Is Al Creighton Honest?
Past Editorial

Writing. It is something that people take for granted just as they sometimes take life for granted. Research and fact finding. This, writers take for granted. Sometimes one assumes that if one say something that cannot be easily verified by the public, it is acceptable to say or write. In a country like Guyana, or for that matter, any Caribbean country, journalism is one thing and good writing another. West Indian writing is not heavily influenced by a journalistic trait as, say, Latin American writing is. The Noble Prize winning-author, Gabriel Garcia Marquez tells us that there is no differnece between his journalism and fiction. In Guyana, as I have said, writing is taken for granted. And I don't mean typos. I make those all the time.

Al Creighton is the recently elected Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Guyana. He is, however, most recognised as the long serving literary and art critic attached to the Stabroek News in Georgetown. He is also the Secretary of the Management Council which stands guard over the Guyana Prize for Literature. At UG, Mr, Creighton has been attached to the Faculty of Arts for years. It is very imressive track record in Guyana. In fact, anywhere.

But is Al Creighton honest? Does he make stories or points up to debate issues with anyone who may disagree with his opinion? Can he be trusted? Well, let us consider a few things in light of his "impressive" record, not to forget his standing as a supposedly creditable writer in Guyana.

In Late October 2003, debating the issue of whether race preference is being used to award scholarship in at UG, Mr. Creighton as the new deputy vice chancellor says; "Applications are first made through the various Departments to the Faculty. All Heads of Department participate in the nomination process. The faculty then sends its nominations to the University Scholarships Committee on which all the Deans, the Registrar and the Deputy Registrar sit. They meet to elect those to be sent forward for awards."

However, Professor Frederick Kissoon checked with the Registrar, Mr. Chanderbali, who denied this. Mr. Creighton did not refute this claim as of today, 11/06/2003. He did not even bother to apologise to the public. Imagine that! A Deputy Vice-Chancellor who knows not what his Registrar does and has no heart to say "I'm sorry."

In late Septemer 2003, writing a literary piece on Edward Said, the Palestinian scholar-literary critic who passed away in September, Mr. Al Creighton noted that the scholar passed "suddenly." But this is wrong. Mr. Said has been suffering from leukemia for 11 years. In fact, it's quite known because it is always been used as a backdrop to the staggering volume of writings that Mr. Said poured out month by month. Even if Mr. Creighton did not know this, research would have shown this.

In January 2003, Mr. Creighton wrote on Wilson Harris whom he regards as a genius etc. He noted that Mr. Harris was shortedlisted/nominated for the Noble Peace Prize for Literature twice in his life. Imagine this, an author who lived in England since the early sixties, having published more than 20 novels but never having won UK's top prize, the Booker, but being or supposedly being nominated for the Noble! Is this true or not? Well, I never heard anything like this. I check this up and simply could not find it. What I do know is that unlike in other literary prizes, writers are not "shortlisted." Those names nominated are kept secret for the nect fifty years as stipulated by statute no. 10 of the Noble Foundation.

This sentence is from the Foundation itself; "According to the Statutes of the Nobel Foundation, nominators must not make public the names of the nominees nor inform nominees privately of the proposals. Even invitations to propose names are confidential. Proposals received for the award of a prize, and investigations and opinions concerning the award of a prize may not be divulged. The names of the nominees are classified as confidential information for at least fifty years. "

So, how did Mr. Creighton get his praises for his beloved author, his countryman?

In late 2000, after the Canadian writer Margaret Atwood won the Booker Prize for her book, the Blind Assassin, Mr. Creighton did a piece for his Stabroek News column on the Booker Prize. He wrote briefly on Salman Rushdie's book, The Satanic Verses. But he made a huge blunder by claiming that the two main characters Farishta and Chamcha were Hindus. These characters were Muslims. This was pointed out once to whcih Mr. Creighton said he'd respond. He never did today for obvious reasons.

This one man has been responsible for so many critical errors from fact finding to assumption to being deceitful about a public office/figure (UG Registrar). He remains well-rooted in his roles particularly because he has been around a long time. This of course is part of the problem. It makes the individual believe he is beyond being accountable. He feels justified that he is not expected to write responsibly, for his years have given him absolute privilege. It is a shame and a mark of the tragic time that such an unreliable writer can become the deputy vice chancellor of UG and senior litearay critic. But his post is being critiqued and challenged right here, and always more. This nonsense has to stop.


Nov 6, 2002
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