Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sedation charge?

CGID slams sedition charge in Guyana, says democracy under threat

President of the New York based Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy (CGID), Rickford Burke, is blasting the Bharrat Jagdeo administration in Guyana over its indictment of Ex-Guyana Defense Force (GDF) Lieutenant, Oliver Hinckson, for the capital crime of sedition. Burke said Hinckson made no seditious statements and forcefully challenged the government to provide the evidence. He acknowledged that "Guyana will continue to undergo political instability and remain ungovernable for the PPP, so long as its Indian government continues to employ Stalinist measures to persecute and silence blacks."

Hinckson, at a press conference hosted by Georgetown Mayor, Hamilton Green, last month said: "The veterans who have an association in Georgetown and throughout Guyana have had intelligence that very many young men with military experience are so devoid of hope and incensed that they are prepared to go to the bushes and wage a war of the flea. That means they will bite you here and by the time you respond they will bite you there and wear you into the ground. As a former officer I don't believe that the tactic strategy employed by Commodore Best are in the best long -term interest of this society. You can throw all you want at the guerrilla fighter and you will not succeed. The mightiest country in this world-the USA did not succeed in Vietnam, the Russians did not succeed in Afghanistan and the GDF will not succeed in Guyana, providing there is a Guerrilla insurgency."

Also under indictment is former GDF Lieutenant, twenty-seven year old Dorian Massay, who also appeared at the press conference. He was charged with illegal possession of "a pair of black boots, a camouflage bag and a camouflage jacket," which the government alleges are the property of the GDF. Burke slammed the charge against Massay as "infinitesimal, de minimis and repugnant to the law." Noting that after holding Massay incommunicado for one week and having denied him access to his Lawyer, Burke asked "Is this all that this government can come up with?

He added that this was a disgrace, as Massay, a Sand Hurst trained Cadet, was recently discharged from the military. How could he be in illegal possession of property that was issued to him by the Army? How can they ascertain that the items are the property of the GDF, in order to overcome the prima facie threshold? Have they done a forensic analysis of these items? Burke questioned. "The fact of the matter is that he is black, he is Sand Hurst trained and they fear him. Next they will round up all black ex-military officers, like Hitler did to the Jews and the Americans did to the Japanese. This is how they have governed Guyana."

The Institute's President said that the charges against Hinckson and Massay emanate from a sinister fishing expedition by the PPP ethnocracy. "What they have been doing over the years, is charging leading Afro-Guyanese individuals who criticize them and by whom they feel threatened, with trumped-up capital offenses like treason and sedition. These individuals are placed before the courts, denied bail and then held in abeyance in jail, in solitary confinement with the sanction of the courts. They do this because they have been getting away it, he posited.

"There is a pattern of Stalinism prevailing here. President Bharrat Jagdeo wants to impose "gangster communism" in Guyana. Afro-Guyanese have no constitutional rights in Guyana. Whenever they assert their democratic rights, they are charged with treason and sedition, and the courts have been complicit. The government always uses a national security crisis to reinforce racial divisions, target black leaders and eviscerate the constitution. First it was Mark Benschop. Now it is Oliver Hinckson. Who would be next?

"All of this is happening in a country where Caricom has its Headquarters. Yet Caricom Heads remain silent. It appears that Caricom buys into the PPP's propaganda and only finds its voice when the government's political constituency is impinged on. This is disconcerting to say the least, the CGID president lamented.

Burke expressed utter disappointment in Principal Magistrate Melissa Robertson-Ogle who upheld the charges against the two. "I know Magistrate Robinson. One would have thought that she had the judicial fortitude to uphold the law," he contended. He argued further that "It is now clear as day, why the government removed Chief Magistrate Juliet Holder-Allen from the bench. "They want to manipulate the Judiciary for their insidious agenda," he charged.

The CGID head then zeroed in on a report in the March 12 edition of the Stabroek Newspaper that "Principal Magistrate Melissa Robertson-Ogle left the bench just before Massay and Hinckson appeared, to go to the High Court. When she returned about one hour later, around 11.30 am, Massay was taken into the docks and she read him a charge." Burke said he would like to know who the Magistrate meet with and what were her instructions. "Her integrity as a judicial officer is at take here," he noted.

Declaring that free speech and democracy are under siege in Guyana, the CGID President dispatched letters to Caricom Heads of Government, the Organization of American States (OAS) and the United Nations (UN), calling for their intervention with a mission to Guyana to investigate what he called "Jim Crow" policies and the "Darfur syndrome" of ethnocratic governance and ethnic triumphalism in Guyana.

Burke observed that he is hard pressed to understand why the Guyanese people continue to accept this course of re-enslavement by the PPP and why Guyana's political opposition leaders allow this treacherous alternative to governance which is disastrous for the country.

He vowed to mount an unprecedented international campaign to tell the world the plight of Africans in Guyana. "They denied their fundamental democratic freedoms, chief of which is freedom of speech."

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