Dodson was not chosen for her engineering, legal competence

Dear Editor,

I refer to the letter of October 6, ‘GAPE nominated Emily Dodson to the Public Procurement Commission,’ signed by its president, Kwame Pindar. Mr Pindar made a tiny reference to the legal training of Ms Dodson. Was that deliberate?

Ms Dodson and I were contemporary students at UG, 1974-1978. After graduating in electrical engineering, she pursued a law degree. Ms Dodson has been practising law rather than engineering for the past thirty years. Guyana is in a real mess when you digest Mr Pindar’s letter. There must have been more than a thousand graduates in mechanical and civil engineering since Ms Dodson became a lawyer. Yet GAPE found the only suitable professional for the Public Procurement Commission (PPC), an electrical engineer who has not been active in her field for over thirty years. I lived in Guyana for the past thirty years without living elsewhere and I know Ms Dodson in that time has been practising law.

If this is not a shambolic society then the entire world is primitive. This is such a lost land that I am absolutely sure not even one engineer will reply to Mr Pindar. Let us say John switched from architecture to medicine twenty-five years ago. Is Mr Pindar telling me that he would recommend John in preference to architects who have been at their trade for the twenty-five years John has been a medical doctor?

Mr Pindar is right when he wrote: “We do not know for sure why she was selected and appointed to the PPC.” I offered my reason in the letter Mr Pindar has replied to. It did not include any analysis of her legal competence. I have not written anything negative about Ms Dodson. The subject was not Ms Dodson but the character make-up of the leadership of the APNU+AFC. An engineering qualification was not what the Appointments Committee of Parliament was looking for to fill the PPC. It couldn’t be because only one member, Ivor English, has a background in engineering and he spent a greater part of his public service career in management. The Chairman of the PPC is not an engineer.

I don’t need to repeat for Mr Pindar why Ms Dodson was chosen by the Appointments Committee which has five APNU+AFC parliamentarians as against four for the opposition. I will repeat for those who do not know the background. The names have to be voted on. It meant that Chris Ram and Anand Goolsarran did not get majority votes assuming that their names were even entertained.  If there was no vote then the consensus did not favour Ram and Goolsarran.

But how did Ms Dodson make it? The PPP would have balked at Ram and Goolsarran. Likewise one expected the APNU+AFC parliamentarians to resist the nomination of Emily Dodson. She was Mr Jagdeo’s lawyer who won for him in the High Court and Appeal Court his challenge to the two-term constitutional restriction. Why would Mr Jagdeo employ Ms Dodson? I assume all lawyers make ideological choices when they decide to take a case.

My contention is that the PPP favoured Ms Dodson for obvious reason and the APNU+AFC chose her for ethnic reasons. This is my opinion and I feel the ethnic factor was at work in the removal of Mike Khan at the Georgetown Hospital and the recall of Elisabeth Harper. The politicians of this country are intellectually blind. Burnham alienated half the population because of ethnic politics and couldn’t govern effectively. Presidents Cheddi and Janet Jagan, Jagdeo and Ramotar alienated half the population and couldn’t govern effectively. The present government has introduced the ethnic factor in decision-making. It will end up with the same fate as its predecessors.

In closing let me say that Ms Dodson was not chosen by the Appointments Committee of Parliament for her electrical engineering degree or her legal training. Sadie Amin wrote that it was the Women Lawyers Association that nominated Ms Dodson because of her law experience. Her ethnicity was the decisive factor, a factor that has played a destructive role in the entire history of our country.

Yours faithfully,

Frederick Kissoon

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