Time to move on, move UG forward


– now that Prof. Griffith’s no longer a problem

Dear Editor,
THIS letter follows the one I sent you just under a week ago. I have noted responses to that letter, published on Wednesday June 19, 2019, and I feel obliged to ensure that some serious misunderstandings are addressed. In particular, I must address the letter published under the name Dennis Paul. Unfortunately, work and family demands do not allow me to be as swift as I might wish to be with my responses.

Let me begin by underscoring a fact mentioned in my previous letter. While the internal process unfolded with regards to Prof. Griffith’s tenure with the University of Guyana (UG), despite the misleading public campaign, I remained publicly silent. It was my expectation that, with the choice exercised by Prof. Griffith to withdraw his request, the campaign would stop and the UG could move on. What has continued to occur sends several false messages to the public: 1. Prof. Griffith was the greatest thing that has ever happened to the UG; 2. significant elements of the UG have been resistant to the positively transformational leadership he brought; 3. the UG does not value the Guyanese Diaspora; 4. the UG is not the place for anyone who wants to do well; and, 5. now that he is gone, everything good at UG will crumble and it will sink into a dark abyss.
The issue I sought to address is now external to the University, yet it has potentially significant negative impacts as the public can be misled.

It would be out of character for me to simply jump to the public to provide the gory details to prove what was wrong with Prof. Griffith’s leadership at the UG. I ask, though, that those who would speak to it speak honestly from what they know first-hand rather than deceitfully or peddling hearsay. I was, therefore, not pointing anyone to social media for ‘dirt’. If the author of the Dennis Paul letter would read carefully, he/she would note that I guided you to search the Internet, which is not the same as social media. I guided you to search the Internet in relation to specific appointments of Prof. Griffith, so as you can have some insight as to what happened at the UG without my berating his leadership at UG in the public.

On the matter of the VC being a member of Council, and therefore having all right to the information referred to, the author of the Dennis Paul letter overlooks simple things. Because the matter of evaluation in particular concerned Prof. Griffith, he was not part of those deliberations and should only have been informed of the end product. As bad as it was that he was informed, he had no right to have it published and really should apologise publicly for doing so.

It is a shame that the author of the letter at reference would seek to drag Prof. Fraser into this matter. It is no secret that Prof. Fraser worked with the UG before 2016, during that time he worked with me on a number of initiatives, and had previously applied for the job of Vice-Chancellor. It is no secret that we have remained friends to this day. I would have likely voiced my opinion on his application in 2012 when I was not part of the University governance or central administration. However, to suggest that I would have lobbied for him against Griffith in 2016 is a lie from the pit of hell.

Editor, I would suggest that the author of the Dennis Paul letter really meant to say that lecturers have a hypothesis for which there is need for evidence to support it or not. It is important to note however that I have no such hypothesis. I have a fair bit of evidence. I had shared much of that evidence with the Council prior to Prof. Griffith withdrawing his expression of interest. Importantly, unlike those alike Mr Pat Dyal, I can go to a court of law and be a valid witness to his leadership of the University.
Editor, let me reiterate what I said in my previous letter, “While I could write about my personal experiences and observations of Prof. Griffith as Vice-Chancellor (Academic and Administrative Head of the University) I will not do so at this time because there is no reason to publicly berate his tenure at the UG now that he poses no serious direct threat to the University.” All I ask is, now that he has departed from the UG, let us all focus on continuing to move the UG forward.

C. R. Bernard
Senior Lecturer
Department of Biology
Faculty of Natural Sciences
University of Guyana