By Ravin Singh
A SENIOR police source has confirmed that Bibi Safaoora Salim,the woman who allegedly posted life-threatening comments about President David Granger, was taken into police custody for questioning at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID).
Just recently, 52-year-old Salim made a Facebook post expressing that, “Granger want a bullet in head…I am out of a job now because of them.” Her comment which was indirectly supported by a few other persons also prompted racially inciting remarks.
This subsequently sparked criticisms from all quarters of society, given the fact that this has been a repeated feature in Guyana’s socio-political landscape, particularly during the pre and post-elections period.
Staying true to his nature of being a President for all of Guyana, the Head of State noted on Thursday during his weekly broadcast of ‘The Public Interest’ that he did not mind meeting Salim once she was unarmed.
Nevertheless, he was taken aback by the comments and expressed how astonished he was at the fact that a Guyanese would resort to that level of communication on social media.
“I certainly would treat it as a security matter and ask the police to find the person and deal with that person in accordance with the law,” President Granger recommended.
He further went on to suggest that the experience was novel in Guyana to actually threaten the Head of State and that it is not the Guyanese style of politics.
“I do believe that it is a police matter and it is nothing that should be ignored. And the police have to pay more attention to what takes place in cyber space. Nowadays most persons who may not know me as Head of State could be influenced by hostile propaganda and they could be falsely induced to do harmful things to other citizens. That would be very bad not only for me, but the country” President Granger said.
He opined that people felt that the way to settle political differences was by violence and he has never advocated or supported the use of violence under any circumstances.
And while Salim has been apprehended, the police source further revealed that police were making attempts to locate two more overseas-based Guyanese who were also reportedly involved in posting racial comments on Facebook, which targeted Afro-Guyanese.
But one of the two persons fingered in the allegation, Victor Singh, who resides in Canada, is now claiming that the Facebook profile bearing his name, and which made the comment was faked.
“I arrived at the conclusion of the attempts to implicate me because my photographs were taken from my authentic Facebook profile and imported into the contentious post on social media. I can with complete confidence say that the particular fake profile bearing a similar name to mine is no way connected to me,” Singh said in a statement.
What was interesting to note however, was that this “fake” profile of Singh was activated in December of 2015 and that profile and the original profile were both linked as “friends.”
In order for one to be a friend with another on Facebook, a request must be sent to that person, and the person whom the request is sent to, must approve that request before the two can become friends on the social media platform.
The “fake profile” also had friends which included son of former President Alexei Ramotar and current PPP Member of Parliament, Nigel Dharamlall.
Chapter 23 of the Racial Hostility Act states that, “A person shall be guilty of an offence if he wilfully excites or attempts to excite hostility or ill-will against any section of the public or against any person on the grounds of their or his race, by means of words spoken by him in a public place or spoken by him and transmitted for general reception by wireless telegraphy or telegraph; or by causing words spoken by him or by some other person to be reproduced in a public place from a record; or by means of written (including printed) matter or pictorial matter published by him”.
If a person is found guilty of this offence, he or she shall be liable on summary conviction to be fined $65,000 and face imprisonment of up to two years.