Nov 06, 2017  Features / ColumnistsFreddie Kissoon

Long ago before there was ever any idea that the world would have a technological process named the internet, human society relied on the telephone and the post office to verify information.
The verification of a curriculum vitae was an onerous thing for a company or organization. It was also an arduous waiting experience for an applicant because the person to whom the telephone call was made may have gone on holiday or the reply could have got lost in the mail.
The curriculum vitae (CV) then became a dangerous thing because companies and governments spared themselves no expense and pain of verifying the contents of the CV. Impressed with it, they employ the applicant. But that CV could be bogus. Recently, we got to know about a situation like that at GPL.
The CV is what the applicant put on it. The employer has to ascertain the veracity of the information. If the employer does not, then you have the danger of employing a person who is not as experienced as he/she says he/she is.
I sat as a member of the Council of the University of Guyana for five years and saw embellished CVs got people the job to lecture with the appellation of professor. I saw many academics employed at UG with CVs that had fictional contents. And UG is still stuck in that malaise of not researching applicants’ CVs.
There were many such idiotic situations in which UG didn’t make the required inquiries. One man got a job as professor at UG. When you are employed as a professor, your salary is way above non-professorial lecturers. One day I was walking on the corridor of UG, and I encountered the then Bursar. He causally advised that I check the CV of a new lecturer because he said there were nagging doubts about the gentleman’s publications.
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An extensive Google search revealed only two published papers. How did he become a professor? He wasn’t one.
This country is worse than a tenth rate banana republic. What teenagers do on their smart phones, our government does not have commonsense to do – search the internet for the accomplishments of people who say they are scientists.
When a person makes a claim of being a celebrated engineer, a renowned scientist, a known professor, you can easily verify that information.
Just Google the words, “Comparing past Guyanese presidents,” and you will see my name come out as the author of such a research paper because extracts of it were reported in the newspapers.
Google Clive Thomas of Guyana and you will see dozens and dozens of publications. It is so easy in today’s world to tell if a person is a scientist. The conferring of the title scientist on a university scholar is a very prestigious accolade. When you are a scientist the internet will have large amounts of stuff on you– books, articles in journals, conference papers, newspaper reportage etc.
A person who wears the title of scientist cannot have just two or three published papers. The world has become a book shelf in the home of every citizen who has access to the internet.
Fifty years from now, Guyanese can know who the Prime Ministers were. Just Google it. We come now to Justice Patterson’s curriculum vitae. If Justice Patterson stated that he was Chief Justice of Grenada in 1987, then that was 29 years ago. Here is where a CV becomes a problem for the employer. Can you check information on a CV that goes back to almost thirty years ago? It would appear that President Granger had to find the item interesting. He wanted a judge all the time and there he is looking at a CV that informs him that his guy was a Chief Justice of a Caricom nation.
Now here is more evidence where the CV is problematic. Justice Patterson, who is the person compiling the CV could not remember in what period of 1987, he was acting Chief Justice, then how is the prospective employer to verify that? In other words, that seminal information on the CV hasn’t got the value it ought to carry.
Here is my position of the controversy of the word “acting.” They are in order if Justice Chang and Justice Singh assert they were Chief Justice and Chancellor respectively. Chang was acting for fifteen years; Singh for ten years. For me, they were the Chief Justice and Chancellor respectively.
I am very uncertain that a person can say he was the Chief Justice if he acted only for a few weeks or months. How long was Justice Patterson the acting Chief Justice of Grenada?