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…says persons spewing such will be prosecuted
President Irfaan Ali today warned against race baiting on the various social media platforms, warning further that those culpable would be held accountable in accordance with the laws of the country.
Already divided along racial lines, the recent murder of two Afro-Guyanese teenage cousins resulted increased tension in the country; sparking protest actions on the West Coast of Berbice, and later the East Coast of Demerara resulting in the death of two Indo-Guyanese males. The Guyana Police Force, though taking a total of seven persons into custody and releasing four, to date has not release details on the motive of the crimes as the investigations are continuing.
President Ali said he is saddened by the degree of race baiting, racial hate and racial hostility which pervades the social media platforms.
“I want you to know that it is my determination to do everything within my power and to use all the laws at my disposal, to put an end to this behaviour, which can only result in dividing our country and our people,” the president said.
Noting that the use of social media for the promotion of racial hate for political purpose is wholly unacceptable, President Ali iterated that it will not be tolerated by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration.
The Attorney General Anil Nandlall has been instructed by the President to ensure that the full force of the laws is employed and applied to those who pursue this criminal behaviour.
“I remind those persons guilty of this abuse of social media that freedom of expression guaranteed by our Constitution, as a fundamental right and freedom, does not relate nor extend to hate speeches or other expressions, in whatever form, capable of exciting hostility or ill-will against any person or class of persons. I further remind that such conduct, publications and utterances constitute grievous criminal offences under the Racial Hostilities, Cybercrime and other similar penal legislation and the State will not hesitate to resort to these provisions in our laws in appropriate circumstances,” the President stated.
In Guyana, persons can be prosecuted for offences under the Racial Hostility and Representation of the People Acts, as well as the country’s Cyber Crime Laws. The Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) has also be monitoring the situation as well and a number of persons have been asked to appear before the Commission for racial comments made on popular social media platform Facebook.