I have been following the discussions in relation to the revocation of Dr Hinds and Mr Lewis’s columns from the national newspaper, the Guyana Chronicle. I could not care less about the revocation, but I am somewhat amused at the defence put up by the twosome. According to both of them this manoeuvre has the fingerprints of the government written all over it. This big bad government directed their underlings (according to them) to cease and desist carrying their columns. Dr Hinds in the Kaieteur News of March 15 called on the government to “cease being small minded and spiteful.” He further iterated after learning of the board’s decision: “that not many people in Guyana have the courage to stand up for principle.” And adamantly declared that “it’s a political decision.” A hatchet job in other words.
Mr Lewis, on the other hand, was more restrained; he claimed in the Kaieteur of March 3 that “it would be naive to think that the Editor-in-Chief unilaterally disposed of myself and Hinds as columnists.” And why not? I have been in the newspaper profession for quite some time and in that profession you learn that the Editor-in-Chief makes all decisions, including personnel and the news in the newsroom. You are also reminded that the
Editor-in-Chief has the pen, to either scratch or to write. For both of them to think that it was a directive of the coalition, reminds me of my old grandmother Clar, Clar who in a situation like that would say “you think herring of yourself.”
Yes they do. They completely ignore what the Editor-in-Chief said, and steadfastly believe that it’s the order of the government that held sway. If the government is so perturbed by their writings, then this government should immediately shut up shop and slink away. If the firing of cap pistols by these columnists so discombobulates this administration, what are they going to do when the real war starts? The writings of Dr Hinds, for one, never impressed me; personally I think that he is confused. He is all about criticizing. This is what he said in Grenada while making a speech back in 2016: “I argued that the Caribbean has stood still in development terms partly because our governments have avoided revolutionary changes, our independence leaders once in office, become reformist at best, never going beyond the confines of political and economic correctness.” Words from a man who with his cohorts in the WPA fought down the most revolutionary thinker we had in Mr Burnham. He and the other professional writers, and TV analysts and activists in Guyana, are excellent at criticizing, but ask them for one coherent political idea to move this country forward, you will encounter mutes.
Dr Hinds really believes that this small-minded and spiteful government was becoming queasy because of his influential missives? If anything the only people he influenced are the ten remaining members of the WPA and his family in Buxton. I have heard Lincoln Lewis, a trade unionist by profession and activist by choice, complain strenuously how Stabroek News “butchers his letters.” I am sure that he knows that the editor has a pen in that. I would not want to put down his activism, but I would think that his activism would be connected more so with the unions. He was around when the PPP splintered the trade union movement. That unlikely episode never occurred during the time of the Burnham dictatorship. Mr Lewis, with all of his political activism, like humpy dumpty could not put the trade unions back together again. Come Labour Day each union takes to its own excesses. And the irony is unions are a synonym for “solidarity”, but in Guyana they could not be further apart. He who could not put his own house in order, has the temerity to criticize how another house is being administered. Oh’ and by the way the subvention was reinstated by this spiteful government.
The Stabroek News is a newspaper that I have always considered a Trojan Horse, which shamelessly ignores their birth. They think it is their duty to take sides in the City Council brouhaha, and those who are against the parking meters. They think that they are supposed to turn the present Town Councillor into a buffoon (Stabroek News cartoons March11 and 14). In replying to a want-to-be Town Clerk, Mayor, and activist, the present Town Clerk listed his academic qualifications, pointing to the fact that he is amply qualified for the position. However that particular paragraph carried in the other dailies was conveniently omitted from the Stabroek. This surely could not have been done without the silent knowledge of the Editor-in-Chief.
During the term of the previous Town Clerk, who gave grief to the council, with numerous no confidence votes against her dismissed or disallowed, never was she caricatured in the Stabroek News. At no time was she personally insulted or demeaned. Another Minister in the PPP government was hoping for an epidemic to befall Georgetown, (we all know the majority inhabitants of Georgetown) was he scolded for his utterances by Stabroek News? Of course not. The double standards of the Stabroek News is nothing new. The words of Ronald Austin Jr in the Chronicle of February 20 column, ‘The Enemies of the Republic within the Gates of the Republic’, sums up our present position. “While we look beyond our borders to identify and nullify threats to the Republic, let us not rule out the possibility that the biggest threat to the Republic may dwell within the gates of the Republic, singing the National Anthem and reciting the Pledge.”
1. The previous Town Clerk’s appointment was criticized by this newspaper, as was her performance on the job, sometimes with tongue-in-cheek. The Minister who made the comments about an epidemic in Georgetown was taken to task in an editorial, and came up for censorious mention in other Stabroek News leaders.
2. The cartoonist for this newspaper is the equivalent of an independent columnist; he is not on the establishment or given assignments.
3. Mr Milton Bruce was once a columnist for Stabroek News.