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I refer to Freddie Kissoon’s column published in the January 28th 2022 edition of the Kaieteur News, captioned, ” Kissoon, Gaskin, Roopnaraine: More notes on race and class.” This column is a pitiful admission by Kissoon of his dilemma: seeking recognition and fair treatment that he has a history of denying to others.
I am amused that despite his academic credentials and philosophical training Kissoon is not aware that the responses of people and organisations to him do not simply arise out of race and class but could be linked to character. The truth is, on this matter, he is in self-denial – a chronic failure to come to grips with his own offensive behaviour in his daily public utterances.
Being in politics for a long time and a student of class struggle I have no difficulty in understanding his concern and hurt that he doesn’t have the same social standing as Gaskin/Roopnaraine and probably never will. Gaskin and Roopnaraine however don’t have the same offensive public image as he (Kissoon) and they can never be a comparative factor in the analysis of how Kissoon is seen in the country.
Nothing I said above in any way negates Kissoon’s contention that race and class factors are at play in Guyanese society. I will add that every citizen is in some way affected by this reality. Kissoon has essentially claimed to be a victim of what working-class political activists like myself with no academic credentials, experience. He is not in this category since he is an academic and often proclaims his credentials.
In our polemics, Kissoon, often descended into the gutter, calling me all types of things, including being a racist. He does not see me as a political equal and has great difficulty conceding to me in the public space when he gets things wrong. In social and class terms I am not his equal. Kissoon is an “academic” and I a “marketman”.
When Kissoon and I were close friends, he related an experience with the late President Jagan. At the time he was seeking employment with the PPP government and explained that he was denied the job because Jagan felt that he (Kissoon) was not a “stable” person. I remember the hurt in his voice and bodily expression. Consistent with his position as stated in his recent column, he would accuse Jagan of class prejudice. Many Guyanese can now conclude that Jagan’s concern had merit.
I recall my early public polemics with Kissoon. WPA members and other comrades warned me that it is impossible to have a civil and constructive public discussion/debate with Kissoon. I ignored their advice. I soon realised however that the advice I received was accurate.
Consistent with my stated experience, many persons keep telling me not to waste time with Freddie Kissoon. But to them I say to ignore him is to surrender the young generation to his “potion poison”.