Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Stella Says…Your Voice is not Your Own, Freddie

(Originally published in the Kaieteur News on 18 Oct 2005)

Sweet, sweet Freddie, what on earth are you thinking? You have aligned yourself with a political party and caused poor Peeper to believe this might be your Waterloo. Alas, my dear friend, I too need to have my say in this sorted situation.

Do you not realise the gravity of this decision to throw your hefty political weight behind one particular party? Never mind the vast amount of disappointment your decision must have caused nationwide, I just wonder if you have considered your role as an independent voice in Guyana or how much the nation depends on your static autonomy?

Sweet and Sensitive Freddie, do you not comprehend the level of responsibility you owe to the public? As a journalist, your voice is not your own – though it does not belong to the Third Force – it belongs to the people. You are obliged to speak for the people, and thus far you have done well to own up to that obligation.

From whence does this uncharacteristic move originate? Do you aspire for people to view you in the same manner they view columns written by other political parrots? Your column would be reduced to that of a biased voice with an agenda instead of a trusted media watchdog.

Don’t think me unsympathetic to your plight. After all, my last name is Ramsaroop. However, I know my job and I know where my alliance should always be – with the people – and that is exactly where it will always remain regardless of what the future brings.

This is a decision I made from the beginning because I know the ink of my pen (or rather the keyboard of my computer) should always be inclined toward the people. I also know that I cannot hope to offer an independent and impartial summation of government activities if I am personally tied to those affiliated with political aspirations – even if I cannot escape the connotations and assumptions attached to my last name.

So although I have a strong voice and a mighty pen, I refuse to allow any words attached to me personally to be used as a facilitating force for a political platform – regardless of pressure to do otherwise. I know full well that when my voice is compromised by political aspirations, the integrity of my voice will have been lost to the people.

Further, sweet Freddie, if you bow out of your responsibility to the people, someone they have trusted for years even if they do not agree with you, whom will they ever be able to trust again? It is already so very difficult to determine those who are really on the people’s side in Guyana.

There are other considerations to contemplate as well. For example, what if “your” party wins next year, will we be able to trust you to be impartial? Will we still be able to expect you to dig deep and deliver the truth concerning the government?

If “your” party looses, how could we then take your criticism of the standing government seriously? Although you may have offered an honest political critique for years, it would, in light of these new developments, seem slanted. You have always been above the unseemliness attached to politicians, so why would you willingly choose to get in the mud and roll around with them now?

There is one more issue, as an aside, that I would like you to take to heart as well. I implore you to reconsider your stance, because if you do not I will be forced into a position that would not reflect well on any columnist.

Consider this, if you relinquish your independence to a political party, I will be forced to attempt to manoeuvre my way into your lofty position as “the most courageous political analyst in Guyana” - as Peeping Tom called you.

I know that I am the newbie here, but if this position were indeed open, my competitive nature would compel me to attempt a coup d’etat against the other long-time and highly prolific columnists for such a desirable position.

Dear friend, do you really want to force me into such an awkward position so early in my journalism career at Kaieteur News? I do hope, as a friend, that you would at least consider the implications your decision would have on the rest of us before you take your leave as an independent mind.

I realise this is a lot pressure to put on you and I am truly sorry for that fact, but I am sure of your capacity to handle it. I also know there are some who might try to attach an alternative agenda to my plea for your continued independence. However, I will make this promise to you, if you do decide to reverse your decision and remain an independent voice for the people – I will do the same.

In fact, I will continue on in my independence even if you do not change your mind. However, this situation would put us on totally opposite sides of the spectrum – you as the politician and me as the watchdog. And trust me dear friend, I would watch you closely.

Read Freddie's Response

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