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Rickford Burke, a New York-based Guyanese political activist, has been targeted with trumped-up charges by the government of Guyana. The charges, which include extortion, sedition, and inciting public terror, are believed to be a campaign of harassment, intimidation, and character assassination against Burke. This action by the government is reminiscent of the murder of Courtney Crum-Ewing, who was killed while urging residents to vote in the 2015 elections. Crum-Ewing’s killer was identified as the personal bodyguard of Attorney General Anil Nandlall, who was subsequently implicated in the murder. This vendetta against Burke and the growing authoritarianism of the PPP-led administration in Guyana is a cause for concern.
The Guyana opposition has accused the government of trying to silence Burke, who is a well-known campaigner against racial discrimination, high-level corruption, human rights violations, and general lawlessness on the part of the PPP government. The coalition has defended Burke in his role as a conciliator and conflict resolver in a financial dispute. The government’s actions against Burke appear to be an act of revenge, intended to frame him by criminalizing his well-meaning intentions and actions.
The APNU+AFC, noting the evidence provided, has called on the US government to investigate this violation of the law and human rights as a crime of transnational repression and the abuse of the Cybercrime laws to suppress free speech and political dissent. The government’s attempt to silence Burke, who is based in New York, transcends Guyana’s borders and involves the repression of a Guyanese citizen in another jurisdiction. This act is a clear violation of international law and human rights.
The government of Guyana has issued a wanted bulletin for Burke, stating that he is wanted for questioning for extortion. However, the APNU+AFC has condemned the government’s action as a campaign of harassment, intimidation, and character assassination against Burke. The coalition has called on the US government to investigate this violation of the law and human rights.
The growing authoritarianism of the PPP-led administration in Guyana is a cause for concern by citizens, investors and the larger International community. The recent abusive tactics by the PPP destabilizes the country and makes the economy unsafe for investors. This obscene vendetta against Burke and the growing authoritarianism of the PPP-led administration in Guyana must be condemned, and the US government should investigate this violation of the law and human rights.