The Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC), which investigates complaints of racial and other slurs, has criticized recent utterances of the leader of the Liberty and Justice Party, Lenox Shuman.
The comments were said to be made on June 25th, 2020, during a radio programme on Kaieteur Radio 99.1/99.5fm and also streamed on Facebook,
“His utterances have been reposted via social media numerous times and have exposed the ERC to hatred, contempt and ridicule. Such an attack against the Commission is defamatory in nature.
Any reasonable person hearing the words uttered by Shuman would come to the conclusion that his proclamations have brought the integrity of the Commission into disrepute,” the ERC said in a statement yesterday.
The Commission said the statements directed towards it are not only an untruth but it is the type of “sensationalism” which, during this tense election period, has had damaging repercussions against the execution of the constitutional mandate of the Commission.
“The Commission assures the public,” the statement noted, “that it takes pride in operating in the interest of what is just and fair and it is a reflection of safeguarding the concerns of all Guyanese. Its standard operational procedures exemplify impartiality and transparency.”
According to the Commission, it undeniably supports an articulate and free press which contributes to the good tenets of a democratic nation.
“It embraces the right,” the statement said, “to criticise persons in public office; however, that freedom of expression is not an unfettered right. It should not be exercised with a level of disparagement which exceeds criticising the conduct of those in public office and amounts to statements grounded in absolute falsehoods. The Commission takes umbrage in individuals making libellous statements in their personal bid to generate confusion in the interplay of politics and against the good will of the Commission.”
The commission said the LJP leader made damning imputations of corruption by the Chairman of the Ethnic Relations Commission and by extension, the Commission in its entirety. It was explained that the investigative sub-committee of the Commission embodies a mixed panel of professionals representing diversity of race, religion, gender, age and even political affiliation.
“Decisions made on behalf of the Commission,” the statement said, “are done collectively by the members of this panel and are not at the discretion of the Chairman of the Commission. Any unwarranted attack against the functions of the Commission is viewed as an attack against the restoration of peace and stability for our people.”
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