Call for Sanctions to be Imposed on Guyana

NY Caribbean body urges US to condemn PPP dictatorship in Guyana and impose sanctions, Says political crisis presages violence and threatens US national security interests

Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy (CGID)

Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy (CGID)

NEW YORK: The New York Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy (CGID) on Wednesday wrote to the White House and to US Secretary of State John Kerry calling on the Obama administration to condemn “the arbitrary and undemocratic suspension of Guyana’s Parliament by Guyana’s President Donald Ramotar.

The letter from CGID President, Rickford Burke, urged that sanctions be imposed on members of the ruling People’s Progressive Party (PPP) ‘ethnocracy.’ President Ramotar on November 10, abruptly prorogued Parliament to circumvent the passage of a no-confidence vote against his government. The motion was tabled by the opposition Parliamentary majority and was barreling through the House. Its passage was all but certain.

Under the Guyana Constitution, passage of a no-confidence motion immediately terminates the government and triggers new general elections. General elections are constitutionally due by November 2016. The panicked move by the embattled President prolongs his presidency for another six months but has suspended democracy in the South American nation.

Burke accused Ramotar of deliberately abrogating democracy and engineering a constitutional crisis so that he can rule by decree. He detailed “the Ramotar regime’s alleged involvement in nefarious criminal enterprises; widespread corruption; suppression of press freedom; protection of narcotics traffickers; extra-judicial murders and racial discrimination.”

These circumstances, coupled with the PPP regime’s protracted assault on democracy and obdurate refusal to hold constitutionally overdue Local Government Elections, deserve condign international condemnation and sanctions, the CGID President wrote.

Burke also zeroed in on a scandal that has engulfed Guyana’s Attorney General, Anil Nandalall. Nandlalll was recently caught on tape threatening to send gunmen to kill Kaiteur Newspaper reporters, as revenge against the paper’s relentless exposure of corruption and malfeasance involving the Attorney General and other high government officials.

“Revelations that Guyana’s chief law enforcement official is complicit in a contemplated act of public terror deserves global condemnation, particularly when the President and the government have refused to sanction Mr. Nandlall, and have instead expressed unqualified support for his lawlessness,” the institute contended.

The letter warned that the situation in Guyana can engender violence as the Guyanese society has deep ethnic fault-lines. It urged the US and the international community to act now “before internecine violence erupts and the PPP government begins killing political opponents, as it has done in the past.”

Burke argued that the United Nations documented the PPP’s facilitation of the extra-judicial murder of “over four hundred (400) young African-Guyanese men.” He added that the United States government is aware that members of the PPP regime had an alliance with a now US convicted narco-trafficker named Shaheed Roger Khan. Khan was recently convicted and sentenced to fifteen years in jail by a US Federal Judge in the Eastern District of New York (United States of America v. Shaheed Khan, case # 2009-cr-00150).

The US Justice Department presented evidence at Khan’s trial linking Guyana government Minister Leslie Ramsammy to Khan’s notorious death squad. Prosecutors presented testimony establishing that Ramsammy facilitated the procurement of eavesdropping and cell phone triangulation equipment for Khan’s gang to use to track and kill victims, and that journalist Ronald Waddell’s assassins reported to Ramsammy after shooting him.

Court witnesses testified that Khan called Ramsammy, who was Minister of health at the time, to inform him that Waddell had been shot and was being driven to the main government hospital in the capital City, Georgetown. Witnesses told the jury that Khan instructed Ramsammy to tell doctors at the hospital to “let him die,” referring to Waddell.

“In spite of his appalling criminal reputation, Mr. Ramsammy remains a minister of the Guyana government and continues to operate with impunity,” CGID posited.

Burke also informed the US officials that drug barons who are wanted by US Federal law enforcement agencies, for trafficking and distributing drugs in the US, currently operate in Guyana in plain view of President Ramotar and his government. He said the fugitives from US justice are not arrested because they ostensibly finance President Ramotar’s ruling PPP.

The CGID head said the situation in Guyana “portends a clear and present danger to US vital national security interests  and urged the “immediate consideration of sanctions, “including the freezing of the assets of the ruling clique, who, in spite of their notorious criminal enterprises, enjoy the acquisition and maintenance of assets and bank accounts here in the United States.”

8 comments

  • Editorial

    Guyana headed for dictatorship

    Wednesday, November 12, 2014     20 Comments

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    Guyana is a country where democracy has traditionally been weak; indeed, for long periods political manipulation has just barely masked some form of dictatorship.

    The history of Guyana shows a consistent unwillingness to accept the will of the people as expressed in free and fair elections. The root cause of the undemocratic tendency is the unabated tension between the two ethnic groups, the Afro-Guyanese and the Indo-Guyanese. This persistent, pandemic and virulent racism has become even more perverted and vicious because both tribes see control of the state as a means of distributing scarce benefits in a very poor country.

    This practice of racial exclusion from the scarce benefits derivable from the state spawns social and political polarisation.

