OP discredited Hinds when he complained of harassment instead of discouraging it
Soon after Dr David Hinds of the WPA announced to the media that he and his family were experiencing harassment, the Office of the President, without time for investigation, was able to “dismiss” his claims. It did not discourage the actions complained of, “just in case” any hothead supporter was involved. It was eager to discredit the person complaining, not to discourage such tendencies.
Political activists should, like David Hinds, know that they will be followed by the Special Branch. However, when it comes to calling the activist’s home and trying to scare his daughter, things get scary. Instead of calling on the general public to leave such things out of the political responses, the Office of the President gives the impression that it will be ready with political denials against such conduct. Showing another alarming level of meanness, the offenders invented an assassination plot and informed Dr Hinds’s university that he was involved.
It is public knowledge that the PPP moved against academics at the University of Guyana and had them dismissed, some of them for life. It follows the policy of “our academics” and “those other academics.” There are no academics, as such. In what ways are these rulers better than those they succeeded?
The Office of the President, which, of course, is entitled to freedom of expression, is not noted for condemning the offences of those who act in support of the government. I am assuming, and it is a safe assumption most of the time, that attacks against government critics or opponents are carried out by supporters of the government. I have never been an academic, just a primary school and high school teacher. When the US police “harassed” Dr Randy Persaud, I protested. All I know about him is that he is Guyanese and a PPP person. It cost me nothing to protest. My friends did not even question me.
Dr Hinds, whatever his suspicions, did not accuse the executive party, but is there another political force in Guyana that will have that kind of interest in endangering Dr Hinds’s employment?
Has the Office of the President noted that Dr Hinds’s university responded to the accusation it had received by email and stated that the university “does not infringe on free speech,” and that it does not discourage lecturers from “activist work” nor manage their private time? The offenders had also sent the university transcripts of comments allegedly made by Hinds in Guyana. With all this thorough dedication to targeting an activist, a little housing cooperative on the East Coast has had to write letters to the press begging the government to do its duty.
There is a more serious aspect of this whole business. In effect the Office of the President in its response to the complaints made by Dr Hinds has dared to withdraw official protection, under the common law and Article 31 from a Guyanese citizen living abroad. Look out, citizens. What we have is not an Office of the President but a branch office of Freedom House. Any citizen who uses his or her freedom of expression in a way not pleasing to the PPP can expect the Office of the President to withdraw its obligation to protect that citizen at home and abroad.