Thursday, March 27, 2008

US law enforcement investigates threats by Guyanese

The The Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy (CGID) has written to US federal law enforcement officials about a pattern of threats to its president, Rickford Burke, including numerous alleged death threats, by supporters of Guyana's ruling People's Progressive Party (PPP). CGID has been critical of the Jagdeo administration in Guyana.

A CGID statement issued on Tuesday fingered PPP advisor, attorney-at-law, Randy Depoo, a resident of Trinidad and Tobago. Depoo reportedly once worked for the US State Department.

On December 11, 2007, Depoo is alleged to have sent an email to Burke's office that read "I am in Guyana armed, ready … and waiting for the likes of Rickford Burke." The email was reportedly sent in response to an article Burke wrote, titled "Torture, bloodshed and ethnic exclusion in Guyana."

CGID says it has notified the Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago.

The Institute also placed the spotlight on a website managed by Mohammed A. O. Ishmael, the son of PPP official and Guyana's ambassador to Venezuela, Odeen Ishmael. CGID observed that it had previously received dozens of complaints about hate and bigotry churned out by the site but became aware of its advocacy through a police official.

CGID said that on February 22, 2008, at 09:07 am, a member of the site's political discussion forum, who goes by the alias "The Blade Runner," posted a coded message calling for Burke to be killed after he wrote to the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago urging that he seeks an assurance that equipment T&T was sending to Guyana to help fight crime, would not be surreptitiously passed to death squads and drug lords, ostensibly aligned to the government, as has happened in the past.

Law enforcement authorities were informed of the post and notified Burke. A similar post appeared in 2005, stating "Its time to give Burke the silver bullet" after the Institute met and briefed officials of the US State Department on then Minister of National Security, Ronald Gajraj's alleged involvement in a death squad. He was later forced to resign but was never prosecuted.

CGID also referred to Dr Tara Singh of the Indian Caribbean Council, who it claimed is a proponent of an agenda of hate and contended that "Tara Singh has engaged in hate speech and attempts at intimidation. He appears to be a sannyasin fundamentalist who openly spews Indian supremacy, a manifestation of which is his place in the leadership of a fundamentalist group."

"This brand of fundamentalism, which has become ensconced in the governance of Guyana, converges into the mold of the wider movement of international fundamentalists that requires monitoring by law enforcement," CGID said.

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