Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Stella Says…Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures

(originally published in the Kaieteur News on 20 Sept 05)

In his column on Sunday, September 18, Robert Persaud, Information Liaison to the President, rambled on and on about the fact that some new political parties have members who have columns in Guyana’s newspapers. Does anyone else see the irony in this action?

This article was no more than a prolonged whine from the PPP because other parties are getting some spotlight now too due to the upcoming election. It is more than obvious that the PPP are shaking in their shoes with the thought that another party might be able to win the hearts of the people and rescue Guyana from race-based politics.

So they sent out one of the big dogs to belittle and bemoan the up and coming “Third Force” with the hopes that his proliferation would sway the people to view any other party as a sham or “hoax” – and Mr. Persaud most certainly does have a big bark.

However, while it is obvious that Mr. Persaud has a way with words, it is also apparent that he is the clean up man – the one who takes care of little messes before they become too much of a problem for the party. So while he states his case quite nicely, one doesn’t have to be a genius to see the agenda behind this article.

Desperate times call for desperate measures – which is exactly the feeling I got from this article. After all, how pathetic is it for the PPP, which has a government owned newspaper, radio station and TV station, to snivel over the fact that other media outlets are allowing would-be politicians to write columns for their papers?

What’s even more preposterous is the fact that Persaud himself, who is a big dog with the PPP, has a column in this newspaper himself. Why on earth would a politician who has column with a newspaper then chide that newspaper for allowing other politicians to write columns too? This is certainly hypocrisy at its best.

Persaud also attempts to undermine the integrity of any media outlet that has given talking time to this new opposition group by claiming that the coverage is biased reporting simply because it exists at all. However, if a new party starts to show promise in any country, it is news and deserving of significant coverage. This is even truer for Guyana, where the people are weary of politics as usual and hoping for an alternative.

That some of these columnists have decided to entertain the idea of helping Guyana recover from its current state of misery through politics is far more gallant than the Information Liaison to the President attempting to act self-righteously unbiased while he heads the organisation charged with overseeing the government-run newspaper that has no other function than to promote the PPP’s agenda.

Further, compared to the state owned newspaper that incessantly peddles its party’s propaganda, these other newspapers have created quite a diverse group of columnists who speak from wide array of perspectives – including his own (another wanna-be president of Guyana). So the media “hype” supposedly enjoyed by this new party is nothing that Mr. Persaud himself has not been afforded.

I also noted that Mr. Persaud once again questioned the motives of those seeking a chance at governing this country. I wonder why he does this so often? Could it be that his own motives are askew and therefore assumes that everyone else is driven by cockeyed motivations as well? I’m not going to be as presumptuous as Mr. Persaud by assuming I know the hearts of others, so this is where I graciously refrain from attaching any kind of agenda to his column other than the most obvious – the preservation of his party. At least for now I will refrain.

Me thinks this is a badly engineered defensive play for the PPP…a political rebound gone awry.

Yes, fear is rife in the PPP and well it should be. But pretending that a new political party is not making inroads will not make their problems go away. In fact, it is stunts like this one that make the people even more determined to find another form of governance. Maybe another party would rid the country of the truly biased media – the government owned outlets.

In conclusion, Mr. Persaud, if a newspaper writes an extended article on a new party; please understand they are simply doing their job, not being biased. And any opportunity to write a column has also been extended to you and your party to ensure a diverse group of columnists. So please stop whining about your competition. Just accept that things are changing and go with the flow.

I understand that politicians have to play these types of games to either preserve their place in office or to win a chance at governing. However, it would be really nice if when we have to be subjected to such diatribe as this that it would at least be a logical rant with a promising outcome. I simply hate to waste my time on superfluous dribble when I could be getting my groove on.

- Stella Ramssaroop

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