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
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.”