‘I have no control over the publication of letters’

Dear Editor,
I refer to Ms Isabelle de Caires’s missive in SN lamenting that a letter critical of me that she sent twice to Kaieteur News was not published (‘KN did not publish letter seeking to correct columnist’s statement’ SN, March 3). I have no control over the publication and non-publication of letters. I have absolutely no authority at the Kaieteur News. I am its independent columnist. That is all I am. I have read Ms de Caires’s letter and it is extremely mild in comparison to the condemnatory comments from letter-writers Kaieteur News have carried on me as recently as last month. I believe there has to be a mistake and the SN can inquire of Mr Adam Harris for an explanation.
Here is the reason why. A few months back I asked my daughter that when I pass on she must give all published materials written by me and materials written on me by others to UG library. There is an enormous file I have on stuff written on me by others and many are very egregious criticism of my activism carried in the Kaieteur News. As recently as last month, Kaieteur News published a letter by Sam Hinds asserting that I am a morbid person. I don’t see why KN would want to hide Ms de Caires’s letter. I doubt that very much. There has to be an explanation and I am sure Mr Harris can offer one.
If the letter was sent to the proper address, Mr Harris and two other editors would definitely have seen it. Not one of those three persons would duck a letter critical of me. They never did it in the past. From the publisher, Mr Glen Lall to the editor-in-chief Mr Harris to the senior editors, they all know that I can defend myself and they have never offered me any protection by not printing missives that chastise, castigate and criticize me. I do not want such protection even if it was offered. The comments of Ms de Caires are extremely mild. Why would KN not want to publish them?
My colleagues at KN know I would not sue them for libel so they take excessive latitude and have permitted the printing of pretty unpleasant letters written by others on me. I have never been fazed by that attitude. In the Guyanese context, I am incapable of being embarrassed by what others say about me because I believe many such writers are not the kind of people I care about. I don’t know Ms de Caires, never saw her, never spoke to her, not aware that she has written anything negative about me.
I have no views whatsoever on Ms de Caires and would never, and I mean never, interfere in the process of stopping her letters on me sent to Kaieteur News. The day I resort to such a stratagem is the day that I become a fearful person and live in trepidation of what others think of me. I want to say for the record for all Guyanese to know; I am not the type of person who cares what Guyanese have to say negatively about me. This is a very sad, tragic country and I am not bothered about how certain Guyanese see or think of me. For this reason, short of disgraceful fulminations against me that are of a libellous nature, I will never intervene to prevent comments adversely critical of me from being published.
I would point Ms de Caires to my column of Saturday, March 3 in which I explained what I wrote of David de Caires in the previous column. It was not anything out of the ordinary. I need not repeat what my Saturday column explained; suffice it to say that I saw elitism in the style and attitudes of Mr de Caires and moreso Miles Fitzpatrick. I was unhappy writing for such ownership of a paper but that was my opinion. It didn’t mean that Mr de Caires was an unpleasant and terrible man. On the contrary, he was a gentle, likeable person who made a positive contribution to Guyana and I respect and admire him for that.
The class and colour mentality I saw at Stabroek News I have seen elsewhere. I saw it vividly in the WPA when I was an activist with that party. It is in the AFC. It is practised by people who claim to be democratic. It is practised by African and Indian Guyanese right at this moment. The Portuguese in Guyana did not have a monopoly on class and colour prejudice. Such an attitude is despicably found in many eminent light coloured African and East Indian families. This was Guyana. This is Guyana.
Yours faithfully,
Frederick Kissoon

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