Yesterday, in part, I addressed the contention that the murder of the Henry brothers was a case of race-hate. I argued that the evidence was not there, as yet, to establish a motive of racism.
I noted those who are claiming a motive of racism, base their position in an invalid argument. Their reasoning is as follows: 1) Two African youths from an African area are found dead in an East Indian village; 2) Therefore, it means that they were killed by either a person or persons of East Indian descent; 3) And therefore their deaths were acts of racism.
I will now show how the original argument is invalid.
We know that 1 is factual. But the fact that 1 is factual does not imply 2. In other words, the fact that the bodies were found in an Indian village does not automatically mean that they were killed by an Indian person. It is like saying that because a dead body was found in Georgetown that the murderer has to be from Georgetown.
You can’t assume that fact without additional evidence. There may be reason to believe that, but it is an invalid argument.
But assuming that 2 is true – that is assuming that the persons or persons who did the killings were indeed from the Indian village and were Indian – it again does not automatically follow that the motive was race-hate. More evidence is needed to validate this contention.
The evidence, therefore, is not yet there to arrive at the conclusion that this was a race-hate crime. But the political instigators who went to No.3 village have made it their duty to subtly suggest such a link. Invoking the right to self-defense implies that an entire group is being attacked and must defend themselves. Telling persons who are blocking the public road that they are doing the right thing condones actions which impede the free movement of others. And this has led to the escalation of the violence, including savage attacks on innocent persons, the destruction of property and now the death of one person.
So let me repeat why I felt the argument of racism is not yet valid. It does not follow that because bodies of the African teenagers were found dead in an Indian area, that they were killed by either a person or persons of Indian descent. But even assuming that they were, it does not automatically follow that racism was the motive for the killings.
One lawyer had suggested that race hate could be inferred from the gruesome nature of the injuries. But as I pointed out, the sort of barbarism which was meted out to these youngsters is not unique to race-hate crimes.
It could well be that it will be eventually established that the motive for the deaths is racism. But until the evidence is produced, there can be a theory or a suspicion to this effect but no definitive conclusion.
Not only is it unfortunate what was done to these young men but also what has happened in West Berbice since then. Persons were not being attacked on Sunday night. But following a visit to the area by political instigators, the protests turned ugly and persons began being attacked, vehicles damaged, arson has been committed and two persons are now dead.
The protests have been criminalized. And sadly, extreme forms of violence are being used. Persons are trapped in villages and cannot get to their homes or destinations and they are at the mercy of marauding youngsters who are robbing and beating them.
This has happened before. During the protests at Bath during the elections, persons were robbed en route to their homes and destination. It is happening again.
One of the lessons of the past is that the local security forces cannot guarantee a safe corridor. The security forces have always found it difficult to establish a safe corridor. In fact, there are reports of persons who were robbed in the presence of the very security forces.
And therefore the best thing for persons to do is to not try to undertake any travel which is not essential. This will make it easier for the police to help those trapped by the protests make their way home. However, there are persons who are still attempting to get pass the protests. This will make the work of the police difficult.
These protests will eventually end. Life will return to normalcy. At the end of it, a Commission of Inquiry should be launched. It will only be then that the full extent and gravity of the atrocities committed are going to be made known.
And, hopefully those who committed murder will be brought to justice. And those who fanned the flames of the unrest and instigated violence, are going to be publicly exposed and face the lawful consequences.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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