It is established that someone in authority in the Guyana Chronicle barred columnists David Hinds and Lincoln Lewis from writing their columns in the taxpayers’ publicly owned newspaper. All elected executives who are ministers who might have been suspected of giving the order have denied doing so and I begin by believing them if only because they all are deemed, and bear the title “honourable”.
Reports not denied so far suggest that the editor has admitted imposing the ban acting in his own discretion. He does not say that he suspected the writers of any breach of professional ethics and drew it to their notice without success, or whether their fault was evidence of a common design against the Chronicle.
It has also become known that four members of the newspaper board have resigned in protest. Because of the clear rise of non-reasoning in high places in our country I make no comment on the news of real action. I sincerely hope that their rights and dignity will be respected and that they will not be persecuted for allegedly supporting anyone or any parties or faction. They have acted and their freedom to act should be publicly recognized and defended.
The removal of columnists named from the newspaper’s columns is an act of repression. Speaking only for myself in the hope that no one else will be held responsible for my remark, I see this act as Burnhamism plain and simple. It was that notable figure on his way home in 1973 who said in Barbados cryptically in reply to questions about his treatment of freedom of expression: “In Guyana we don’t tell people what to write we tell them what not to write.”
Does the Editor of a government newspaper take the Oath of Office? And what about those who answer to parliament for such institutions?
Talking about printing, there is the report of the denial at some level of a proposal to print a stamp for the ‘hundred year’ of Cheddi Jagan’s birth in Guyana. If the report is true, I wonder who wants to ignore landmarks? And this is not my reason for raising this issue, but it makes Jagdeo’s next election campaign much easier.