In his desecration speech at Babu John on Sunday, May 8, Mr Bharrat Jagdeo said that the opposition “consistently shout about the racism of the PPP but they practise racism. They whisper campaigns…” Jagdeo thinks he is being clever by couching his racism in accusations of racism by “the opposition.” The specifics of what he had to say about the opposition constituted naked racism.
Someone needs to remind Mr Jagdeo that not only does the constitution not protect any person from “hate speeches or other expressions, in whatever form, capable of exciting hostility or ill will against any person or class of persons,” but that the Representation of the People Act (the elections act) makes it a criminal offence by any person who (a) makes or publishes or causes to be made or published any statement; or (b) takes any action, which results or can result in racial or ethnic violence or hatred among the people.
Such conduct constitutes an indictable offence for which the penalty is a fine of one hundred thousand dollars together with imprisonment for two years.
Explosive and racist speech is the last thing Guyana needs in an elections season.
It must surely be time to stamp out racism. Mr Jagdeo’s speech is a good place to start.