Government’s Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira, has responded to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights,
(IACHR) which had ordered the current administration to provide within 15 days, measures it will take to provide protection to Kaieteur News publisher Glenn Lall and staff.
Guyana is a member of the IACHR. The order stemmed from a report to the commission by Attorney-at-Law, Christopher Ram, following the release of a telephone recording between Attorney General Anil Nandlall and Kaieteur News senior reporter, Leonard Gildarie.
It had said, “After analyzing the factual and legal arguments put forth by (Christopher Ram) the commission considers that the information presented demonstrates prima facie that the members of Kaieteur News journal are in a serious and urgent situation since their lives and personal integrity face an imminent risk of irreparable harm.”
Dr. Luncheon was asked yesterday whether Government responded to the Commission. He said that the Presidential Advisor did indeed advise Cabinet that the required submission had been provided to the Commission.
The Cabinet Secretary did admit that the content of that submission was not a matter that was deliberated on at the level of Cabinet. Notwithstanding, he said that it is reasonable to assume that in the case of such governance matters, the Presidential Advisor on her actions generally, is fully supported by Cabinet.
Dr. Luncheon said that there is no doubt that the submission of the Guyana’s response to the IACHR which took place under Teixeira’s watch is likely to be posted on the Commission’s website, if not then it will be posted on the website of the Office of the President.
The Head of the Presidential Secretariat was asked if on any level he was apprised of the nature of Teixeira’s response, to which he said, “People don’t ask Gail too many questions comrade. I didn’t want to say it that way but indeed …nobody questions Gail with regard to her contributions on these matters so she just announced that Guyana has through the Ministry of Foreign affairs, submitted the response.”
The Commission had said that, given that the present precautionary measures have been granted without having
previously requested information from the State, it will review this decision once it receives reports from both parties.
The Commission informed Guyana that it must adopt the necessary measures to protect the lives and personal integrity of (Glenn Lall, Adam Harris and Leonard Gildarie); agree on the measures to be adopted with the beneficiaries and their representatives; and report on the actions taken to investigate the alleged facts that gave rise to the adoption of this precautionary measure in order to prevent their repetition.
The IACHR had also stated that the requirement of seriousness is met, in light of the alleged threat expressed against the lives and personal integrity of the Kaieteur News personnel, within the framework of their right to freedom of expression.
The commission noted, “In particular, the information presented suggests that the purported threat was oriented toward preventing the members of Kaieteur News from freely exercising their role as journalists, related to a series of reports on corruption cases, among other issues, which allegedly affected high ranking officials within the Government.
“In addition to the purported threats, it is worth mentioning that the IACHR Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression closely followed up the situation of freedom of expression and of reporters in Guyana, and condemned the reported murder of workers from Kaieteur News in 2006.
“Moreover, concerning the purported context of violence against reporters in Guyana, the allegations presented appear to be consistent with recent information received by the IACHR in that regard.”
The Commission had noted that it considers prima facie that the rights to life and personal integrity of the three identified members of the Kaieteur News journal face a situation of risk.
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