Nov 01, 2009 News
…as Ramotar says his party does not condone it
By Gary Eleazar
Torture is commonly defined as any act whereby severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person, information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.
Guyana is a signatory to the United States Convention on Torture but in recent years, despite many instances that could be readily deemed as torture the administration has consistently denied.
One instance was even described as roughing up by a Government Minister.
Ranks of the Guyana Police Force are now being accused of burning the midriff, upper thighs and penis of a 14-year-old teenager during an interrogation.
More so, the Guyana Police Force waited for five days before the lad was allowed to seek medical attention but only after the ploy was exposed.
Donald Ramotar, General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party which forms the greatest faction of the Government, yesterday refrained from commenting fully on this latest allegation of torture save and except that his party does not condone torture for interrogations or for any other reasons.
Alliance for Change Chairperson, Khemraj Ramjattan, said that this incident is a clear case of torture and that now is the time that the international community take action as it relates to the numerous allegations of torture in Guyana.
The AFC leader, Raphael Trotman, in his remark said that his party was outraged that one human being could do such a thing to another. This is symptomatic of the broken nature of the security system in Guyana.
He stated that it is all the more reason why the nation needs the Security Sector Reform.
According to Trotman, the force appears to have barbaric ranks who thought that their superiors would have covered for them and that the party is holding the Commissioner of Police personally accountable in ensuing that the guilty ranks be charged and placed before the courts.
Recently People’s National Congress Reform Leader, Robert Corbin, had to defend one of his colleagues, Deborah Backer, after she was referred to a Parliamentary Committee of Privileges over remarks that she made during a sitting of the National Assembly as it relates to torture by ranks of the Guyana Defence Force.
According to Corbin, there is credible evidence of torture by ranks of the Guyana Defence Force when Guyana is a signatory to International Convention against torture.
The ranks of the Guyana Defence Force are being sent to Trinidad and Tobago as part of a treaty arrangement between CARICOM members to ensure regional security.
According to Corbin, it was in that context that Backer made her statement as it relates to arrangements being put in place to ensure that ranks implicated in torture allegations are not sent as ambassadors of Guyana.
He said that were Backer’s comments deemed offensive and are found to be in contempt by the Parliamentary Committee of Privileges, then the entire PPPC parliamentarians need to be referred to that committee for verbal infringes they have made in the past.
He stated that the action by the ruling party was ludicrous and that the PNCR vigorously opposed the strategy.
At last Thursday’s sitting of the National Assembly, Dr. Singh moved that Shadow Home Affairs Minister, Backer, be held in contempt of the National Assembly.
He applied to the Speaker of the House to refer the matter to the Committee of Privileges.
Dr. Singh called on the House to deem some remarks made by Backer to be offensive and condemned.
At a previous sitting of the National Assembly, during the debate on a motion to have members of the Joint Services deployed to Trinidad and Tobago for the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government conference, Backer said that the People’s National Congress was worried that members of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) would go to the Twin-island Republic to “torture people.”
There is also the case of Mitchell Thomas who gave a formal statement to the Police detailing how he was placed in an ant nest by ranks of the Joint Services Operating Group.
Troy Small, called Cats, was also subjected to a severe thrashing by law enforcers.
Visibly battered, shaking uncontrollably and unable to walk, ‘Cats’ when released from the Alberttown Police Station was immediately rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation for medical attention.
Small, an alleged victim of torture at the hands of men believed to be members of the Guyana Defence Force, was released on $10,000 after spending two days and nights at the Alberttown Police Station where he was dumped. Small was a suspect in the arsonist act that flattened two buildings housing the Ministry of Health on Brickdam.
There are also the cases of allegations of torture against Patrick Sumner, Victor Jones, Michael Dunn, Alvin Wilson and Sharth Robertson among others.
The opposition has long promised to move to the international community, namely the United Nations, International Human Rights Institutions and the Organisation of American States (OAS) among others in a quest for justice for torture victims in Guyana.
“This silly pretext that it was just roughing up when there have been deaths is ludicrous,” said Chairman of the Alliance for Change, Khemraj Ramjattan. “We have to carry the motion to the United Nations. We have to support the PNC on this motion.”
A motion titled ‘Allegations of torture made against the Joint Services of Guyana’ was defeated in the National Assembly by the ruling party despite staunch opposition.
The government benches dismissed the motion as irrelevant, given that all of the resolve clauses were already catered for.
Further, the government side argued, the motion was riddled with allegations.
The motion that was tabled sought to have the House call on the government to honour its treaty obligations under Article 12 of the United Nation’s Convention against torture and establish an impartial and independent Commission to examine and investigate the allegations of torture made against the Joint Services in Guyana.
Leaders prostituting Guyana
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