is a Terror Camp
by Andaiye, David Hinds, and Eusi Kwayana
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
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.
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.
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.
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"
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.]
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."
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.'"
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