The 2008 PTS Election Letters
May 13, 2008 11:38 PM
by Govert Schuller
Last week I posted a question about the status of the March 12, 2008 letter
by PTS Radha Burnier as an opening question to look into the issues
surrounding this 2008 PTS election.
My base line is that everybody acted in good faith, but that mistakes were
made and these have to be sorted out. The situation is urgent for the
election process seems to be compromised.
I posited three possibilities about the statusof the Burnier letter :
1) The letter was private. Therefore it's unproblematic. It's her opinion to
which she's entitled [to share] with her friends and she might be right.
2) The letter was to all General Council members intended as a response to
Ms. Carbonell's letter, to which Burnier was entitled as Oliveira points
out: "Mrs Radha Burnier, about whom some presumptions were made in Ms
Carbonell's letter to some General Council members, of necessity, as is her
right, has had to state her position and her intentions in relation to the
forthcoming election for international President."
3) The letter was to all General Council members expressing her position. If
so, then it was electioneering and therefore sufficient grounds for General
Council members to respond and/or protest.
In his answer to my question Pedro Oliveira re-affirms that:
"As Elvira Carbonell and others at Adyar wrote the above communication to
the members of the General Council of the TS, not only attempting to
pre-empt Mrs Burnier's candidacy but definitely announcing that Dr Algeo had
agreed to accept nominations, Mrs Burnier was entitled to write to the same
GC members and present her views."
I take this to mean that he settles for possibility #2: The Burnier letter
was a response to the Carbonell letter. This might be the case, but still is
highly problematic, for it raises the following questions:
1) Why did Burnier not mention the Carbonell letter to make it clear that
her letter was a legitimate response to the questionable, but
understandable, action by Carbonell? Any GC, or any TS member, reading the
Burnier letter, would not be able to ascertain that the letter was a
legitimate response, and he/she would be on relatively firm grounds to
perceive the Burnier letter as electioneering, as Betty Bland did.
2) Even if you put the two letters side by side, there seems to be no
structural congruency to conclude that one is a response to the other,
a) Carbonell's main issue is Radha's health and fitness for another term and
that is not addressed in the response.
b) Burnier in her letter shares information that is not relevant to the
The only issue both letters share is the question regarding the future
residence of Algeo if he becomes PTS.
Given the above, I think that,
1) to construe the Burnier letter as a response to the Carbonell letter is
hard to maintain
2) the status of the Burnier letter is not yet firmly established.
3) the plausible genesis of the letter, and this is merely my hypothesis,
was that it started out as a private letter (as Pablo Sender informed us),
but through wide dissemination it became a de facto electioneering letter,
which then, implausibly, was construed as a response to Carbonell to defend
4) the responses that the letter solicited, especially Betty Bland's letter
to the GC, seem legitimate, because she perceived the Burnier letter for an
unprecedented act of electioneering and makes it clear that her own letter
was a response to that specific act.
5) On the other side, Bland's letter to the TSA membership is problematic,
a) she did not mention the Burnier letter to legitimize hers,
b) she makes the incorrect claim that her letter was tradition-breaking,
while in her letter to the GS's she makes the case that it was Radha who did
c) the Bland letter is obviously private, but then uses the official TSA
mailing-list for distribution.
Ergo: all the letters here in question are highly problematic except Bland's
letter to the GC.
19 December 2007 - Elvira Carbonell
12 March 2008 - Radha Burnier
19 March 2008 - Mrs Betty Bland
11 April 2008 - Mrs Betty Bland
P.S.: Other issues still to be addressed:
1) The discrepancy between the official health certificates and personal
observations regarding PTS Burnier's health; and the absence of a
professional medical assessment of her taking on another 7 years.
2) Algeo declaring that he would accept nominations, something Oliveira and
Ramadoss find objectionable and I think is a non-issue.
3) The best course of action for this situation to defuse for the benefit of
the TS in its entirety.
4) the lessons to be learned from this situation, especially regarding
elections, communication, the use of modern technologies and possibly even
the entire governance model of the TS itself.
And soon I will give a link to a little piece titled "The State of the TS
(Adyar) in 2008: A Psycho-esoteric Interpretation," in which the
Krishnamurti issue will take center stage as an issue for this election.
[Back to Top]
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application