I do not wish to engage in what seems to be evolving into a futile, albeit repetitious correspondence with Frederick Kissoon regarding an issue that is as plain as daylight (‘Rai would not speak on his life and politics for Ramharack’s biography,’ SN, June 18). Mr Kissoon is questioning the veracity as to whether I actually interviewed Balram Singh Rai as part of the natural process in completing the study on Rai’s biography. On page xii of the book, it is clearly stated “Rai agreed to meet with me in London.” I noted that Rai had initially rebuffed the encroachments of several Guyanese writers to meet with him to gather information on his political background. However, a civil servant, Rampersaud Tiwari, who edited a draft copy of Cheddi Jagan’s West on Trial and who was a close friend of Rai, helped open the doors for me to meet with him. I spent a few days interviewing Rai for the book in his semi-detached house in Ealing (London).
During, and after the personal interviews, Rai continued to provide me with answers to additional questions through correspondence, as well as a treasure trove of documents and pictures which I could not have easily obtained otherwise. As evidence of the interviews, though not for publication, I am attaching to this letter a copy of a picture taken with Rai and myself in his living room during one of the interviews, as well as a letter, dated August 10, 2003 he sent me (he used an old fashioned typewriter to type all of his letters!).
I am now questioning whether Mr Kissoon has actually carefully read the book or is more intent on using his multiple media platforms as a bully pulpit to engage in slash and burn journalism against those with whom he disagrees. Since Mr Kissoon has opposed Rai getting a national award, I was wondering if he would be willing to advocate for Rai to secure his parliamentary pension. This is all that matters right now.