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“The Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy (CGID), Guyanese Organisations Against Racism (GOAR) and twenty-one other Guyanese Diaspora Organisations in the New York Tristate area will meet with Members of the United States [US] Congress as well as other elected leaders, government and law enforcement officials to address increased incidents of transnational repression crimes and attacks on Guyanese Americans in the United States by the PPP government and the Guyana Police Force.” So said a statement released by the named organisations.
The meeting is scheduled for Sunday October 30 at 5:00 p.m. and will be held at Woodbine Ballroom, 2281 Church Ave & Bedford Ave, Brooklyn NY 11226.
Members of Congress are expected to speak on a pragmatic US Foreign Policy Agenda with Guyana to promote democratic and inclusive governance and justice and adherence to the rule of law. And the US Justice Department, FBI, NYPD and the Brooklyn District Attorney are slated to address the theme, “Combatting Transnational Repression Crimes Targeting Guyanese Living In The United States.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on its website identifies transnational repression as illegal and happens “when foreign governments stalk, intimidate, or assault people in the United States.” According to the FBI, governments use transnational repression tactics to silence the voices of their citizens (or non-citizens connected to the country), get information from them, or coerce them to return home.
Last month the Guyana Police Force issued a Wanted Bulletin for CGID President, Mr. Rickford Burke, who is a US-based Guyanese. This is a second bulletin issued by the Force; the first being in November 2021. This police’s action attracted widespread criticism from organisations and citizens home and abroad. Burke, responding to the bulletin, said it signalled both the government and some in the Force are scared of him.
“They are scared of my advocacy and my influence in the US, Guyana and the Caribbean Region. They are hoping that this second Bulletin will criminalise me, diminish my influence and popularity, and silence me. They have severely miscalculated.” According to him, the government and police will have to kill him to silence him.
That incident may have either led to the upcoming forum or coincidental.
Organisers have accused the Guyana government and Police Force of joining with countries like Russia and Iran to target nationals living in the U.S who they consider to be dissidents. These countries have issued wanted bulletins and have used agents to harass and make death threats against US citizens and have even attacked Members of Congress who also speak out, they stated.
Anger in the Guyanese community is at a boiling point said the organisations as they accused the Government of Guyana and their agents of harassing Guyanese leaders in the US with character assassination campaigns, airport harassment, and giving out their home addresses and telephone numbers on talk shows, some of which have resulted in harassing telephone calls and death threats.
According to the organisers the forum is designed to assure the Guyanese American community the US will pursue justice for transnational repression against Guyanese.