At a Working People’s Alliance (WPA) symposium held yesterday, Professor Emeritus Clive Thomas spoke
profoundly about what it means for Guyana to have a sitting Attorney General who vehemently threatened an institution. In Dr. Thomas’ eyes, Attorney General Anil Nandlall’s actions have further descended the country into a criminalized state. Upon such basis, Dr. Thomas said that Kaieteur News (KN) is a victim of state terrorism.
The recently retired professor told this to approximately 150 persons who gathered at the National Library’s conference room. The event was a symposium that focused on “prorogation and its aftermath.”
Former Minister of Finance, Carl Greenidge and Attorney-at-law Christopher Ram also spoke at that event. But those two gentlemen centered their entire presentations on the effects and legality of prorogation and it being used as a political weapon.
Dr. Thomas, however, spoke on the promotion and degeneration of the criminal state, Guyana, which included points about the now infamous prorogation of Guyana’s Parliament.
But in speaking about the “criminal state,” Dr. Thomas indentified a lot with the “Nandlall recording.”
In his preamble, Dr. Thomas told the audience that there is a connecting thread to the ongoing narrative of multiple crises, economic contradictions, and threats of violence against government critics that Guyana faces in this era. He said that the many crises certainly include prorogation and its aftermath, as well as constitutional, political, legal, governance (ranging through ideology- actors –agency and ethics) and even socio-cultural ones.
Thomas said that the publication of the AG’s taped conversation with a KN reporter announces two gross deformations of the Guyana state which he said has never been so nakedly revealed to the Guyanese public through utterances from one of the State’s most senior political officials.
One of the two deformations is the AG’s invocation of threats of extra-judicial sanction against a newspaper “basically because it has been critical of the ruling PPP/C administration.” Thomas said that in this regard, “two particularly invidious features of this behaviour should be highlighted; namely, the exalted position the AG occupies in the legal profession, and the fact that there was a previous terroristic assault on KN and its staff in 2006.”
The second deformation pointed out by Thomas is the fact that “statements by the AG implicating the Presidency in the use of a state agency, GRA, in an intimidating and punitive way against persons and private businesses.”
In this regard, Dr. Thomas said that there is a “Nandlall-type version of the hubris-syndrome.”
The hubris-syndrome is a well acknowledged deviant political behaviour recognized in political science. It is said that Power causes the hubris syndrome. It speaks to a disorder of power and high office, particularly when power is associated with success and when minimal restraints are placed on the leader.
Thomas said that the ruling cabal, Peoples Progressive Party, has resorted to the use and threat of use of state terror as part of its political armory.
Dr. Thomas told the gathering that “Beyond its self-focused vanity, crassness, immorality, indecency, and vulgarity, the taped conversation reveals the AG (of all the political state officials and members of the PPP/C Executive) embracing language, which unmistakably indicates the likelihood of terroristic acts against persons and private businesses with the political objective of curtailing criticisms of the ruling PPP Administration.”
Thomas pointed out that the notion of state terrorism remains a hotly disputed one in the legal and political literature, but said that it is his considered belief that Nandlall’s invocation of extra-judicial sanction and violence added to threats and intimidation through the Guyana Revenue Authority against political critics. This, according to him, constitutes deliberate acts of state terror.
He said that this is so for four reasons, “If private individuals and or non-state organizations were to do the same, there would be little or no police hesitation anywhere in the world in investigating/apprehending those involved for terroristic activities.”
Further, Dr. Thomas posited that the legal office Nandlall holds must definitely be considered in evaluating his threat of violence and generation of fear he invoked for a political outcome.
KN, he pointed out, was the victim of a widely known terroristic attack in 2006, so that threats against it cannot be taken lightly.
Taken together, these items fulfill the essence of contemporary dictionary definitions of terrorism.
Nandlall on a profanity-laced recording was heard saying that there are plans afoot to kill “innocent people” working at Kaieteur News in reaction to the many exposing stories the paper has been carrying.
He was also heard admitting that he used taxpayers’ money for personal reasons. The Attorney General, in the recording referred to a female Kaieteur News reporter as a “lil thing” and
advocated for a relative of his to have an opportunity to have sex with her.
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