The era of Charrandass Persaud as Guyana’s High Commissioner to India is already gathering dust and lying in the archive of history, perhaps not quietly but undisturbed at the moment. As Omar Khayyam penned, “The moving finger writes and having writ, moves on.” The incident from 2021 has subsided its sting and only the taste remains because of a bitter flavor. At the end of the day, the garden remains but the gardener needs to be replaced.
India is: a very sensitive country with a multitude of class distinctions; strategically placed as a challenging country in the East; historically enriched with close attachment to Guyana and the Caribbean; culturally pampered with the flamboyance of fashion, fame and fortune; economically developed to help others; politically entrusted to embrace equality and justice; socially dexterous to test the taste, touch and temperament of a diversified nation. India being a delightful, delectable but a determined nation, choosing an ambassador to represent Guyana in such a vast country becomes more intriguing. Who will be the Government’s choice is any one’s guess. Many popular names of prominence surface, but, only the prized personality will be promoted to provide the services to portray and protect the interest of Guyana.
One such candidate is Dr. Vishnu Bisram. Dr. Kumar Mahabir, anthropologist at the University of University (UG) and former Assistant Professor at the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT), has written extensively on the academic qualifications of Dr. Bisram and also on his global experience and exposure as a social worker and an exponential interactor with heads of governments, diplomats, religious leaders, news media, and, the man in the street. Prof Kumar Mahabir (November 4) outlined a very strong case why Dr Vishnu Bisram should be appointed as the Ambassador or High Commissioner to India. Academically and experience wise, the gentleman is over qualified for such a position. No need to cite more credentials and additional examples of his great work on behalf of Guyanese in the diaspora and Guyana, the country and nation.
I (along with many others), am very familiar with his activism in America and his countless writings in the community papers in USA as well as in Guyana. No one wrote as prolific as he did on Guyanese in the diaspora and on the importance to respect and abuse by democratic norms. There are three very critical points that Dr Kumar Mahabir’s missive did not delve into detail about Dr Bisram activism pertaining to elections.
His activism helped to pressure the Guyana government to hold elections after the defeat in the no confidence motion of December 21, 2018 and to accept the will of the voters of the March 2, 2020 elections. Dr Bisram’s activism post would have compelled the then government to resign and hold elections, replace Judge Patterson as Chairman of GECOM, and to accept the 2020 election results.
Dr Bisram engaged in an extensive campaign in the media explaining why the government must demit office in accordance with democratic traditions after it lost the NCM. And he wrote extensively on why Patterson’s appointment as GECOM chair was illegal as the CCJ would later rule. He launched an international campaign to pressure the government to replace Patterson after the CCJ ruling and to hold free and fair elections under international observation.
He was in Guyana conducting credible and impartial opinion polls that projected a PPP victory and reporting on aspects of the elections. And when the government failed to accept the outcome of the March 2 democratic vote, he initiated an international campaign that caused the government to respect the will of the voters. For five months, he wrote in the media on a daily basis exposing the attempted fraud and appealing to the government to accept the outcome. He worked behind the scenes convincing key individuals in the international community and in Guyana that were responsible for the change in administration on August 2, 2020. He penned letters to diplomats in Guyana, Heads of International Orgs, and to members of the Trump Administration, including Asst. Secretary Michael Kozak and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, as well as Members of Congress, and foreign leaders, appealing to them to use their influence and or to bear pressure on the government to accept the outcome of the March vote. He also engaged key individuals at GECOM. Feeling the foreign pressure and increasingly ostracized, the government threw in the towel paving the way for Irfaan Ali to be sworn in as President. If not for his academic credentials, then Dr Bisram ought to be rewarded for his role in helping to save democracy in Guyana. What better way to reward him than to appoint him as High Commissioner to India. Would there have been a change in government without his input and that of several other patriots, CARICOM and the ABCE?