Buxton is a Terror Camp

by Andaiye, David Hinds, and Eusi Kwayana

The willful and malicious setting on fire of a human body is an aggravated crime against humanity. Treating women as a prize of armed conquest, either by rape or attempted rape, is an especially odious crime against the mothers of the human race and against humanity. Both these offences were carried out recently at Non Pareil, East Coast, Demerara. The reports so far are not very clear, but what is already clear is that most of those assaulted were Indian Guyanese. In the past, each of us has made statements condemning African Guyanese atrocities against Indian Guyanese, and we condemn them even more strongly now, as the violence becomes more brutal.

A similar though less brutal violence has begun to spread to African Guyanese victims. We warned before that in the end, crime and violence know no race. This is coming to pass. In recent weeks the violence has taken on added proportions as African Guyanese are being targeted. While it is difficult to distinguish naked crime from political violence, we think that there is a political element in all of this. Today, African families and communities are also becoming victims of the madness that is consuming Guyana. And according to news reports and eyewitnesses, a few Indian Guyanese criminals are operating out of Buxton under the leadership of their African Guyanese counterparts.

Illegal weapons are playing a large part in the upsurge of brutal violence. Only the government of the country can have final and operational responsibility for the presence of illegal weapons among a population. After all is said and done, these weapons have crossed borders or passed through ports to enter Guyana. The government has official custody of these transit centres.

Yet in spite of the progressive increase in gun-related crimes, the statute books remain as they were. There are provisions which are not being invoked. In fact, the public has no evidence that the police know for certain what ammunition or what weapons were used on a particular occasion. If they do, they are silent about these details, which can help the public to make sense of the incidents. This part of the statement focuses on the government, not because those signing it have any doubt of the anti-government direction of the crimes. It has that focus because the government and its agencies can take certain actions:
1. There must be arms control regulations crafted to suit the present situation.
2. An expert voice from the law enforcement agencies must frequently address the offenders in the hearing of the nation. Law enforcers can offer options to those who know they are offenders, including the option of a fair trial under international observation.
3. Through the law and the parliament, if the situation does not improve, the Government should admit that it is out of hand. After meaningful consultations with opposition forces and civil society, it should apply standard coercive regulations necessary to prevent the country from sliding knowingly into the abyss.

These are the short-term actions we recommend. The PPP has erred badly in the way it has governed since 1992, which has impacted negatively on almost all sectors of the society, but in particular ways, most negatively on the already demoralized African Guyanese community. In relation to the violence perpetrated by the Black Clothes against African Guyanese, its failure to act has fueled the claim of an Indian Guyanese conspiracy against African Guyanese. We have long called for power sharing as one of the answers to our problems. We still believe this to be essential. But we distance ourselves unequivocally from any scheme aimed at arriving at power sharing as a result of the calculated escalation of violence. There are at least three reasons why we must oppose the view held by some African Guyanese extremists that violence is pushing or will push the PPP away from its obstruction of peaceful constitutional remedies:

First, it is immoral. Why should innocent people have to endure daily terror and rape and young people be turned into child-soldiers and spies in order to bring a government to its senses?
Second, it cannot hold water, since the more the violence, the more the PPP claims that there is no crisis in the country. Third, the naked violence and inter-ethnic violence have already created a climate in which people are unwilling to trust one another and thus will be unwilling to seriously address sharing of power, which is so essential for human development in Guyana. Because of this we have an additional reason for opposing the present violence. If the situation continues, by the time we get to power sharing there will be no power to share, as political parties would be prisoners of violent extremists, criminals, and drug lords.

Today Buxton is a terror camp in which villagers have become prisoners. The psychological, social and cultural damage being done to that village surpasses anything since slavery, including the dreaded 1960s. Both the PPP and the PNC must take full responsibility for that deterioration, for it is their zero sum political behavior that paved the way for the boldness of the criminal and other extreme elements who now run things there. We warn that if the situation is not brought under control, more Buxtons will emerge overnight. The PNC, by not publicly breaking with those who have been pushing Black supremacy and violence and excusing murder, rape, and mayhem as revolution, has contributed in no small way to the crisis. This is no longer simply about politics and "marginalization", it is about the destruction of the nation in the name of saving the nation or under the guise of seeking power for African Guyanese.

We therefore appeal to all Guyanese who still have the courage to speak out, to do so with one strong voice. We urge the PPP and the PNC to separately and together come off their partisan horses while it is still possible to do so and help to save Guyana. As African Guyanese we urge Black People who are supporting the violence to stop confusing naked terror with our historical quest for freedom; and we urge Black people who mutter quietly that they oppose the violence to say so in a loud voice, because your public silence is encouraging the perpetrators of the violence and adding insult to the injury caused to the victims of the violence. Any freedom that any group seeks through the rape and murder of its fellow citizens, including some of its own race, can never be real freedom.


Buxton: Your Cause is "Just"-Hoyte

(as reported by Stabroek News, 10/12)

PNC/R leader Desmond Hoyte told Buxtonians on Thursday that their cause is just and denied criminals are being harboured in the village. Hoyte was speaking during a meeting in the village called by the PNC/R on Thursday evening. Also present was Chairman of the Buxton/ Foulis NDC Randolph Blair who told the crowd that their village is under occupation by the army and they must "liberate" themselves.

