Kissoon says Ralph Ramkarran takes “digs” at him which are “quite libellous.” In Kissoon’s words, “In one of his digs, he adopted the bent of some of his PPP colleagues in what can be interpreted as suggesting that when I was at University, I stole library books. I hope Mr. Ramkarran knows that even if I did that, I would not have been ashamed because books
educate the mind.” Mr Editor, I worked at the National Library in Guyana as a Junior Library
Assistant from 1970 to 1976 and Frederick Kissoon used to be a borrower there. He was registered under the name Frederick Anthony Kissoon. One afternoon in 1973 or 1974 Senior Library Assistant May Edwards observed a slim Kissoon exiting the Library with his stomach puffed up in a rectangular way. She asked him what he was hiding under his slack shirt
and Kissoon immediately scampered away through the Library’s Main Street gate. A policeman happened to be in the compound and he pursued Kissoon who disappeared through the premises of Arvida House (now Ministry of Culture). The policeman picked up three library books which had been dropped in the compound of Arvida House. The Library provided the police
with Kissoon’s address obtained from his membership card. When the police visited Kissoon’s parents’ home on D’Urban Street they found other books. The police charged Frederick Kissoon with stealing 88 books belonging to the National Library. May Edwards appeared in the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court as chief prosecution witness and Kissoon appeared with an attorney and relative. A plea of mitigation was made on his behalf which the magistrate accepted and ordered among other things that a probation report be prepared. Kissoon got off. When the police handed back the 88 books to the library I noticed that they were pasted with neat labels with the initials FAK on the spine of each book where the call number is usually printed.
Mr Editor, the court case was covered by the Guyana Graphic newspaper. The Graphic used to be printed at Lama Avenue, Bel Air Park, where the Chronicle is now. The Chronicle inherited the Graphic archives which should have a copy of that court report. There should also be a copy at the National Archives. In addition, the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court should have some record but I’m not sure how easy it is to access that. The National Library itself should have newspaper clippings on the case.I know for sure Frederick Kissoon was banned from borrowing books at the National Library after that court case. A note was attached to his membership application form and should still be in the files. If former library assistant Maylene
Edwards is still in Guyana she could be contacted. Although the incident occurred more than three decades ago the current Chief Librarian should be able to access the library’s own administrative records to confirm everything I have written here. Editor, the books in question were philosophy, history, sociology, international affairs and other social science subjects. It is ironic Frederick Kissoon should today present himself as a role model to young Guyanese.
(Taken from the Stabroek News)