REGION Six A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Member of Parliament, Barbara Pilgrim, has called on the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) to impose sanctions on Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo, over what many deem to be a hate speech at Babu Jaan.
In a letter addressed to the ERC Legal Investigations Officer, Lloyd Smith, Pilgrim said while at a meeting held at Babu Jaan, Port Mourant, Berbice Sunday, Jagdeo uttered statements that incites fear, tension and confusion.
“We are going here in Berbice and right across Guyana, when the ministers or Granger or Nagamootoo come here after the 21st March to say to them, walk behind them, chase them out. They’re gonna be illegal,” Jagdeo was quoted as saying at Babu Jaan.
MP Pilgrim said Jagdeo’s statement runs counter to Guyana’s values of Ethnic Relations and Social Cohesion. “This statement will only serve to create ethnic tensions and confusion in Region Six where I reside, and can be interpreted to mean that government and other persons not connected to the People’s Progressive Party Civic PPP/C must not be allowed in this region,” she said.
The Region Six APNU+AFC MP called on the ERC to apply the strongest possible sanctions available against the opposition leader of his statement.
The government, in a separate system, strongly condemned the inflammatory statements made by the opposition leader.
“The government deems as irresponsible the call by Mr. Jagdeo for citizens to “chase” President David Granger, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo or any government official. Mr. Jagdeo’s inciting can result in a breach of the law and must be condemned as unacceptable, malicious and mischievous,” the government said.
It said Jagdeo has a history of wanton utterances and his most recent at Babu Jaan has serious implications on peace, race relations and national security, particularly in an election year.
The Alliance For Change (AFC), in another statement, condemned the opposition leader for what it considers a hate speech. It said Jagdeo’s statements were irresponsible and reckless and can incite violence.