According to Blair the villagers, would not allow it to become part of Camp Ayanganna, the GDF headquarters. He urged his villagers to "liberate" themselves from the occupational force of the GDF ranks. Hoyte asked the crowd to observe a minute of silence for Clyde Duncan, whose body was discovered in a trench in Buxton three Fridays ago. Hoyte said he "was murdered not far from here. The security forces know that he was murdered and you know the man who murdered him, but they have put out a press release saying that Duncan was part of a gang who fired at them, we know that that is a lie." Many Buxtonians believe Duncan was shot and killed by members of the GDF who have been patrolling Buxton for the past few months.

Emphasising that the meeting was organised to show that the PNC/R was in "total solidarity" with the people of Buxton/Friendship, Hoyte said it was "because today it is fashionable for some idiots to say that Buxton is a criminal village. Buxtonians are criminals, Buxtonians are violent people..... The People's National Congress and I reject this gross defamation of the character of the people of Buxton/Friendship." "You ask for bread and (President Bharrat) Jagdeo offers you lead! You look around is he offering you employment? Is he offering you education and training? Is he offering you jobs? He is offering you bullets," Hoyte told the crowd.

He told them to protest against the injustice being meted out to them and to fight to achieve social justice for themselves and children. Hoyte said "the government has been using the notorious black clothes police to carry out their nefarious objectives. People with names like `Robo Cop', `Gangster', `Golden Gun', `Toots', `Bald Head', `Baby Face'...... You don't expect policemen... to have those nicknames. You expect the criminals to have those names, and the very fact that they have attracted those synonyms to themselves tells you about the character of these people," he said.

In reference to the army's deployment in Buxton, Hoyte said that the army is unaware of their objective in the village. He said in the recent operation launched by the army and the police to search homes for arms and criminals, they came up with nothing because nothing was there. "The informer was having a great joke at the expense of the security forces. But be careful when somebody mounts `Operation Death', it wouldn't be your death because as I said you cannot be destroyed.......... guns and force cannot pacify Buxton," Hoyte warned.

Hoyte rejected the notion that criminals are harboured in the village. "That is nonsense there is crime throughout this country, and crime cannot be limited to Buxton."
The PNC/R leader described the village as one with a "proud streak" with a history of great achievement and a symbol of the courage, dedication and achievement.
"Our ancestors left us at Buxton a glorious legacy, it is a legacy of the triumphs of the human spirit over adversities, it is a legacy of service, it is a legacy of success," Hoyte told the gathering. He added that the ancestors of Buxton made a huge contribution to the development and progress of the country, economically, socially and politically.

He told the crowd that as "new oppressors arise" to violate human rights "you will resist them. You have always resisted the oppressors, you have resisted them today you have resisted them in the past and you will resist them in the future." Hoyte told the Buxtonians that their cause is a just one, "it doesn't matter who writes long letters in the newspapers, it doesn't matter who writes long editorials.., those people can't even find Buxton on the map but they want to analyse your problems and make prescriptions and the prescriptions usually are as follows, pacify Buxton, send in soldiers and police to kill all of you."
He said that it would not happen because there is no way all the persons could be killed, referring to a line in the song of a Jamaican singer which states, "killing me is a waste another rasta go tek me place."
He said the village was once a prosperous one, which was well laid out, well managed and very productive but has been rejected by the present government which allowed everything that would make the village productive to deteriorate.

"And it is because of this, today there are some 4,000 people unemployed in your catchment area," Hoyte said. Observers have pointed out in the past that the problems of Buxton pre-dated the accession of the PPP/C to government. Hoyte also called for a $250 million socio-economic transformation plan for Buxton and its environs which he said should be implemented by the government. He asserted that the problems in Buxton are not going to be solved by guns and force but require social transformation that will give hope to the community and serve as a model for the development of other communities.

[Editor's Note: The letter by the three WPA personalities was sent to Guyana's two primary newspapers and printed on September 1, 2002. The report on Hoyte's speech was in Stabroek News, October 12, 2002. Please see below for extracts from Stabroek New's editorial on this speech.]

Extracts from Editorial by Stabroek News (10/14) on Hoyte's Speech:

"As the Leader of the Opposition and the leader of the PNC/R an equally important responsibility falls on the shoulders of Mr Hoyte. He failed to use the opportunity at the epicentre of the current crime crisis-Buxton-to impress upon its law abiding citizens and the others who have gone the opposite way that law and order is the foundation of any system of administration and that the banditry that was taking place within their sight had to stop...Secondly, his statement that Buxton is not harbouring criminals is not grounded in reality. Buxton is harbouring criminals. The best intelligence of the security services, the day-to-day horrors committed on hapless commuters and residents of neighbouring villages and the experiences of those living within Buxton attest clearly to the inaccuracy of his statement. By not using the opportunity to firmly plant the PNC/R's flag on the side of law and order, he reinforced the concerns of many ordinary citizens that his party is ambiguous on the unrelenting wave of crime that has gripped the country and in which Buxton has featured prominently. As has become the norm in the political arena, his address was full of harsh invective and uncompromising demands."

"The village, he said, needs a socio-economic transformation and the government should provide funding to the tune of $250M. It's in keeping with the complementary role of the government in this eternal feud between the two parties that it would see the appeal - as President Jagdeo and Mr Collymore have - as an undisguised attempt by Mr Hoyte and his party to say: $250M for Buxton or no peace in the country. Mr Hoyte himself clearly gave this hint in his address when he rattled off a list of things that needed to be done in Buxton and declared 'these are the things they have to do if they want quiet and peace and contentment in the Buxton/Friendship area.'"       <<< Page X                                                                        Page X>>>                       

Oct 24, 2002
© 2001