Jul 14, 2017  Features / ColumnistsFreddie Kissoon

At the birth night party of Aubrey Norton at his home last Saturday, a minister expressed disappointments at my columns. It was a light remark, and in the same light vein, I turned to Bert Wilkinson, and whispered into his ear, so the Minister couldn’t hear, the following words, “I don’t tell him how to run his ministry, he can’t tell me how to do my columns.” Then I did say to the minister that there are good people he ignored on board placements.
He rejected that saying to me that he did ask Bert and others if they wanted to be on certain boards. My knowledge of post-May 2015 politics told me otherwise. The music was ricocheting off the wall, the liquor was cascading like Kaieteur Falls (not me, I do not imbibe; never did), the ambience invited friendship and not politics, so I let it pass.
The evening was too comradely to be despoiled by political exchanges. In any case, the Minister is my friend but I wear on my shirt sleeve the constant reminder that the Aristotelian inherency of politics can spoil friendship.
In another environment, I would have pursued the controversy of board placements of which the President and the Prime Minister are guilty of opportunistic betrayal but not at an enjoyable birth night and Aubrey Norton’s party’s atmosphere was impeccably tasteful. But come to think of it, I could use this column to pontificate on the opportunism of the President and the Prime Minister with regards to board placements and my non-interference in ministerial affairs so I don’t give a damn about what ministers think of my columns.
Maybe the President could invoke memories of who and who were with him when he held his weekly picket outside the Office of the President protesting the suspension of Parliament by President Ramotar to avoid the no confidence vote. It wasn’t a large attendance but I did participate.
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I wondered who the President consults when he decides to make appointments. Obviously he has to seek the opinions and advice of others seeing that he is very inexperienced in politics and would want to hear what certain “old heads” would have to say since they would be more familiar with societal permutations, dimensions and parameters than him.
Last month, I described in one of these columns how the Prime Minister stopped his entourage on Church Street to greet me when I was leaving the pet shop. I went to buy stuff for two pets I find more warm and reliable than humans. The Prime Minister did remind me he was a friend of mine. But seeing that I have the same years as him in political activism and longer years in journalism, I find it surprising that he never called me for a little talk on who to put on the boards that he has jurisdiction over or even a little chat about my knowledge of who he has in mind for what appointments.
With my long career in the media, he never thought it necessary to invite me for coffee and sugar free donuts to talk about who he has in mind for the board of the broadcasting authority, NCN, Chronicle etc. I did have a few names of people that I think would have performed far better than his choices and people who have made a contribution to the fall of the PPP so Nagamootoo and Granger could be where they are today
Bert Wilkinson sat next to me at the birth night party and obviously, the topic of the Chronicle came up. Bert is on the board of the Chronicle. I plan to submit a guest column to the Chronicle assessing the competence to date of both the President and the Prime Minister. I will not be harsh and I promise to be objective.
But let me telegraph my thoughts to the Prime Minister on that column. I will ask two questions; what does he do in government since as an analyst I haven’t a clue, and is it true he drives the most expensive SUV in the country?
Incidentally on the issue of boards, CEO of GWI, Van West Charles, was at the party. I wanted to go up to him and enquire if it was President Granger that appointed the Georgetown Mayor to be Van West Charles’s boss at GWI since she is chairman of the board. I resisted the temptation because it was a lovely party; why spoil it with political cynicism?