Those who harassed Dr Hinds could be traced
I agree with elder statesman Eusi Kwayana that the PPP, the government, and the Office of the President should have condemned and discouraged the harassment of Prof David Hinds (‘OP discredited Hinds when he complained of harassment instead of discouraging it,’ SN, Sep 6). But in my readings in the media, the government did indeed condemn the harassment against Hinds and stated unequivocally that it was not involved in it. It did not seem to me that the government sought to discredit Hinds although it could have been more directly supportive of the academic whose contributions against the PNC dictatorship should not be forgotten.
Let me be on record as joining the chorus in unconditionally condemning those (or anyone) who were (was) behind the harassment of Prof Hinds in Arizona and in Guyana. I know the gentleman’s activism since the 1980s during the struggle against Burnhamism. He was a prolific writer in Caribbean Daylight against the PNC dictatorship and he was well known for his fearless activism against injustice, a trait he has largely retained till this day. I do not agree or support his views on all issues. But I admire his courage to stand up against what he perceived as wrongdoing.
I find it hard to believe that the government or PPP was behind harassing Dr Hinds. If the Special Branch, as alleged by Mr Kwayana, was indeed monitoring the activities of Dr Hinds, then the police should be condemned or provide a justifiable explanation. I agree with Mr Kwayana that this would be no different from what happened under the PNC dictatorship; those of us who were targeted by the police remember that era well. The police should issue a statement if they were instructed to tail Dr Hinds and who gave the instruction for such activity and why.
With regard to calls made to the activist’s home in trying to scare his daughter as well as calls and emails to his job harassing him or trying to get him fired, those calls can be traced to determine their source(s). There should be an investigation and the offender(s) prosecuted.
The government did well to issue a denial of the harassment charge. If the government did not dissociate itself from any harassment allegation, then it would be accused of being complicit in such acts. Either way, it gets blamed.
Since we don’t know the offenders behind the harassment, it would be wrong to point a finger at anyone or any entity.
It is irresponsible for anyone to conclude the government was behind the harassment of Hinds without any supporting evidence. The university can provide details (through its caller ID system and emails) to the police to take action against the offenders.
The PPP stands to lose more than any other entity in harassing someone of Dr Hinds’s stature. Other forces have more to gain in harassing him to make it appear that the PPP is vindictive and guilty of such actions. That is why I feel the PPP should go all out and urge the university to carry out an investigation and release its findings. In addition, I think the PPP should ask the Guyana police to issue a report on whether it was instructed to monitor Dr Hinds and if so, by whom.
With regard to the harassment of prominent figures, one should not forget that Prof Randy Persaud was also harassed at his job at the American University in Washington.
Was the PPP also behind that harassment? Forces threatened to report Annan Boodram to his employer because of his independent position as a writer and activist. Was the PPP behind those threats? Someone phoned my research job at CCNY and at CUNY Graduate School trying to get me fired because of my political activism. Was the PPP behind those calls?
Contrary to Mr Kwayana’s feeling, I don’t think OP will withdraw its obligation to protect citizens at home and abroad. I find it hard to believe that the PPP will want to curtail our free speech given that it fought so hard against Burnhamism that silenced our voice.
And I agree with Mr Ogunseye that Guyanese are politically intelligent and they would form an informed judgment on who was behind Dr Hind’s harassment.