I write to take issue and at the same time, expose the primary intention of Freddie Kissoon’s column that was published in Kaieteur News on Thursday, March 29, 2018: under the caption, ‘Roopnaraine is the most honest activist the WPA produced.’
Editor, there are several things in Mr Kissoon’s column which are of interest to me. The first is that over the years the thing which is most glaring and disappointing about him is the level of his inconsistency, opportunism and dishonesty on his advocacy of issues.
My second point is that Kissoon is known in the past to have struck deals for a price with those he now claims to despise politically. Lest he believes that the nation and I have forgotten and, in order to underscore this point, I refer unapologetically to his vicious attack on Professor Clive Thomas when Thomas announced his intention to write a series of articles on the descent of Guyana into a criminalized state and his (Kissoon’s) acceptance of a commission from the PPPC government to write a series of articles, which he titled ‘Oceans 13’ or some other foolishness, to negate the effects of Thomas’s articles. Let him deny and stand condemned, that he stated he was first approached by Minister Nagamootoo on the assignment and when an agreement was struck Minister Robert Persaud was identified as his contact person. Guyana was only made aware of his deceitful and mercenary behaviour when he complained publicly that when the time for payment arrived the PPPC refused to pay him. I recall that during the period of Dr Thomas’s advocacy of the degeneration of Guyana under the PPPC, Mr Kissoon was most hostile to him. Remarkably, this political adventurist when it was convenient to him was very high in praise of Dr Thomas as a person of the greatest integrity. I submit here that his treatment of the Roopnaraine matter is consistent with his handling of the Clive Thomas issue.
I do not need to remind readers of the several occasions Mr Kissoon has attacked and denounced both Rupert Roopnaraine and the WPA as dishonest and degenerate in our politics and of being the worst things that ever happened to Guyana. His sudden change of heart and his new romance with Dr Roopnaraine points to both the extent of his opportunism and the dangers that are located in his political analysis.
As a political person and I dare say, political activist, my concerns are with the politics implicit in Mr Kissoon’s column. I consider it to be my duty to unveil for readers the sinister intent of Kissoon which resides in his column. While it is not my intention to set standards for writers including Kissoon, it is a well-established convention that readers who are exposed to the writings and thinking of contributors to developments in the political landscape of any country, should be treated with respect. The writer is expected to demonstrate this respect by providing evidence in support of the contention he/she is making and to maintain consistency of context. Not surprisingly, Mr Kissoon, being who he is, failed to provide these essential ingredients in his column.
Dr Rupert Roopnaraine after being out of the public view for a long time, chose to insert himself, as he had a right to do, into the controversy related to the sacking of Hinds and Lewis. I am sure that when Mr Kissoon’s article appeared readers would have had a reasonable expectation that his discussion on Dr Roopnaraine would have referenced the ongoing debate and the position taken by Roopnaraine. Instead, we were introduced to a book published many years ago, written by Mr Clairmont Chung, that quoted Roopnaraine as saying that the WPA was acquiring arms to overthrow the Burnham regime. The allegations that the WPA had burnt down the Ministry of National Development, which housed the office of the General Secretary of the PNC, and that the party (WPA) had expropriated the Peoples’ Temple arms which came from Jonestown, were issues that were discussed for years in Guyana and abroad, and so the relevance to the debate over Chronicle’s firing of the columnists was entirely out of context. But it was placed there by Mr Kissoon for the specific purpose of playing on the emotions of the PNCR leadership, trying to create hysteria within the ranks of that party, widening the rift between the PNCR, President Granger and the WPA and hopefully causing the eventual disintegration of the APNU+AFC coalition. Therein lay the method in Kissoon’s madness. His is a well thought-out position.
There is an even more sinister motive in the column, and it is this I find most offensive. He wrote, “…so why should WPA leaders heap scorn upon him.” Mr Kissoon makes this erroneous accusation without providing any evidence that any WPA leader or WPA’s leadership had heaped scorn on Dr Roopnaraine in the present situation or in the past. Why is he now making this accusation? Here again, there is a method to his madness. He is consciously seeking to exploit the Indian community’s racial sensitivity in relation to Rupert Roopnaraine. He wants to convey to that community that the Africans in the WPA, having used Roopnarine to help the PNCR and the African community gain power is now unceremoniously dumping him at a time when he is ill. This is from a person who often makes the claim of being nonracial and politically honest. What is disgusting is that on several occasions he has interfaced with individual WPA leaders who have spelt out to him the extent to which we value Rupert Roopnaraine’s years of service in the WPA, in Guyana and particularly on behalf of the working people in the country and for democratic renewal in the society, and that we intend to stand in solidarity with him at this and at every hour of his illness. Mr Kissoon is also aware that on the occasions when he has called on the WPA leaders to dump Dr Roopnaraine we have made it clear to him that will never happen. Yet he feels compelled to level his wild, asinine allegations against some members of the WPA. The true Freddie Kissoon has once again revealed himself. With friends like Kissoon who needs enemies? Let me reiterate for the benefit of Freddie Kissoon and for whoever else needs this reassurance, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine is and will remain a member of the WPA, for as long as he chooses to do so. End of matter.
Mr Kissoon’s behaviour, while not surprising, has reached a new low and is unmatched to date, by the propaganda of the PPPC and Indian Rights Activists on this burning issue of Rupert Roopnaraine and his relationship with the WPA.