THE ASSAULT ON TRUTH:EXTRA-JUDICIAL KILLINGS MUST NOT BE CONFUSED WITH GENERIC CRIME STATISTICS

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THE mother of all elections will produce the most dangerous and Machiavellian political manoeuvrings. Tis the season of desperate pens and hazardous ideas designed for political objectives that seek to revise history and conduct a totalitarian assault on truth.

The prevalence of extra-judicial killings from 1992-2015 has not escaped the attention of this phenomenon. It seems the proponents of the intellectual scorched-earth strategy to regain control of the state apparatus by all means necessary, have determined that they must erase and discredit our recent sordid past of extra-judicial killings. They have decided that this is the bugbear that hampers their political efforts in Afro-Guyanese communities.

As a consequence, they have decided to conduct a wanton assault on the truth and this must not be allowed to go without robust interventions. Extra-judicial executions, the likes of which reigned supreme pre-2015, should not be confused with generic crime statistics.

It is an assault on truth and a complete disregard for the suffering that families and communities across Guyana experienced during the uncaring tutelage of successive PPP/C administrations.

Extra-judicial executions and crime statistics
An extra-judicial killing (also known as extra-judicial execution) is the killing of a person by government authorities or individuals without the sanction of any judicial proceeding or legal process. These executions bypass the due process of the legal jurisdiction in which they occur. Extra-judicial killings often target leading political, trade union, dissident, religious, and social figures and are only those carried out by the state government or other state authorities, such as the armed forces or police, as extra-legal fulfilment of their prescribed role. The culture of extra-judicial executions is engendered when the state apparatus embraces this policy.

This is what obtained in Guyana from 1992-2015. The state propagated the Stalinist philosophy of ‘no man, no problem.’ The Gestapo, Guyana style, came in the form of the ‘Black Clothes,’ ‘The Death Squad’ and ‘The Phantom Squad.’ These murderous manifestations came in the form of the executions of Yohance Douglas, Ronald Waddell, the ‘Mandela Four’,Satyadeow Sawh, Shaka Blair and numerous victims of this state-sanctioned deadly policy.

Crime statistics attempt to provide statistical measures of crime in societies. Given that crime is usually secretive by nature, measurements of it are likely to be inaccurate. Several methods for measuring crime exist, including household surveys, hospital or insurance records, and compilations by police and similar law-enforcement agencies. Typically, official crime statistics are the latter, but some offences are likely to go unreported to the police. Public surveys are sometimes conducted to estimate the number of crimes not reported to the police.

To confuse this with the state murdering its citizens, borders on intellectual criminality. Such
confusion and obfuscation is usually the work of ideologues who seek to erase history for political gains. There is a clear distinction between executions of citizens at the hands of other citizens and state-sponsored pogroms.

Confusion, obfuscation and revisionism
Tom Stafford, the revered psychologist, reminded us, ‘repetition makes a fact seem truer, regardless of whether it is or not. Understanding this effect can help you avoid falling for propaganda.’ Every Guyanese knows about the death, blood and mayhem that filled the streets in the ‘dark period.’ Every single Guyanese knows that it was coming directly from the highest office in the land. All suspicions were proven correct, because when David Arthur Granger assumed office, it completely ceased.

This was no accident. Yet, the intellectual authors of this diabolical state of affairs between 1992-2015 wish to wipe the slate clean and act as if these things never occurred. They have adopted a bravado posture by loudly calling for an inquiry into this period. This has been coupled with confusion, obfuscation and revisionism which harks back to the days of the totalitarian rule of the likes of Joseph Stalin, Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler.

Confusion, obfuscation and revisionism were key strategies by these ignominious leaders to cling to power. This involved denying the clear and blatant truth, repeating a lie until it became a fact and revising history to suit the evil aims and objectives.

Confusing crime statistics with extra-judicial killings, is for all intents and purposes, the practice of
the illusion of truth which was perfected by the Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels. It is usually the refuge of political desperadoes. Generic crime statistics are vastly different from organised extra-judicial executions coming from the state apparatus.

The need to separate extra-judicial killings from generic crime statistics
Besides being insensitive to the plight of families who are made to suffer by the state which ought to be protecting them, confusing crime extra-judicial executions with generic crime statistics teems with dangerous implications for policy-making and development. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in its ‘International classification of crime for statistical purposes (ICCS) Version 1.0 Report’ documents, ‘Reliable crime statistics are critical for measuring changes in crime levels, monitoring state responses to crime, evaluating policies and understanding the various facets of crime in different contexts.

Often, raw data from different stages of the criminal justice process are available, but the purposeful collection and organisation of this data into a statistical form is required to produce valuable information for use in decision-making.’ Carlson Anyangwe noted, ‘Extra-judicial killing is a complex phenomenon covering various types of unlawful homicide. When women are the targeted victims, it constitutes an extreme form of gender violence.’ There should be no juxtaposing of crime and statistics and extra-judicial killings.
Conclusion

The assault of truth, disinformation, misinformation and the revision of history usually come from a place where there are dishonourable intentions. Concern for the welfare of the people seldom dwells in such a state of mind.