I am pleading with my country to protect me
In a conversation with Lincoln Lewis, Aubrey Norton, Dr. David Hinds and Sharma Solomon, I made the point that after Walter Rodney, I may be the second most molested victim of state oppression in post-independent Guyana. Of course, Mark Benschop went to prison for five years.
The targeting of me by state actors is relentless. I have requested that David Hinds arrange a meeting for me with the Opposition Leader. And I have asked Gerhard Ramsaroop to raise my situation with the AFC. I am hoping that other stakeholders like Red Thread, the Guyana Human Rights Association and the Private Sector Commission make a statement on what is happening to me and my family.
In 2010, I was attacked in the night and a bucket of miasmic substance thrown on me. No one can be so barefacedly foolish to think that state actors were not the prime conspirators. I could have been seriously harmed if that substance was tainted with violent viruses. I took an AIDS test the next month. In 2011 just before the national elections, my wife was hounded out of her job at GOINVEST, a state company.
She worked there for fourteen years. I wrote about this before and I accused then President, Mr, Jagdeo and Mr. Ramotar of involvement in what happened to her. I have the evidence. There was nothing secret about what they did to her. They didn’t hide their action. The Stabroek News has sought to interview me on exactly what transpired at GOINVEST. My response is that I will not do so until my wife gives me permission to go public. After all it is her story I will be talking about. I respect her views. She is a very private person that has no interest in politics.
My wife lost her pension because of the CLICO collapse. This was the deliberate targeting of my wife. A certain blog associated with the ruling party posted very scurrilous things about my daughter two years ago. This year, my contract at UG was terminated on January 18, two weeks before resumption of classes. My contract had five months more. I lost out on a salary that I used in paying my mortgage.
It is known all over Guyana because of the extensive coverage given by this newspaper that when the Ministry of Works cleared the long stretch of trench on the Railway Embankment, only the direct section outside my home was left with the bushes intact.
I live in a gated community next to CARICOM. All the residents there have voiced the opinion that the Government refuses to repair the horrible road because I will benefit. Peter Ramsaroop moved in a few houses from me and in a conversation told me that he understands that the road is left like that because of me.
Now, last Tuesday, I was informed by letter that I was cheating on my taxes because I have not declared what I get for my columns in the Kaieteur News. It must be remembered that I was ordered a year ago by the Guyana Revenue Authority to submit property taxes. The question that must be asked and needs to be asked is should I be afraid for my life. Is there another critic since Walter Rodney and the jailing of Mark Benschop that has been so singled out for political repression than me?
In the oppression of a human rights activist, the society must take into consideration the traumas it brings to one’s family. My daughter saw her father assaulted in 2004 and my car stolen and found just near to Kaieteur News. My daughter saw her father attacked with a stink substance in 2010. She saw mother chased out of her job. The next year she saw her father lose his job. Now we have this tax pursuit. My wife of course, like her daughter, has to endure all of this, and all because of me she became a victim. Where is this going to end?
How can this country stand by and allow this relentless persecution of me? Why is the state so obsessed with me? What am I doing that is more devastating to the state, the PPP and the Government than opposition politicians? Am I a superman that will single-handedly remove the PPP from power? And who says that I am engaged in activities to bring down the government. I am not. I am critic of the Government like so many others. I am a human rights activist like so many others.
I write an analytical commentary that the Government frowns upon. But there are pro-government commentators all over Guyana and I don’t see the opposition targeting them and harassing them. There is the Peeping Tom in this newspaper. He/she writes in favour of the state. My concern is for my life. Could one day this relentless pursuit of me, end in my murder?
It is something that logically I must reflect on. As the Sunday editorial of the Stabroek News asked; why couldn’t my contract be allowed to just run out its five months duration and then the Government was free not to renew it. Are we seeing an obsession with me? I will wait to see what the political parties and other stakeholders do over my cry here. In the meantime, I thank Aubrey Norton, Sharma Solomon, Dr. David Hinds and Lincoln Lewis for their promise of support. I end by asking my country to protect me.