought provoking letter which I will gladly publish in our tomorrow’s [last Thursday’s] edition of the Guyana Chronicle. I know you’re a very busy man but I encourage you to keep writing. We need credible persons like yourself to influence the public debate on issues of national importance.”
Needless to say, I shall now take the advice with a large dose of epsom salts.
Joseph G Singh
Major General (rtd)