Attorney General Anil Nandlall has sought to distance himself from suggestions that he was aware of a planned
attack on Kaieteur News, when he was recorded in a profanity-laced conversation with a reporter from this newspaper.
But his claim now leaves more questions than answers. Nandlall on Tuesday evening issued a public statement seeking to distance himself from the assertions by saying “I wish to state clearly and unequivocally, that I am unaware of any planned violence or extra-judicial sanction against any individual journalist or any newspaper.”
However on the now infamous audio recording that has gone viral on social media and news outfits, Nandlall was overheard telling the reporter “I told Adam (Harris), I said Adam people got weapons right, is not newspaper they gonna use as a weapon they got weapons and when you continue attack people like that and they have no way of responding they gun just walk with their weapon into that same f**king Saffon street office and wha come suh do and innocent, Peter gun gah pay fuh f**king Paul in deh one day, me ah tell you innocent, me a tell you honestly man to man that will happen soon.”
In reference to his relative, whom this newspaper had reported on regarding the importation of a luxury Mercedes Benz SUV, Nandlall went further to tell the reporter “you know who is Kamal Mangal? The man look stupid, one bald head f**king poor man. You know who da man is? Must find out wha da man own and what he could do with one phone call. Alyuh nah know who alyuh a deal with. I had to hold back that man.”
Nandlall in his explanatory statement which was issued on Tuesday was adamant that the conversation he was having was with someone “I have known for a very long time and that took place in the context of mutual trust, confidence, informality and indeed, was a friendly banter.”
In that ‘friendly’ banter, Nandlall told the reporter, “My first advice to you is that you should move out of there… it is a dangerous f**king place to work, is a dangerous place…read between the lines. This thing not going to go on for long, people not going to tek this thing just so. Is a lot of powerful people that this man…Wait, nobody never used to bother with he before right and he used to getaway, get through with all wha he publishing but people get, people get sensitive now.”
Even before issuing his statement seemingly in defence of his actions, none other than the President of the Guyana Bar Association, Ronald Burch-Smith, though speaking in his personal capacity at the time, told this newspaper it is high time that the Attorney General or his employers come out and clarify the expletive-laden statements which speak to violence against the Kaieteur News and its staff.
Burch-Smith, an Attorney-at-Law, told this publication that based on the contents of the audio recording, it appears that the Attorney General, may know of persons who are contemplating violence against this publication.
The Guyana Bar Association was then joined by the Guyana Women Lawyers Association in condemning the actions of the Minister and stated publicly that in the recording, “the Attorney-General offered in vulgar and obscene language, knowledge of actual and planned illegal activities.”
His assertions speaking to a violent act befalling Kaieteur News did not escape a former Commissioner of Police, now Parliamentarian in the opposition benches, Winston Felix.
Speaking at a recent press engagement, Felix told reporters, the recently exposed audio recording, points to a man who obviously knew of an imminent crime and did not reveal it to persons in authority.
Felix said that Nandlall, a person in his office with his training and experience, ought to know that if a crime or a potential crime comes to his attention then he needs to report it to the proper authorities so they can take action.
“Thank God for how things played out. I don’t know what would have happened in Saffon Street,” said Felix.
Gildarie, the reporter at the centre of the brouhaha along with Nandlall, has since expressed a fear for his life and that of his family.
Observers have now claimed that for the Attorney General to adopt the position he has now, makes him a disingenuous person.
Even the International Press Institute (IPI) had recognized in Nandlall’s words, as heard in the recording, an element of violence intimated against this publication.
IPI Press Freedom Manager Barbara Trionfi in expressing solidarity with the Guyanese media community, at the time said, “The safety of journalists is an extremely serious matter and we are deeply troubled by the alleged contents of this recording.”
“Insofar as these comments risk giving the impression that violence is an appropriate response to unfavourable media coverage, such statements have an impact far beyond the individual newspaper in question: they place all of Guyana’s journalists in danger.
“The Government of Guyana should focus now on making it clear that violence against the press will not be tolerated, and on reassuring the international community that it takes its responsibility to protect Kaieteur News staff and all other media practitioners in the country seriously.”
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