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Thursday, June 29, 2006


Mr. Thompson has tripped himself up in his attempt to defame me

Dear Editor,

I, Faye Elizabeth Ann Alleyne, formerly Fraser, am trying to decide whether to continue to be hilariously amused or just outraged at Mr. Hubert Orin Stanislaus Thompson's 2000 word response to my letter of Sunday June 25 in which I sought to put him in a good light and dispel the public certainty that he was the supposedly anonymous source of the leak of confidential NIS information.

I have decided to put off the decision for a week to allow the sediment to settle but would like to take a moment of your time to correct a few inaccuracies contained in his letter which otherwise faithfully reproduced most of the statements he made during our very cordial conversation and which very effectively corroborated what I reported of our conversation in my letter. Except that I put a bit of a spin on it to make him look good in the eyes of the public.

I will first briefly detour to respond to the editorial note appended to my letter. I at no time asked anyone at the Stabroek News about their source nor would I have done so, though I and three other persons did call to ask who had written the article. On all but the last occasion a name not Mr. Earle’s was mentioned, and when I directly asked Mr. Earle, whose work incidentally especially on environmental matters I admire tremendously, whether he had written the article, he said “I can’t remember if I wrote that one.”

I responded “What do you mean you can’t remember? Writing an article is like giving birth. You’re not likely to forget it.” He then said “I write so many things”. This is true and he writes them all very well indeed and I’m sure he’s forgotten that he very cautiously never actually said “Yes, I wrote it.” In fact his gift of capturing the essence of a personality that he interviews is ironically what led to identification of the source. Sorry Johann, some people are gifted with a photographic memory. All I ended up with was the auditory kind and it is seldom a blessing I assure you.

I had hoped my last letter would also be the last time I would have to publicly address the issue since I officially withdrew, to my financial detriment, as of May 1 from my ancillary position as one of two public information consultants affiliated to the consulting (not international) agency which was hired to educate the public about the project and I am no longer therefore being either paid to, or expected to, defend or promote the project and am not, for that matter, authorized to do so either.

I should first make it clear that my withdrawal from this vital development project does not in any way indicate a withdrawal of my commitment to its successful fruition but was occasioned primarily by the fact that it became fashionable for attempts to scuttle the project to be redirected into attempts to scuttle me and my good name especially since some felt that my very vocal 24/7 support and defence of it was a betrayal of the ‘side’.

I’ve foregone two months of income because I was forced into an unscheduled withdrawal and I don’t appreciate having to waste further time responding to unjustified attacks in the newspaper but Mr. Thompson’s letter proves that he is very fashion-conscious indeed and I could not possibly let his defamation attempt go undefended.

As to what side I was supposed to be letting down I am still unsure since the only side I ever committed myself to was called Guyana and I have a feeling she may approve of my efforts to foster her development by whatever means necessary.

I was equipped with some very valuable skills at a high cost by the Hoyte administration and I will forever be grateful for that training but if anyone assumes that I was therefore honour bound to refrain from supporting the development efforts of any other administration they would be making a very fundamental mistake.

The focus of the training which I and nine others received was the creation of some well-programmed functionaries who were equipped with the skills and commitment to get past the obfuscatory hindrances of party politics and ‘civil service traditional methodology’ and get things done. Most details of this unique training programme are available in an article which I wrote for the Stabroek News at their request in October 2004.

We were incidentally also trained by a former Secretary to the Treasury who was so quietly efficient and capable both at his job and at imparting the fruits of his knowledge and experience that we voted him “Best Lecturer” out of a field of the very best professionals Guyana had to offer at the time. It was the memory of this humble Indian man whom we fondly referred to as “ST” that partly caused me to so empathize with Mr. HOS Thompson during our conversation.

Also, as he almost accurately mentioned, I’d known the frustration of what it was like to walk in his shoes and have one’s skills and best efforts discounted and ignored for years by a less knowledgeable person and the experience was shared by many of my much more skilled friends.

I don’t recall saying “wicked person” but it is not outside the bounds of possibility that I might have said so when we had gotten to the “buddy pals together” part of our conservation. Old slights run deep though I had spent my life working according to the provisions of the Official Secrets Act and would not have dreamed of running to the press for revenge and on the contrary had defended the person’s interests to the last for many years. Often lying through my teeth about their competence. Yes I am capable of lying when it serves a higher purpose.

