Further, the IAC feels that the said article strongly suggests that the organisation’s event, “Night of Remembrance”, held on Wednesday, January 27-2010 in tribute to the slain victims of the 2008 Lusignan and Bartica massacres should be boycotted. The IAC wishes to make pellucid that the event was its initiative having consulted with relatives of the deceased in Lusignan and Bartica.
The IAC therefore views Kissoon’s pronouncements that it is a “front group” for the government in relation to this event as not only being grossly inaccurate, but ludicrous. This is not the first instance of Kissoon transgressing journalistic ethics to pontificate his misinformed opinions about the IAC. The IAC wishes to remind him that the organisation is a non-governmental, non-profit one with the objective of advancing the Indian culture and to promote social activities that will positively impact the lives of Guyanese.
Organisations, both local and overseas, often invite government officials to public functions and sometimes request them to deliver brief remarks. The IAC is no different. Further, the IAC would like to educate Kissoon that all of its events are national and open to all Guyanese. The recent event was no different. The IAC stuck steadfast to its position of inviting the Opposition to all of its functions. Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Robert Corbin was invited to the “Night of Remembrance’.
Kissoon made no mention in the article alluded to, that the “Night of Remembrance” was in tribute to victims of both the Lusignan and Bartica massacres. Given his self proclaimed egoistic boastfulness for research, the question must be asked why he failed to mention such an important aspect of the event despite the numerous advertisements and articles noting same in the media. The IAC is convinced that Kissoon’s omission of such information which permeated the public domain was either a deliberate act of mischievousness or a deficiency in proper research.
It must be noted that the event on the Tarmac in Lusignan, was the second since the massacre in that village with the first being in the street where the 11 innocent Guyanese, including five children, were brutally slaughtered. The overwhelming response to last year’s event has rendered the massacre site inadequate to accommodate a large crowd. As such, the IAC sought the use of the Tarmac which can adequately accommodate a large gathering.
It is evident that the hundreds who attended the event will not allow themselves to be dictated by a biased columnist who operates under the guise of a journalist. Their attendance is testimony to the need for the memory of those two heinous crimes to be preserved and for the incidents not to disappear into history as Kissoon and his cohorts wish. While the IAC has taken the time, through this letter, to correct Kissoon’s inaccuracies, it is not surprised at his related diatribes.
A few weeks ago he noted that one of his Guyanese heroes is Mark Benschop, a former treason accuse who allegedly was responsible for an invasion of the Office of the President in 2002. That invasion of the nation’s highest office led to the ransacking of some offices within, grievous bodily harm to security personnel and the deaths of some involved. Some of Kissoon’s past articles bordered on sedition with him seemingly sparing criticism for some responsible for crimes perpetrated on innocent Guyanese and his subtle insinuation for incitement.
His pronouncements in man of his articles are in synchrony with that of some sections of the Opposition. Following the massacres, some sections of the populace were encouraged by sections of the Opposition to capitalise on the anger of residents affected in an effort to challenge the democratically elected government. This was never condemned by your columnist. As a matter of fact, he suggested, over time, some form of revolution in this stable country. Similar sentiments were expressed in the article of January 27, 2010, where Kissoon refers to the residents of Lusignan as being “short-sighted”, “reduced to robots” and questioned whether they are still “indentured servants”.
Given this and the tone of the said article, it is not tedious to conclude that Kissoon wishes that the 2008 massacres not be remembered. If this were to be, then his illusion of Guyanese delivering his and his cohorts’ dream may be embryonic. The hundreds, by their presence at the event at the Lusignan Tarmac, have condemned Kissoon’s dream to a figment of his imagination.
The IAC will not be deterred in its efforts to provide such opportunities for the memories of those slain to live on. The IAC will not allow those dreadful killings to be forgotten as Kissoon wishes.
Further, the IAC demands that Kissoon apologise to residents of Lusignan for inferring that they are still indentured servants and for referring to them as robots and short-sighted people simple because of their attendance to such a function. These are people who did not ask for their families to be murdered. These are people who have suffered as a result of that cruel incident perpetrated by callous marauding murderers. These are people who are still in pain after losing their loved ones. These are people whose dreams were shattered by the massacre. These are people who are pleased that the IAC can host such a function which remembers that horrific crime; which remembers those murdered; and which provide some comfort to the survivors.
The IAC feels that Kissoon’s comments in the said article are insensitive to the surviving relatives and residents of Lusignan. While the IAC is cognisant of Kissoon’s freedom of expression he now enjoys, he must be cautioned that this freedom is not a right to demean Guyanese. The IAC is not oblivious of the many accusations levelled at Kissoon for desecrating the character of numerous citizens and for pedalling misinformation. This seems an engrained trait of his.