    Guyana has a National Assembly which is a unicameral legislature of 65 members of which 25 members are elected from 10 constituencies by proportional representation and 40 members are chosen also on the basis of proportional representation from national lists named by the political parties.

    The president is elected for a five-year term on the basis of parliamentary elections which were last held on November 28, 2011. The president is not directly elected. At the time of elections each party presenting a slate of candidates for the assembly must designate a leader who will become president if that party receives the largest number of votes.

    http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Guyana-headed-for-dictatorship_17927375

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  • Right in our backyard and not even the loquacious minister Donville Inniss dares to open his mouth.

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  • John Hanson 1781-1782

    Donville Inniss cant talk nothing for he is a bigger crook,
    Barbados need to keep out of other countries business along with the entire Barbados DLP and BLP , ,Barbados house more dirty that Guyana could ever be, for a longer length of time and years,
    No matter what Guyana dont have to wait for food to be imported ,

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  • @ David
    Pots tend to be reluctant to call kettles black….

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  • There are many similarities in the political styles of Donald Ramotar and Freundel Stuart.Both have continued with the same cabinet members they inherited for their predecessor.Both say little or nothing to the electorate.Both allow members of cabinet to upstage them.Both allow ministers free rein to speak on any controversy that’s out there in the public domain.Both are avoided by investors.Both have a management style that turn off investors.Both avoid making significant earth shattering decisions when occasions so demand.Both have missed their calling.Both have sunk their ships of state.Both are destined to have a legacy of doing nothing to uplift the lower eschelons of their respective societies.Both have allowed corruption in cabinet membership to go unpunished.Both eat themselves to ill health,unfortunately, too slowly.

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  • General elections now, or shut the country down!

    President Donald Ramotar at a press conference yesterday said that in the next few days he will invite the combined opposition for “talks” on the way forward following his prorogation (suspension) of Parliament.”

    Mr. Ramotar heads a minority government. On November 10, he abruptly prorogued Parliament to circumvent the passage of a no-confidence vote against the minority PPP government. The motion was tabled by the opposition Parliamentary majority, and was scheduled for debate and passage that said day.

    Mr. Ramotar knew that its passage was all but certain. Hence, he deliberately suspended the Parliament; abrogated democracy and engineered a constitutional crisis, so that he can rule by decree.

    He consequently violated the democratic ethos and plunged our nation into one party rule, from which despotism and an insidious dictatorship have emerged. 

    The place for discussion and debate is the Parliament. Mr. Ramotar effectively emasculated Parliament in a desperate effort to silence the voice of the people’s representatives.

    Now he purportedly wants talks. Let me address Mr. Ramotar directly: Talks to discuss what? For a President who runs a minority government, your priorities are upside-down and your arrogance is appalling! Your supposed consultation with the Parliamentary “majority” should have been sought before you contemptuously and unilaterally prorogued the Parliament and stifled democratic expression. So take your invitation for talks and go fly a kite!

    I strongly urge Opposition Leader Mr. David Granger as well as AFC Leader Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan, and their respective parties, to summarily reject any invitation for talks from Mr. Ramotar or the PPP. The time for talking is over!  We’ve had enough. We need resolute action.

    The Guyanese people must reject Mr. Ramotar as an undemocratic leader and reject the tyranny of one party PPP rule. So too must the Caribbean region and the international community.

    The inescapable action we seek is general elections; be it as a consequence of a no-confidence vote by the majority in the Parliament, or by way of Mr. Ramotar himself realizing that he cannot hide from an inevitable reality, and must call early elections by “forced-choice.”   

    This is the bottom line: There must be general elections now or shut the country down!

    No 2015 budget. No useless, phony talks. No deals. No modus Vivendi!

    We want general elections, and we want them now. Plain and simple!

    Rickford Burke

    President, Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy (CGID)

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  • One has to give kudos to the T&T and Jamaica press for highlighting these types of issues.

    calm/Trinidad Newsday editorial: Keeping Guyana calm

    NOVEMBER 14, 2014 · BY STABROEK EDITOR · 6 COMMENTS NEXT ARTICLE »

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    THE SITUATION in Guyana is one with which all nations in the region should be concerned. Guyana is an important trading partner. Trinidad and Tobago, for instance, exported an estimated $1.1 billion worth of products to the country over the period 2007 to 2010 and for that period imported $596 million in products. Additionally, both governments have recently partnered on initiatives and incentives to reduce the food import bill and boost production, with plans to make large tracts of land in Guyana available to Trinidad and Tobago agriculturalists.

    The announcement that Guyana’s President has prorogued the country’s Parliament has provoked strong reaction. President Donald Ramoutar, 64, exercised his power under Article 70 (1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Guyana to issue a proclamation proroguing the Parliament. The Parliament will therefore not sit for a maximum of six months, though Ramoutar said he hopes to hold a sitting before that time if a consensus can be bridged with opposition parties.

    The move came in the face of a no-confidence motion tabled by a coalition of opposition parties which would have been successful since those parties hold a slender one-seat majority in Guyana’s unicameral legislature.

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