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“[Mr.]Bharrat Jagdeo is the worst type of hypocrite and is dangerous for Guyana” so said Mark Benschop, criminologist, and talk show host of the ‘Straight Up’ programme. Benschop was referring to a statement published on the People’s Progressive Party’s Facebook by its General Secretary, Bharrat Jagdeo. The statement reads:
“I urge any individual who is supportive of the People’s Progressive Party Civic (particularly those of Afro-Guyanese ancestry), who has been threatened or faced acts of bullyism by operatives of the PNC/APNU on any matter related to local government election, to make contact via 𝐓𝐞𝐥: [xxx-xxx-xxx]. I will 𝐏𝐄𝐑𝐒𝐎𝐍𝐀𝐋𝐋𝐘 ensure that every case is fully investigated by the relevant law enforcement agency and strong action is taken against those found culpable.”
Benschop said Jagdeo’s statement represents a threat to citizens by pretending to protect persons of African descent who may be supporters of the PPP, “many of whom were either forced or paid to put on a red t-shirt claiming to be supporters of the party.”
Jagdeo’s statement is another attempt to criminalise people of African descent and non-PPP supporters, and pit Africans against Africans which was evident in Linden on Nomination Day, said the talk show host.
The General Secretary’s statement that he will personally get the police involved in any reported claim about African supporters of the PPP being threatened “translates to putting the state security apparatus to go after opposition supporters, which is another form of harassment,” said Benschop.
He argued that people have their own right and conscience if they feel harassed to go to the police, but Jagdeo’s aim is to use the state to harass the people. “This is the same Jagdeo who viciously intimidates and harasses the Ramjattans and Nagamootoos who left the PPP. He called them all kinds of names like neemakaram, and endangered Indians and those persons’ lives.”
Jagdeo believes he owns the Indian votes, and these persons have no right to support another party, Benschop asserted. He cited the case of Ms. Latchmin Azeez, an Indian family from West Coast Berbice, whose family butcher shop was burned to the ground for showing public support to the A Partnership of National Unity and Alliance for Change during the 2020 General and Regional Elections.
Benschop believes Jagdeo has created the political climate of harassing people for their political choices and putting persons’ lives in danger for exercising their choice. “Jagdeo is trying to classify others in the same class as him and continuing to put people’s lives in danger.”
According to him, if Jagdeo was so concerned about African Guyanese he would have saved the lives of the hundreds of Guyanese, most of whom were Africans, who were brutally murdered under his government by state-associated death squads.
In any democratic society and court of credible justice Jagdeo would have been behind bars for his transgressions, the criminologist said, as he called on citizens to reject “Jagdeo’s threats.”