The Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) has registered its disgust at Mr. Charles Ramson’s description of members
of the Guyana Police Force as “big monkey…, six foot seven, people.”
The statement was reportedly made by Ramson before the Walter Rodney Commission of Inquiry (CoI) hearing on Monday.
It was carried by Stabroek New article in its November 4, edition under a story entitled, “PPP had requested extradition of Gregory Smith – Ramson tells Rodney CoI”.
While the statement was not met with any objection from those participating in the COI, it did not escape the attention of the GTUC.
Ramson, who served two separate terms as Attorney General, is currently the Commissioner of Information.
The umbrella trade union body in a press release issued yesterday, said that although Ramson is known for “uncouth conduct”, as a public office holder, such uncouth behaviour that borders on racism is not only unacceptable for his office, but shows blatant disregard for those tasked with the responsibility of Service and Protection.
The GTUC said that Ramson’s statement shows how little regard he has for the taxpayers’ dollars that he receives and for a section of the population.
“The GTUC takes serious and strong objection to Ramson’s statement. GTUC calls for public condemnation of this statement made by Mr. Ramson and for an apology to the Guyanese community, the people of African lineage and the Guyana Police Force,” the GTUC declared.
According to the GTUC, members of the Guyana Police Force are predominantly of African ancestry. “Mr. Ramson knows the significance of his descriptive terminology and likely impact of such terms when he uses them to describe members of the GPF. These terms are racist and dehumanizing. They are used to marginalise, discredit and destroy,” said the GTUC.
“Charles Rishi Ramson, notably, is publicly doing to a section of the Guyanese population what Janet Jagan did in her pictorial representation of the premier African Leader in her Children’s book…This sort of linguistic dehumanisation has been one Africans have had to live with for centuries.”
The GTUC said that while it has not seen the actual recording of Mr. Ramson’s presentation, it is hoped his slight would have been noted by the erstwhile Commissioners, Counsel for the Commissioners, the Rodneys, WPA, PNC and all, who were present.
It noted that questions about sensitivity learning and commitment to social progress and evolution are raised when in the 21st century, a public officer is allowed to stand before an international commission of “well reputed” and “learned” members of the judiciary and leaders in society and not be reprimanded for such descriptive accounts by those present.
The GTUC added that it brings disrepute not only to Charles Ramson but also to the Commission, those present and all Guyanese.
“These same persons would not dare do this or allow this to happen in the developed world.”
The GTUC noted that since monkeys are of all shapes, sizes and colours, those who use such descriptive terms for others, can themselves fit neatly in some part of the spectrum.
According to the GTUC, under the Forbes Burnham administration, physical criteria were removed for recruitment in the Guyana Police Force. This followed the visit by the International Commission of Jurists in 1965 after accusations by then Minority Leader, Dr. Cheddi Jagan, that the Force was racially unbalanced, a position that Burnham inherited but was blamed for and which to date, almost 50 years hence and under successive PPP administrations, before and after independence, remains largely so.
The GTUC said that it is unfortunate that Charles Ramson, in bearing witness to what he thought transpired during the period under review by the COI, could not rise to the occasion and suppress his bile.
The GTUC is therefore calling on the Commissioners to expunge this racist, dehumanising reference made by Charles Ramson from its record.
The body urged the Commission to be on guard for those who will use the COI to add to the disrespect of a large section of the Guyanese community and the already racially and politically charged environment.
“Opinion statements made by witnesses that border on racial attacks cannot constitute good evidence before any august body,” the GTUC stated.
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