Dear Editor,

A mind becomes better when it reads Antonio Gramsci.

Life is not determined by scientific principles. There is no common scientific law that runs through humans. Outside of physiological functions, you cannot predict human behavior. But scholars, over thousands of years, have argued that there are some trends in society that resemble scientific laws, one of which is that education makes you a psychologically, mentally and philosophically better human.

Some of us have been unfortunate not to have an education and that is regrettable and must invoke sympathy and understanding in all of us. We must help others at all times to have an education. Three times in his debate with me, Lincoln Lewis cynically and amusingly referred to him knowing about life even though he didn’t read the great Italian philosopher, Antonio Gramsci, who I love to quote.

It has not occurred to Lewis that had he read Gramsci, he would have been a better, a more decent, more honest, more sincere, more principled trade union leader. Gramsci has a concept under the name, “war of position, war of manoeuvre.” The trade unions understood what Gramsci meant by that and over the past three years of Ivelaw Griffith’s misfit administration at UG, they employed that concept. They won at UG. Lewis lost at UG. Lewis should start reading Gramsci. It may help his tattered credibility.

Griffith is gone from Guyana. We may never see him back here but Lewis is here and he has to live with the devastating exposure that he has endured during the Griffith controversy and will continue to endure because of his betrayal of workers’ rights at UG. If I had the kind of influence that Lewis attributes to me in the two UG unions, I would advise them to accelerate their withdrawal from the TUC. The TUC under Lewis’ 28-year reign is unfit to function on behalf of Guyana’s working classes and its lower middle classes.

Lewis teases me to publish information on his protracted venalities as General Secretary of the TUC over the past 28 years. That information is in the public domain. It started long before his strange relation with OMAI Goldmines was made public. That information, Guyanese can get from prominent Guyanese like Dr Rupert Roopnaraine, Aubrey Norton, Gillian Burton, Eon Andrews, Vice President of the TUC, the leaders of the former PPP government, the leaders of the present government, as well as the Caribbean Congress of Labour.

Do readers know that in the 2017 May Day march, the Teachers’ Union did not conclude their march in the customary TUC courtyard but at the Teachers’ Union hall?  This was because of Lewis’ autocracy. If this debate with Lewis continues, I will have to call on former TUC presidents to publicly reveal what they have told me about Lewis’ evil empire at the TUC.  

Lewis will continue to reply to me and all the contents of his missives will be the actions, the utterances of Freddie Kissoon but not on specific items of the unions’ condemnations of him. I was at Andaiye’s wake on Friday night when many persons were discussing the sudden departure of the UG Vice Chancellor, Ivelaw Griffith. And Lewis’ name featured more than Griffith. Griffith’s credibility was damaged over his reckless administration and Lewis’ credibility is in ruin over his preservation of Ivor English’s shameless defence of Griffith.

Griffith is damaged goods, so is Lincoln Lewis. Guyanese need to start the resuscitation of democratic accountability at UG. In that process, the UG unions should intensify their demand that the TUC withdraw Ivor English as its representative to the UG Council and the TUC executive should, in an open, transparent way, appoint his replacement. Under no circumstances it should continue to let Lewis choose whoever he wants.

Let me end with two horrible pieces of deception that Lewis must be exposed for. When I wrote that Lewis was at the helm of the TUC for 25 years, he replied to say he was appointed in 1999. He was dishonest. He was confirmed in 1999 and acted for more than eight years prior to confirmation. In 1995, Lewis, as acting General Secretary, was the TUC’s representative on the UG Council. Finally, in that same year, 1995, Lewis voted against the decision of UG Council to terminate my contract.

The decision to terminate my contract was because I fought for people’s rights at UG. Lewis gloats that I owe him because of his vote. I owe Lincoln Lewis nothing. I do not acknowledge I owe him anything. Lewis represented the TUC at the Council meeting and the TUC’s decision was that my termination was wrong. His vote was one among ten others that voted for me.

Yours faithfully,

Frederick Kissoon  

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