News Americas, GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Fri. Oct. 24, 2014: A headline in the October 23rd edition of Kaieteur News caught my attention : ‘Minister Slams “dishonest” Guyana Times report on Glen Lall.’
The report is about the Minister of Home Affairs complaining that she was misquoted in the Guyana Times newspaper. There are a few reasons why this report is significant. The Guyana Times is a pro-PPP newspaper. It is sometimes even more strident in its defense of the PPP and its government and its attacks on the PPP’s opponents than the two other pro-PPP papers – the Guyana Chronicle and the Mirror.
Nothing is wrong with a non-party paper supporting a political party. The Stabroek News does not hide its bias towards the AFC and the Kaieteur news seems to favor the APNU more than the other two. Newspapers take sides – that’s a fact of life.
But what separates the Guyana Times from the other two is its method. First, it gives overwhelmingly more coverage to the PPP that the APNU and AFC. There is not even a pretense at fairness. Second, almost 100% of its coverage of the APNU and AFC is negative. I have not seen more vile attacks on public persons in all of my four decades and more of reading Guyanese newspapers. Some of these attacks are replete with curse words. Third, it constantly twists the words of mainly opposition spokespersons to suit its larger practice of smearing opposition members and supporters.
There are instances where the headlines have been totally different from the content of the article. This is what the Minister is complaining about – twisting her words to satisfy the current anti-Glen Lall crusade. Many times one cannot distinguish between reports and opinions.
Fourth, while all opposition people, including this writer, are fair game for abuse in the pages of the Guyana Times, the Indian Guyanese activists and critics of the PPP are singled out for a special kind of abuse. The mostly personal daily abuse of Khemraj Ramjattan, Moses Nagamootoo, Ruper Roopnarine, Glen Lall, Freddie Kissoon, Chris Ram, and Golsarran is sickening. Although Glen Lall is not a politician, he falls into that category because of the perception that his paper is anti-PPP. There is the racist “betrayal” syndrome at work here.
Fifth, not far behind, are the racist demonization of what the Guyana Times perceive as the Black leadership. Nothing about David Granger, Carl Greenidge, Clive Thomas, Nigel Hughes, Eusi Kwayana, Vincent Alexander, Lincoln Lewis and David Hinds is good. They are constantly portrayed as violent, unintelligent, backward and inferior. In addition, many opinion pieces constantly advise Black people to stop being dependent and emulate East Indians.
Finally, the reporters whose names these slanted stories and attacks appear under are mostly African Guyanese – another case of racialization. The use of African- Guyanese to do the hatchet work of the East Indian elite in exchange for a job or other forms of material compensation is now a staple in Guyana. This turning of especially young Black people into mercenaries is obscene and unforgivable.
Now that one of the PPP leaders has called them out, I hope the editors cool it. They are killing the little that is left of public integrity in Guyana.
Dr. David Hinds, a political activist and commentator, is also an Associate Professor of Caribbean and African Diaspora Studies and Political Science at Arizona State University. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. More of his writings can be found on his website www.guyanacaribbeanpolitics.com