A tribute to Dale Andrews

Dear Editor,

I write to applaud your paper for expressing condolences on the passing of media man Dale Andrews (GT, June 6). The fact that he was news editor from another newspaper that has not been friendly to Guyana Times, and, in fact, has been in an attack mode against Times and its owner has not prevented the paper from expressing emotional solidarity with his colleagues and sympathy with his family.

This is an illustration of media maturity and professionalism that have rarely been shown by other media houses. Guyana Times’ professionalism, support and respect for the media fraternity are to be admired and emulated. Few in the media demonstrate the kind of maturity your editorial board exhibits.

I spoke with Dale occasionally to complain about biased reporting and my Op Ed commentaries not being published. His defence often was he did not see them or he was not editing every day. He would ask me to resend letters directly to him, and I did and some were published.

Last January, I called again to query why my letters were not being published from around December, he said to check with Freddie Kissoon who, Dale stated, replaced him as letters editor. Freddie stated he would not carry my letters apparently because he does not like when I critique him and when I write (wrote) facts of what happened in Guyana.

The 45-year-old Dale did not have my (nearly 40) years of experience in the media. Although he showed some flaws in editing and bias in reporting, he was a professional last December unlike Freddie. Dale allowed a relative free press in the letters section until it was handed to the petty editorial dictator Freddie Kissoon. Whenever I complained, Dale heeded critique and tried to accommodate my letters.

But he was powerless to rein in dictator Freddie, who is not qualified to be in the media, to carry my dozens of letters. Freddie does not tolerate critiques of his writings which are replete with inaccuracies and bias. Freddie creates enemies and he personally attacks those who critique his writings. He also attacks the PPP and Indians for supporting the PPP.

He would not attack Africans for supporting the PNC. Unlike Freddie, Dale was trained as a journalist. Dale did not attack people and he was accommodating to critics whereas Freddie is not. Dale had noted to me Freddie’s lack of professionalism, his perennial bias against the PPP, his misreporting, his censorship, and his hatred for people at Times. Freddie does not allow different perspectives especially from those he views as academic competitors. Freddie engages in opinion mongering whereas Dale was a real reporter who was not into editorialising news. Unlike Dale, Freddie fears critics.

Freddie’s editing has led to lower readership of that media he is associated with while Times readership has increased for its openness to views from across the political spectrum. Times comes across as truly professional in its reporting and editing and in the way it treats colleagues from other media outlets especially towards those who demonstrate an element of relative professionalism such as Dale Andrews. I thank Dale for allowing some of my letters. Dale’s work at the rival paper will be sorely missed. My sympathy goes out to his family and his colleagues.

Yours truly,

Vishnu Bisram