The national silence on this appalling display of arrogance is nothing short of disgraceful
I deliberately held off writing on the issues being raised in this letter due to my sense of political responsibility and my desire to be objective and fair in my criticisms of the political and social forces in the society. I felt it was important to give the political players an opportunity to speak to the issue but, in the wake of the deafening silence from particularly the political opposition and civil society on a matter that is so fundamental to the so called emerging democracy, I am forced late as it is to intervene. It should be noted that except for the WPA, which issued a press release on August 21, 2012 (which incidentally was not given the light of day by any of the so called independent media houses) none, not one of the political opposition parties sought to intervene in this matter. This says something about the “champions of democracy”.
Dr. David Hinds recently made public several acts of harassment he and his family were subjected to as a result of his activism, before and during, the Linden crisis.
This letter is aimed at doing three main things (1) to express my solidarity with the Hinds’ family; (2) to endorse all the statements Dr. Hinds made in his address at the WPA sponsored public meetings at Stabroek Market Square and Buxton Line Top; I was present and also spoke on both occasions and I am in a very good position to say what was and was not said at those meetings; and (3) to denounce the public threats made to the lives of Dr. Hinds and the members of the leadership of the WPA.
I have, since its return to office in 1992, been paying rapt attention to the PPPC‘s behavior, in particular that party’s evolving political culture. During this period I have been examining the ruling party and government responses to political dissent by citizens.
I have concluded that the events describe d by Dr. Hinds are consistent in all respects with previous maneuverings of the regime and its agents, official and unofficial, against their political opponents. Guyanese are familiar with the recent and not so recent history of state and party repression and should therefore have no difficulty understanding what forces are involved in these acts of political intimidation.
Dr. Hinds informed us that his daughter has for some time, been receiving phone calls, telling her that they are aware that she is Hinds’ daughter and her father is an enemy of and a danger to the government. No right thinking Guyanese will believe that these constant phone calls to Hinds’ daughter are anything but the work of agents of the regime. It is well known, and this was stated very eloquently in Parliament on July by none other than Minister of Home Affairs, Clement Rohee, that opponents of the government including political activists, businesspersons, human rights activists and civil society elements are constantly under the microscope and by extension become victims of party/state harassment tactics.
Dr. Hinds has also revealed that his employers have received numerous emails from persons claiming to be representatives of the Guyana government who accused Hinds of plotting to kill the President and planning to overthrow the government of Guyana. Guyanese are politically, intelligent and are capable of weighing the pros and cons of issues before coming to political judgment. I am sure most Guyanese have rejected as asinine any suggestion that persons emailing Hinds’ employers are acting independent of the rulers. The PPPC regime’s record of applying overt and covert pressure on the employers of its political opponent at home and aboard is underscored in the Carl Greenidge and Dr. Richard Van West affairs. Greenidge’s contract with Caricom was not renewed as a result of then Minister Manzoor Nadir expressing to the Caricom Secretary General the Guyana Government’s displeasure with a statement Greenidge was purported to have made at the late Winston Murray’s funeral. Dr. Van West Charles, an employee of a foreign agency, was accused by the Guyana Government of doing political work in Guyana while being in the employment of that agency.
Hinds also stated that since his visits to Linden he was under constant scrutiny by the security forces.
His final revelation was that his home was broken into and two computers and a small quantity of jewelry taken away.
This is a very serious matter because it has very grave political implications. I deliberately decided to list it last, since on this issue because of the ongoing police investigations. However, in light of the above mentioned acts of harassment it is my estimation that it is highly unlikely this is a random incident.
Acting Commissioner of Police, Mr. Leroy Brumell’s utterances represent the worst example any chief of police operating in a civilized society can give to his officers. This gentleman was speaking after the fatal shootings of three citizens in Linden in which the police are claiming that weapons used in the killings were not those issued by the force.
Bearing in mind that those responsible for the shootings were in police and security forces uniforms and were in the unit responsible for attacking the peaceful protesters, to all appearances this indictment of his force’s professionalism seems not to be of any concern to the acting top cop.
Rather than spend quality time trying to apprehend the “alleged” infiltrators of his force on that fateful day, his priority seems to be focused on the issuing of threats to the opponents of his political masters.
Given the fact that his force has been accused of grave human rights abuses one would expect that the Commissioner would be mindful of what he and his officers’ say in public in relation to the police’s handling of protest actions. Does Mr. Brumell really believe that the most recent execution of young Shaquille Grant in Agricola on Tuesday, August, 11th is not a direct spin off of his reckless comments and behaviour? It is my strongly held opinion that Leroy Brumell has demonstrated that he is not fit to lead the Guyana Police Force.
The national silence by the political and civic forces on the appalling display of arrogance, political partisanship and unprofessional behaviour of the acting Commissioner of Police is nothing short of disgraceful and is something we will regret for the rest of our lives.
It will be recorded in the annals of our history as a critical moment when political opportunists and cowards failed to stand up and defend the people against the ruthless political forces and their allies.