Oct 19, 2020 News
Kaieteur News – Leader of the Alliance For Change (AFC), Khemraj Ramjattan, is among 55 others who are currently wanted by the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) for spewing racially insensitive comments.
The ERC, yesterday, took to the four daily newspapers, issuing ‘Persons of Interest’ Notice, in which they illustrated the photos of 56 Guyanese, Ramjattan included, who are wanted for racially insensitive comments that were made on Facebook.
Ramjattan was a former Vice President and the Minister of Public Security, under the Coalition government.
One of the functions mandated under the Constitution of Guyana states that the ERC must investigate complaints regarding ethical discrimination.
With this in mind, the notice explicitly states that Ramjattan and the 55 others have until October 23 to contact the commission.
The ERC warned that failure or refusal to do so will result in the imposition of legal consequences without further notice.
Attempts to contact Ramjattan yesterday for a comment were futile.
Even while the ERC plans to take action against citizens who have uttered hate speech, the body refuses exercise their powers against ERC Commissioner, Roshan Khan.
During the mass protests on the West Coast of Berbice, which were ripple effects of the gruesome murders of teen cousins Joel and Isaiah Henry, Khan made a post on Facebook in which he urged East Indian residents in the area to arm themselves against protestors.
His full statement had said: “Indians in Berbice need to create their watch and protection groups. Equipped with batons and sticks for self-defense only. Be firm and clever but never be the aggressor. Protect minorities in your communities.”
The post was later edited to say: “In Berbice, Guyanese need to create their watch and protection groups. Equipped with batons and sticks for self defense only. Be firm and clever but never be the aggressor. Protect minorities in your communities.”
A slew of condemnation were targeted towards Khan’s statements on social media, with at least one online petition started calling for his removal or resignation. In addition, a number of persons would have written to the Central Islamic Organisation of Guyana (CIOG), with requests for the Muslim community to relieve Khan of his duties at the Commission.
The Leader of the Opposition, Joseph Harmon, had heavily condemned Khan’s statement, saying that his behaviour was unacceptable and he should be immediately removed from the ERC.
The ERC had sought to distance itself from his statement, as it indicated that the view of the Commissioner does not coincide with the ERC’s mandate to promote “harmony and good relations”.
Khan, however, has refused to resign, as he cited that he has a “purpose”.
ERC has been flexing its muscles in recent times, following the highly-charged March 2nd elections which saw delays for five months before Irfaan Ali was sworn in as the president.
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