Sep 17, 2017
Renita Chanderballi is currently in a state of depression. Her situation has gone viral; it warrants our immediate intervention. When I heard about this story from my friend Leonard Craig, till from China, my Sunday column was already in so I couldn’t feature Ms. Chanderballi’s sad tale. I have resorted to writing this letter.
This young student has completed her degree in Biology and will be graduating next month from UG. Because of her first rate performance, she was granted a Masters scholarship by Leeds University in the UK. The scholarship was cancelled because she did not meet the deadline for submission of her grades by UG to Leeds. Her description of the egregious mistreatment by UG is a horror story in itself. Despite desperate pleas made to higher authorities to transmit her grades to Leeds on time failed; the UG bureaucracy was unmoved.
I have seen these kinds of situations countless times and have written about them umpteen times in my media career. There is no subject that I have penned more than a hundred pieces of newspaper publications on in the form of letters and columns than UG. From the time the new Vice Chancellor (VC), Ivelaw Griffith came and I saw the explosion of top posts he created and the extraordinary amounts spent on wasteful inconsequentialities, I knew UG was not going into the future. For one of the smallest universities in the entire world, UG has per capita, the largest bureaucracy for any university in the world. I repeat what I wrote before. I have no problem with the educator, Ivelaw Griffith and no problem with his integrity. But he has introduced an expensive bureaucracy at UG which he picked up from his 36 years in the American system. It cannot work here. It will ruin UG. But President Granger has bought into it. And the society is silent about this travesty. It just goes to show what a wasteful, barren piece of land Guyana is.
I remember doing a column warning the nation that we will hear the same old horror stories from this new administration. And they are occurring often in all the daily newspapers. My friend, Stan Gouveia circulated a video of students standing during one of their classes a few days ago. UG now has about a dozen new bureaucratic positions each carrying just under a million dollars a month in salary but getting a transcript sent overseas and finding a chair to sit on in a class room remain as in the days when UG was virtually broke.
President Granger should be held personally responsible for what happened to Ms. Chanderballi. Granger has been a life-long friend of Ivelaw Griffith and literally chaperoned him into the VC’s chair. Granger attended the only coronation for a Vice Chancellor that UG ever held. And it was an expensive affair. This is the type of leadership Granger has produced for the people of this country. UG is going nowhere under David Granger because David Granger has no vision for the future of this country. I challenge the President to publicly produce a verifiable statement of how much money has been spent on trips and entertainment purposes under Griffith. Granger will not accept the challenge because it would embarrass him and give immense political capital to the opposition, PPP.
We have a sycophantic UG Council that is afraid of Griffith because they know the Griffith-Granger connection. We have a non-existent WPA which says it is part of APNU and has a part in decision-making yet co-leader of the WPA, Clive Thomas who gave his soul and heart to UG is silent on the Granger-Griffith nexus. As for the AFC, well Nagamootoo cannot seriously watch me in the eyes and tell me he can intervene when state behavior becomes undemocratic. I don’t think he can. I don’t think he wants to. Moses has been a friend for a long time but as an analyst I would say he will end his political life in ignominious failure. After reading about Ms. Chanderballi’s depression, I know I have to continue to raise my voice and pen along with others to save this country. But does it want to be saved?