Home Letters Why not Prem Misir & other accomplished scholars at UG?
The Vice Chancellor of UG was selected last June. The selection panel was comprised mostly of sympathisers and affiliates of the coalition. The panel was appointed during the tenure (September 2019) of the interim coalition administration, which lost the no-confidence motion in December 2018. The selection was supposed to be held after the election, but it was done during the period of the attempted election rigging.
There were several candidates for the position. It was shocking to learn that Prof Prem Misir, UG’s most experienced and perhaps the most competent of all the candidates, was not chosen in the final stage of the selection process. I would like to know what went wrong that he was bypassed. Dr. Emmanuel Cummings, head of the search panel, should explain why Prof Misir did not make it through the final phase of the selection process.
There were four candidates in the final phase – Profs Jaipaul Sharma, Clement Sankat, and Stafford Griffith; and there was Dr. Paloma Mohammed-Martin, Asst. VC to the controversial Ivelaw Griffith. Freddie Kissoon exposed the abuses at UG during the tenure of Griffith, Paloma Martin, and others.
Dr. Misir served at UG as senior lecturer during the 1980s, and returned as professor and Pro-Chancellor during the 2000s thru 2015. The goodly professor, whose class I audited, exhibited outstanding scholarship and leadership qualities during his tenure at UG. He was highly rated by students of his classes. I don’t think the other prospective candidates matched his qualification and experience in administration.
In addition to his experience in Guyana, he also served as professor at St. John and LIU, among other universities. And he was VC at University of Fiji Medical College and Pro-Chancellor and Assistant VC of USP (Fiji). And he has had a legacy of academic achievements – probably the most published among the candidates, with hundreds of articles and books on various issues.
His expertise is in management, on which he wrote dozens of articles. With his extensive management and community background with the Guyanese diaspora in America and in Guyana, he would have been the ideal person to lead UG after that controversial tenure of Ivelaw, Paloma, and others, during which period there were so many allegations. He has a sterling record with the widest experience. How could he not make it through the final round? Dr. Emmanuel Cummings has a lot of explaining to do.
Prof Clement Sankat has more administrative experience as VC than the others. He was Principal (VC) of UWI Trinidad campus for several years. In addition, he has been serving as President (Chancellor) of the University of Belize. He also published dozens of articles in journals.
Prof Jaipaul Sharma has been in academia for some 35 years, several of which were in management at University of Lancashire. He has helped to establish universities in several places. He has published some 200 articles in reputable scientific journals. He has supervised many PhD candidates, including several Guyanese. He has been one of the leading scholars in the UK, supervising probably the most PhD students.
Prof Stafford Griffith is Pro Chancellor and Assistant VC at UWI Antigua campus. He worked in the private sector as well as with NGOs like CXC, World Bank, USAID, and he spent some thirty years teaching and managing in academia.
Prof Paloma Mohamed Martin is a specialist in Pan Africanism and Marcus Garveyism. Her management experience is, among others, Assistant to the controversial Ivelaw Griffith.
It is very clear who was most qualified and fitting for the post of VC. Profs Misir, Sankat, Griffith, and Sharma would have brought experience, integrity, and appropriate leadership qualities to UG. They are not embroiled in controversy. They have demonstrated breadth and intellectual achievements in a variety of areas. Dr. Emmanuel should explain why those four were bypassed. Is it because they were not supportive of the coalition?