Protest over “racist” article moves to Finance Ministry
The protest against the recently published editorial in the Guyana Chronicle, that denounced black youths, yesterday moved to the Ministry of Finance.
Social activists said that they saw it fit to protest the office of Juan Edghill, Minister within the Ministry of Finance, because of his statement indicating that the said editorial is factual and that there is evidence to support such.
The group said that it is calling on the Minister to produce such evidence to support his statement.
They voiced that as a “supposed religious leader”, Edghill should not condone or moreover support such statements as the Bible promotes love, unity and equality as opposed to racial segregation. Further, as a public servant, “he shouldn’t get caught in such a web.”
They said that what is strange is that Edghill is also a man of African descent; and by supporting the editorial, he is in turn essentially saying that he also has a hatred for Indians.
Since the editorial was published, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Chronicle, Keith Burrowes, has issued an apology. However, the immediate management of the Chronicle is yet to issue a statement in the same vein.
The demonstrators said that the article indirectly gives permission for black youths to be gunned down or jailed without a cause since “they are out to kill Indians” .Further, “it has the potential to cause racial tension”.
The demonstrators said that they also wish for the female writer of the article “whose identity we know” to be sacked for her racial “views because her statements are by no means factual.
A Partnership for National Unity (APNU)’s David Hinds said that if he, as a black man, had made such a statement pertaining to Indians, “The Heavens and Hells would have been ready to criticize.” He said that policies should have been in place to debar such articles from being published. He said that it is part of a global bill to put down black people.
“We have to stand up for our youths. We don’t want an apology. We want to see these people brought before the necessary authorities.”
Social activist Mark Benschop said he is appalled that none of the Opposition Leaders has made a public statement to denounce the editorial, and called on both to have their say.
Alliance for Change’s Gerhard Ramsaroop, said that with all the government is faced with including corruption, resignations and scandals, it has resorted to its “oldest trick in the book, and that is the race card.” He said that the administration has been encouraging “gutter journalism” for too long and it must stop.
Columnist and social activist Frederick Kissoon cited the findings of the last census which showed that 75 percent of the Guyanese population is aged below 35. He said considering that, and the fact that the Indian population is just eight percent more than Africans, it means that the article is saying that a sizeable percent of the Guyanese population is violent.
Kissoon said that it is a depressing signal that the Minister of Information (the President), to this point, has not seen it fit to sanction about such an issue.
He added that for Edghill as a Cabinet Minister to make such a statement as aforementioned is appalling and brings the CARICOM assessment of this country into focus.
“This is why CARICOM is losing respect for us. When these kinds of hate messages are promoted…if he can go on record to say that black youths hate Indian people and want to kill them for their wealth then Guyana is gone, completely gone.”
Kissoon said that APNU should be reminded that the majority of persons who voted for them are of African descent and would be affected by the editorial. “They are watching and listening, they wouldn’t forgive the APNU.”
The general opinion at the protest was that the silence of “Black elites and political leaders” shows that either they are fearful to speak out against such statements or they condone the same.
“All they want to do is win the votes of black youths, but don’t care anything about them thereafter.
On Monday last, the group staged a symbolic burning of the Chronicle newspaper at the Square of the Revolution.