The influential New York based Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy (CGID) has asked the United States Government to impose sanctions on several senior officers of the Guyana Police Force. A statement from the organization on Thursday said “The PPP is using certain officers in the Guyana Police Force to intimidate, harass, victimize and persecute Afro-Guyanese GECOM employees as well as members and supporters of the opposition APNU+AFC coalition.”
The officers cited for sanctions are Commissioner Nigel Hoppie, Assistant Commissioner Clifton Hicken, Crime Chief – Senior Superintendent Wendell Blanhum, Assistant Superintendent Mitchell Caesar, and others. The Institute disclosed that the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) has been asked to “investigate this matter and pursue severe political and financial sanctions against these officers and their families.” CGID said it has asked the CBC to refer the cases to the Inter-American Human Rights Commission, International Criminal Court and the War Crimes Tribunal.
The rights organization said that it is extremely concerned about the PPP’s operationto dismantle the staff of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), by removing all Afro-Guyanese in strategic positions and replacing them with PPP supporters. GECOM is an autonomous, constitutional agency. The Institute contend that the constitution prohibits the government or courts from interfering in GECOM and that the actions by the government are unlawful.
“The PPP is unlawfully dismantling GECOM’s staff ahead of the hearing of the APNU+AFC elections petition, which was filed on August 31, 2020. According to CGID, the PPP plan entails arresting Afro-Guyanese GECOM employees and recklessly charging them with made up crimes, which they are using to as the basis to remove the employees from GECOM.
CGID said “the four officers have violated the constitutional and human rights of the persons they unlawfully arrested. They intentionally denied them access to their attorneys; refused to give them meals and access to their families; willfully deprived them of sleep; held them way beyond the constitutionally permitted period and disobeyed court orders commanding their release. Moreover these officers and other ranks deliberately denied females experiencing their menstrual cycle access to a bathroom.”
“These are disgraceful abuses for which there must be consequences. Some are egregious, constitutional and human rights violations, which constitute torture and crimes against humanity – war crimes. CGID therefore agrees with Guyana’s Opposition Leader, Mr. Joseph Harmon, that the illegal, racist PPP government is an existential threat to Afro-Guyanese,” the organization contended.
The Institute asserted that there has been more habeas corpus writs have been filed in the Guyana Supreme Court against the PPP government in the last four weeks since they came to power, than has been filed in the five years of the previous, democratically elected APNU+AFC coalition government. Habeas corpus is a court order commanding the police and state to present a person under arrest in court before a judge to secure that individual’s release if the police has no law cause to detain him/her.
CGID warned that it will relentlessly pursue and expose the four police officers and its attorneys are compiling evidence against them. “CGID will expose and pursue these officers and their families in extraordinary ways, which will make it difficult for them to function in society. We will not tolerate racism, constitutional and human rights violations, torture or crimes against humanity. The PPP will be made to respect the human rights and dignity of Afro-Guyanese and all other citizens of Guyana, equally, period, the CGID statement said.
Responding to an email question about what the institute means by making itvdifficult for the guilty officers to function in society, CGID Director of Communications, Attorney at law Richard Millington said ‘They must understand that the Institute will publish their names and addresses, as well as the names and addresses of their family members, where they all work and go to school. We will expose everything. This would be relentless and focused.”