Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Hi there Stella! Frederick calling! - Freddie Kissoon

Here's Freddie's brilliant column in today's Kaieteur News:
I wanted to write you on Monday, Stella, but I had a lot of UG work to do on Sunday. I couldn't write you for Tuesday because Monday is a heavy day for me at UG. Yesterday, we had a union meeting at UG but it was called off, so I have some time to correspond with you.

The following words were the way I wanted to begin this column. “I fell off my breakfast chair early Sunday morning after reading what Stella had said about Bharrat Jagdeo; about how Jagdeo embodies ‘many characteristics of a good leader'.

I found this discovery so shocking that the chair collapsed under the shock of my brain and the coffee spilled, piercing my pajama top, burning my stomach and off to the emergency theatre I went at the Georgetown Public Hospital .”

Now as you can see, Stella, my column for today didn't begin with those words. I've been that way before and I got bitten. It happened when I read that the President went to one of the statutory meetings of the Georgetown City Council and admonished that body not to put a political choice in everything the members do.

I wrote in one of my columns that I jumped on reading that comment while I had a cup of hot coffee in my hand: it spilt on my leg and burned me to the bone so I had to be rushed to the hospital. It was just satire but two of my colleagues at Kaieteur News and several other persons seriously thought I was injured.

One person even came around to see if I was alright. Satire is a dying art form in newspapers around the world.

But figuratively and satirically, I dropped off my chair and bumped my head so hard that it sent shock waves through my brain that necessitated an MRI scan when I read you have perceived Bharrat Jagdeo as having positive characteristics of a good leader.

If I was dying Sunday morning, like Robin Gibb, in the famous Bee Gees hit, “I started a joke,” I finally died on Monday morning when I read in your column that you like Jagdeo but his party has too much corruption.

I hope you saw the superb movie, “All the President's men.”

If you haven't, Stella, then go quickly my love to your nearest video club and borrow it. It tells the story of a President and his men.

Yes Stella, Trick Dick (Richard Nixon) was a nice man. You know something, Stella? I liked Nixon but he had his men doing dirty work for him. Yes my dear Stella, they did dirty work for him.

And guess what Stella? They protected him, he protected them.

But why am I telling you all of this? You are going to the club any way and borrow the movie. Call me after you would have seen it.

Collect my unlisted number from Glenn Lall, the publisher of Kaieteur News.

Now, Stella, a few persons in Guyana told me that you have lost your credibility by saying in two consecutive columns that you think Jagdeo is a fine President.

My reply is that even if you lost your credibility you are going to recapture it with your Steven Spielberg-like finesse that you naturally possess.

Now, dear Stella, tell us why you think Jagdeo embodies good characteristics of a leader.

Of course since you seem to understand what moral obligations are given the perspective you have taken on the Gang of Three not surrendering their parliamentary seats, then I believe you are under a moral requirement to answer my questions.

This is because I have answered all of yours over the past two months while you have not attempted any of mine. So far you have avoided the one on Christopher Ram.

Well alright Stella, forget about your moral obligation to me. Forget you owe me anything at all; just argue this one out in order to disprove those who have told me three days ago that you have lost your credibility as a columnist.

For a moment, I wanted to approach this dialogue with you by resorting to the Socratic Method.

But forget about ancient Greek philosophical methods in arguing. What I will do is not to inject my evaluation of Jagdeo in this conversation.

Briefly, I don't think he is a good leader. Not a good leader at all. I will go just a tiny bit further (because I know you must be aware of this information) and say the NACTA poll done in August puts C. N. Sharma as being more popular among those surveyed, than Jagdeo.

Oops Stella, that hurts! Sharma being more popular than a President who has been in power seven years? Of all people Stella, Sharma?

Now having stated your perception of President Jagdeo as possessing some good leadership values, expand analytically, Stella. Now please forgive me if I sound arrogant (I am not at all arrogant) but in your presentation you cannot confine yourself to perceptions.

This cannot be your framework even if you wanted to use it.

When a person is going to categorise a Prime Minister or President as having some qualities of leadership, then the analyst has to link that with performance and policy success.

It cannot be otherwise, unless the analyst finds refuge in emotionalism and says that he/she simply likes the leader.

This is my attitude to Bill Clinton. I think he has leadership qualities but this is more an emotional statement than an intellectual analysis.

I wouldn't want to attempt a defence of Clinton 's leadership values.

Is this the position you have taken, Stella? If it is then ignore my request for your assessment of Jagdeo's leadership. It means that you feel the way about Jagdeo as I feel about Clinton .

But I am willing to confess that I don't think Clinton had many good qualities of leadership. I don't think for eight years in office Clinton achieved anything much except the erasure of the deficit.

Now if your liking for the Guyanese President is not an emotional thing but is based on what he has done the past seven years, then Stella, you should fight to defend your credibility.

Remember credibility is important. According to you, the Gang of Three may be losing theirs. I don't want you to lose yours, Stella.

Why? Because you remind me of my favourite female singer, Sarah Brightman. And because I like you. See you later, alligator!

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