CoIs must be expanded to include others like the Lusignan massacre

Dear Editor,

The Indian Action Committee (IAC) has noted government’s announcement of a series of inquiries into past incidents that have been described as crime spree killings. The swift establishment of a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the June, 2008, Lindo Creek massacre seems to be evidence of the government’s intention to unearth answers.

While the IAC believes these overdue inquiries are important for the country, it is of the firm view that it must not be confined to any particular incident or a selected few. These enquiries must be expanded to include others which the IAC remains convinced were designed, through maximum casualties or infliction of violence, to instil fear into the hearts and minds of Guyanese, especially those of East Indian descent.

It is within that context that the IAC calls for the commencement of an inquiry into the Lusignan massacre which, in January 2008, preceded Lindo Creek. Eleven innocent, poor, unsuspecting and defenceless residents including five children were slaughtered in the dark of night by heavily armed merciless gunmen. Like all other families who suffered, those in Lusignan would like closure as they remain befuddled over what could have precipitated such a dastardly attack.

The IAC is also calling for an inquiry into the unprovoked attack on Indo Guyanese on January 12, 1998 primarily in the City of Georgetown. Many were beaten, stripped and robbed by various gangs in what was believed to be their dissatisfaction over a High Court decision relating to the 1997 election petition. Twenty years later, many are still intimidated and scarred by that sudden unleashing of violence and the subsequent humiliation they were forced to endure.

The IAC is hopeful that, eventually, the findings of these inquiries would form the basis for the establishment of a national reconciliation platform which it is firmly recommending. The organization is of the view that rather than a continuation of blame and hatred, the platform could provide a much needed mechanism to aid in healing and the fostering of national harmony.

Once again the IAC believes this underscores the urgent need for the members of the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) to be sworn in now that parliamentary approval has been given. This body seems best suited to facilitate such a platform.

Yours faithfully,

Saira Alli


Indian Action Committee

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