Thursday, March 13, 2008

Hinckson's offer

Hinckson's offer to be a facilitator was important

Thanks to all those who agreed to meet and talk about the violence in Guyana, no matter the way they looked at it. Let me say first that I have seen the development of conflict in Guyana, have been part of it, and have carefully and I hope fairly documented the racial aspects.

In due course I shall speak directly on the destruction of Buxton-Friendship, one of the centres in Guyana of many sided human development.

For me personally Lusignan is a birth place and Buxton a school There is very little of true Buxtonian origin that I will separate myself from. I embrace its human traditions.

I see no need up to this point to withdraw the comments I have made from 2001 and especially in "The Morning After" (2005) on the disturbances staged from Buxton-Friendship and within it by the various tragic actors. .I was there for a whole year of it and marvel in silence at wise ones who claim and put forward real economic hardship as the cause.

I repeat what I said before that my differences with the majority of the African Guyanese are not racial but political.

After a series of atrocities by both official security forces and civilian vigilantes, we have come to where we are. Father Malcolm Rodrigues can in no way be seen by any sane person as an enemy of the PPP. He proposed negotiations with the civilian gunmen. Just about that time and independently of Fr Rodrigues, clearly without his knowledge, an ideal facilitator offered his services, the former military officer Mr. Oliver Hinckson, now reported to be under arrest. Without prejudice to any evidence against Mr Hinckson, I see his offer, if it is still alive as the most important thing since the start of the seven years' war.

On Sunday, March 2, 2008 the PPP held a massive event to reflect on or celebrate the life of its former Leader, and best known co-founder President Cheddi Jagan.

Within seven days of the grand consultation on crime and security and the communiqué among parties President Jagdeo pronounced on the crime-security situation.

The SN reported that Guyana's President made several declarations, some welcome and others puzzling. Among them, he declared. "the only way the recent spate of killings will come to an end is if the perpetrators are apprehended or killed." He did not state a preference. The forces have a poor record of "apprehending" as Hon Mr Rohee was careful to tell the parliament. They have many killings of known suspects to their credit. From Blackie London to Troy Dick, not one of the named wanted men has been "apprehended". I mention Blackie London because he was shot in February 1999 with his hands in surrender mode. Thus he was both apprehended (overcome) and killed. I believe that even in times of hostility between nations this would be a war crime.

The consultation had been careful to agree that the security forces should act within the law. The President should have made his declarations in that spirit.

In fairness to the record I agree with the writer who pointed out that a similar proposal that the gunmen be heard had come from Mr.Tacuma Ogunseye. These proposals that test society's hidden prejudices, and I mean class prejudice, cannot be brushed aside forever.

Security forces' vigour must not include torture and unlawful arrests and tear-smoking of people who demonstrate against the failure of the State to offer them the protection of the law. Even for the police, arresting people without warrant, at random, or because they "look suspicious" in order to get information from them by any means, is unlawful A person seen committing an offence or being about to commit an offence may be arrested without warrant.

A person may also be arrested by the police, without warrant, "on suspicion" but the constitution and the courts require that it must be "with reasonable cause."

As I close I am hit by the recent execution of a woman, described as a sister of the reputed Agricola villager said to be leading the gunmen, now dodging bulldozers in the Buxton-Friendship backlands.

Yours faithfully,

Eusi Kwayana

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