Home Letters If only Kissoon could take off those blinders!
The columns written by Frederick Kissoon on suicide expose his monomaniasm. The columnist seems to suffer from tunnel vision, which could allow for an analysis only through political lens.
Kissoon claims that the reason why Guyana has achieved the ignominious number one position in suicide rates is because of the political situation in the country – causing young (mainly Indian) folks to take their lives. (This claim mirrors that of his assertion that the event marking the Lusignan Massacre in that village in 2010. The columnist claimed that the event was sponsored by politicians and others so as to garner votes. I happened to be sitting next to the brother of a victim, but expressed deep appreciation, in that commemoration, helped to bring healing to him and others. Kissoon was nowhere to be found – except in the company of his fans. Kissoon cites “Guyana’s breakdown” to suicide. He does not define “breakdown”. Perhaps he was referring to his statement, “In the entire world, this country may have the highest rate of unsolved homicides, incest accused, road fatalities …”. (He is wrong on all those fronts!)
If Guyana has the number one spot as a result of “breakdown”, how does South Korea come in second place on the suicide list? That is one of the most progressive countries in the world! And look at the other end of the spectrum and see who comes up on the high end: Haiti is #153 – yet it suffers from chronic instability, dictatorships and natural disasters. There was an election in 2014; the “victor” was declared president in February 2017! Namibia is #154 – with more than half of the population earning less than US.50 per day. Belize (#155) has a problem with violent crime (far greater than Guyana) and is heavily dependent on aid from our neighbour, Venezuela – with a ranking of #156. Just about everyone knows about Maduro leading Venezuela with the absurd political situation in that country – causing their citizens to glean stores in Georgetown to buy toilet paper!
The columnist writes, “the party Wakenaamers put in charge of Guyana for 23 years should have done more for its supporters on the island. There is absolutely nothing in Wakenaam. The PPP Government did absolutely nothing for that island. It is a place of high unemployment; it has been like that for over fifty years.” So, could others share the ‘blame’ in the lack of development?
Kissoon needs to take off his political blinders and recognise that there could be other factors for suicide: social, mental, spiritual, etc. Those who commit suicide come in all colours and socio-economic backgrounds. They see death as a way to escape their pain and anguish; they could be saddled with a sense of self-hatred, rejection, and hopelessness.
When the columnist compares Black Bush Polder (the “suicide capital of the world”) to Wakenaam, he sees only that the overwhelming Indian population voted for the PPP. For him, the commonality ends there. He cannot see that Black Bush Polder (and Wakenaam) has functioned significantly as the breadbasket of the country with their agricultural produce.
Sadly, in many agricultural communities, alcoholism is a huge problem. Coupled with easy access to herbicides and pesticides which farmers use, one can understand why such communities account for the astronomical suicide rate.
If only Mr Kissoon could take off those blinders…!