• 04 Dec, 2022

Dr Vishnu Bisram Selflessly served Guyana, Caribbean & Diaspora

Dr Vishnu Bisram Selflessly served Guyana, Caribbean & Diaspora

Dr Vishnu Bisram Selflessly served Guyana, Caribbean & Diaspora

I disagree with one GHK Lall’s commentary on Dr Vishnu Bisram as appeared in KN ( Nov 5). I join others in endorsing/cum nominating Dr Bisram for the vacant position of Ambassador (High Commissioner) of Guyana to India. I can’t think of a more academically and diplomatically qualified or suitable person for the position. Lall misunderstood and misrepresented Dr Bisram’s politics and professionalism as an analyst, writer, and activist. He is and never was pro any party or biased towards any one. He was always objective and professional. 
 
Unlike armchair critics, Bisram was on the ground combating the dictatorship till 1992 and again from December 2018 thru August 2020. He was a doer, not a mere talker or armchair commentator. He consistently behaved and acted like an professional. 
 
In addition, he served Guyana and Guyanese diaspora in a most altruistic manner. He has served Guyana selflessly ever since I met him around 1983 in Brooklyn. Only a handful of Guyanese in the diaspora served their home country with such dedication, devotion, reverence, humility, and commitment as though the nation is a deity. And in his case, he not only served Guyana, but Trinidad and India as well. I recall the late Pandit Prakash Gossai saying at a public function at his mandir in Brooklyn in welcoming Vishnu Bisram that there was no more an altruistic person than him who totally devoted his life in service to Guyana, India , Guyanese and the varied Indian communities in America. While most in the diaspora were occupied with earning a living, Bisram was preoccupied with liberating Guyana from dictatorship. It is most unfortunate that a person of his commitment, stature, and caliber was never utilized or recognized or honored by our government for any position. Given his vast and diverse educational background and enormous experience socializing with diplomats, politicians, and world leaders, he would have been an asset to the nation. He is eligible for virtually any position in service to Guyana.
 
I was most fortunate to meet Vishnu Bisram. That accidentally happened through a newspaper I founded that was Guyana and Caribbean oriented, Caribbean Expo Awake. After the first issue which Bisram obtained at a West Indian store, he contacted me. I had heard of him and was familiar with his community activities and anti-dictatorship activism. We met for lunch at the publication office. I requested that he helped with the monthly publication. He edited and reported on events as well as wrote editorials and commentaries. I offered remuneration but he refused payment, saying he was performing service or seva as a duty on behalf of Guyana, Trinidad, the Caribbean, India, and their diasporas in America. He was at the time tutoring at City College and completing his MA degree in International Relations. He was very simple and humble. Virtually no other person I knew at the time committed to volunteerism with such passion to perform gratis service on behalf of their community or nation. I learnt that he was performing such service ever since he arrived in America as a student in 1977, writing for other publications and committing himself to the anti-dictatorship movement which was a continuation of his involvement in that struggle and community affairs in his native village of Port Mourant.
 
Besides assisting with publications, Bisram was deeply involved in organizing events and activities pertaining to the Indo Caribbean and Asian Indian communities in New York including, but not limited to, pageants, concerts, celebrations, festivals, rallies, protests, petition drives, prayers, marches, parades, conferences, seminars, advising politicians, campaign meetings, and more. He accompanied me to many community events picking up and dropping off participants in a small bus I owned and drove. No distance or status level of engagement deterred his community involvement, altruism, and volunteerism.
 
He was at the forefront of the struggle in America against the dictatorship including, but not limited, to communicating and interacting with members of the USA administration, Members of Congress, and diplomats of several countries. He also organized countless protests at which I held picket signs. He used his affiliation with the Asian Indian community to lobby American politicians to pressure the Hoyte regime to implement political and economic reforms.
 
Bisram and the late Ramesh Kalicharran served as liaisons with the Asian Indian community attending their political, socio-cultural, and religious events. They were successful in convincing nationals from India to support the Guyanese American cause for the restoration of democracy in Guyana.  Together, Guyanese and Asian Indians successfully lobbied the American administration and US Congress to bring about political and economic reforms, including free and fair elections, in Guyana. This set the stage for the return of the PPP administration. Dr Bisram supported and gave funds to all of the anti dictatorial parties and the movement including PPP, URP, WPA, TUF, DLM, and PCD. Dr Bisram did not campaign for the return of the PPP to office but for the return of democracy in Guyana. He declined top positions of political parties and as a candidate on lists of several parties including an offer from Dr Jagan. PPP happened to be the beneficiary of his activism. And Bisram’s polling was simply to determine political support for parties. The fact that his polls showed the PPP winning did not and does not make him a PPP supporter. He did his work professionally. The polls’ findings reflected reality on the ground stating that PPP would win which was the actual outcome.
 
Contrary to what GHK wrote, Dr Bisram’s writings were very balanced and objective. He wrote critically about all the political parties. The PPP leadership at times excoriated Bisram for what the party perceived to be anti PPP writings and for what the leadership thought underestimated its political support. Several such criticisms are found in the mass media. Dr Jagan praised his professionalism, and Dr Bisram is on record declining an appointment as a PR person under successive PPP administrations. Had it not been for his objectivity and neutrality, he would have received an appointment as a diplomat or Minister of government a long time ago. That injustice should be corrected now. 
 
Yours Truly,
Dr Vishnu Bandhu
Pol Leader URP