It is said that no good deed goes unpunished and both the editor’s note appended to my letter and Mr. HOS Thompson’s response would appear to bear this out. A wise person also told me recently in more colloquial terms that “is kindness make crapaud loss he tail”. It was the first time I’d heard the expression so I’m not sure if the word was tail. It might have been watch or something similar but Mr. Fenty of “Words of Wisdom” fame would be able to correct me on that.

It subsequently turned out that the person was not very well acquainted with the concept but I have not so far been informed that kindness is now a banned commodity, the public proferrence of which should immediately lead to unjustified attempts at defamation.

I do apologize to Mr. HOS Thompson for trying to be kind to him and I assure him I will try my best to ensure it does not happen again but I object to the harsh nature of the punishment he meted out. Mr. Hubert Orin Stanislaus Thompson says that I misrepresented the views he expressed in our conversation. I did. Deliberately.

Since my purpose was to be kind to him I thought it would be inappropriate to state that he had expressed pure venom towards his superiors at the NIS in almost the same breath in which he boasted of the wonderful send off which he had been given by the organization. A venom which he now attempts to attribute to me.

As for my claiming to have worked in various countries and to be an “international expert” hired by an “international agency” I do not recall making such statements.

I do recall admitting that my services had been engaged by a consulting agency and also stating, in response to his continuous boasting about what an expert he is, that I was not exactly a neophyte who would have been unable to understand the confidential data which had been provided about the project, and which I had studied carefully, since I was trained in Economics, in Law and in what I usually understatedly refer to as Administration for want of a more suitable term to describe the multi-faceted training which I received courtesy of Mr. Hoyte’s vision.

I also mentioned that I had once had the good fortune while living in Barbados to be allowed by the ILO to spend several months undertaking for them a comprehensive review of the details of the Barbados fiscal system over a forty-year period for their purpose of constructing a model of how a small open economy should function.

Mr. Thompson says that “I have found Ms. Alleyne’s accounts of our discussion in this and previous articles very dishonest”. I am inclined to object strongly to this since I am not in the habit of being accused of being dishonest as anyone who ever taught me in school or worked with me or was even served as a customer by me in my salad years would be able to testify.

In fact, when I left the convent school which I attended as a teenager, my Headmistress Sister Hazel Anthony Campayne, (since we’re into full names here) even stressed this aspect of my character in a recommendation which brought tears to my eyes since I was always up to some mischief and thought I didn’t even deserve one.

She had noted however that I never lied about my misdeeds (which included being caught smoking in the garbage dump) and never tried to cast blame or implicate my confederates, often falsely claiming that I had committed the offences all by myself. Incidentally my confederates and I had learned from precedent that the garbage dump was the only safe place where no one would dream of searching for us. There is no privacy in a convent school. We had forgotten that the evidence lingers.

I would have felt no need to tape the conversation with Mr. HOS Thompson since I had called on April 2 only to ask the esteemed NIS Financial Controller if it was true that he had indeed resigned. A very pleasant lady said that he was out and suggested a time for me to call back. And incidentally he did not rush to correct the wrong assumption in the manner in which he claimed that he did but tried to say that it was not so incorrect to say so since he “had the option to continue because the NIS retirement age is 60 as opposed to the civil service’s 55.

In his cowardly rush to splash the venomous intent of his letter onto me Mr. Thompson has forgotten one significant fact. There were no “previous articles” in which I mentioned him. My scathing previous letter referred only to a cowardly “anonymous source”.

It would have been much simpler for all concerned if he had sent this signed account of his views to the newspaper in late March and pre-empted the unfortunate article.

As for my asking if anything would make him change his views I was simply referring to his stubborn and foolish insistence that he had seen and studied all the relevant data when it was patently obvious that he had not. I would hope that he’s not playing do-for-do and now trying to accuse me of offering him a bribe. Fire away, Mr. HOS Thompson. Mr. Hoyte chose his weapons well before he sharpened them. On that score you will not find a single living soul, or dead one either, to support you. In my youth I once worked in an environment where bribery was the order of the day but no one even hinted at one with me. That was a bit unfair and I’ve often wondered why. My indeterminate ethnicity perhaps? This is Guyana after all, colour matters.

As for his attempts to cozy up to competent professionals who may have made mistaken prognoses due to the unavailability to the public of complete information on the project, I don’t think they much like cowards.

I think it would be appropriate at this point to say “enough is enough”. I need to allow Mr. Thompson to best me at length of letter. (I’m still behind). It’s called saving face I think.

Yours faithfully,

Elizabeth Alleyne

Posted by jebratt :: Thursday, June 29, 2006 :: 0 comments

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