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The Government of Guyana, via the Minister of Governance and Parliamentary Affairs, Ms. Gail Teixeira, had made known their feelings to some 20 plus United States (U.S)-based Guyanese organisations having discussions with United States (US) officials in a town hall event. The event occurred Sunday, October 30, 2022 in Brooklyn, New York.
At the event US officials were apprised of what the organisations referred to as racial and political discrimination by the government against African Guyanese and political opponents, police excesses, transnational repression crimes, and rights violation. US-based Guyanese were assured of the support of the various US officials of their rights and actions that should and would be taken to protect these. The organisations are also asking US officials to support them in ensuring all Guyanese, at home, are better treated by the government.
U.S Representative, Hakeem Jeffries, in his address, pointed out “[i]t’s very important that people of goodwill continue to stand up for the principle of equal protection under the law, the principle of liberty and justice for all, the principle of the preeminence of the rule of law, and the principle that racial injustice should not be tolerated anywhere in this world, including in Guyana.”
Ms. Letitia James, Attorney General of New York State in her address made known that:
“We believe that discrimination should be called out. We believe that racism should be called out. We try to call out class struggles as well and so all that I have to say is the following is that I again will along with my democratic attorney generals across the country will be calling upon DOJ (Department of Justice), as well as the Biden administration, to look into the allegations that have been put forth this evening.”
But in a statement issued by Teixeira, on October 31, purporting to represent the Government and People of Guyana, she lashed out at Mr. Rickford Burke, President of the Caribbean Guyana Institute of Democracy (CGID). GCID was one of the hosts of the event that had a capacity fill house. The minister accused Burke of running a “one-man-organisation [that] continues to spread racist propaganda” without providing the evidence to substantiate the claim.
Going further, Teixeira stated the event was “another Rickford Burke one-man-organisation orchestrated event to rehabilitate his discredited image after his attempt to extort $200M from a Guyanese businessman became public…and a sexual assault case in the USA” The minister did not provide evidence to substantiate the allegations.
In a blistering response, dated November 2, 2022, CGID said the organisation comprises hundreds of members and 18 board members. Denying Teixeira’s accusations of its president’s involvement in extortion and sexual assault, the body said the minister “has now earned the name of a washed-up comedian.”
The minister, in her statement, attempted to besmirch retired Assistant Commissioner of Police and former Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Mr. Paul Slowe, who was present at the event. She also took swipes at the US officials.
“Guyanese recognise the ‘Burkes’ and their types well and undoubtedly know that they are anti-progress, divisive and living in a time warp that the electorate put to bed on March, 2, 2022,” stated the minister. Burke fired back.
“Gail Teixeira is a washed-up relic of the PPP’s racist past…. [On October 31] she embarrassed all right-thinking Guyanese when she issued a venomous response to Sunday’s Guyanese Diaspora Town Hall meeting in Brooklyn, thereby invoking the PPP’s predictable tactic of black criminalisation. …Such visceral hatred for black people and boorish character assassination constitutes a brazen attack on every African Guyanese.”
The minister’s behavior “warrants universal condemnation,” said the organisation, but didn’t stop there. Mentioned in their statement were issues pertaining to the PPP’s government such as disparity in cash grant distributions, land allocation and removal, jobs losses, police excesses targeting the African community, threat to press freedom, management of oil revenue in favour of a selected few, among others. CGID used the evidence to assert the government has “not an inkling of humanity” in how they “manage the resources of Guyana” and vowed “they will continue to expose the rotten government and their surrogates” in order that the world will know what’s happening in Guyana.