Is the US response to Guyana’s Parliament paying tribute, as is customary, to a fallen former member, this one convicted of terrorism ‘Much Ado About Nothing’. Not really. Terrorism is serious business. I read the Motion paying tribute to the contribution of former MP Abdul Kadir and did not find it in anyway a tribute to a terrorist.
However I must say that given the increasing number of terrorist attacks around the world, Guyana’s Parliament should have been more sensitive to the reaction this tribute to Kadir would occasion. In honouring his contribution to the National Assembly it would have been pragmatic for members to lament the fact that such a good person could have been implicated in a terrorist plot with the potential for killing innocent children, women and men and to reiterate Guyana’s unswerving commitment to the fight against terrorism in all its forms.
I am a dual citizen (Guyanese American) and fully understand and appreciate America’s concern about how this tribute by one of its most friendly partners in the hemisphere, if not the world, could be (mis)interpreted. The Guyana Government has explained its position. The Opposition, which first raised concerns about this issue should be gratified that the US, which it often accuses of putting the APNU+AFC in power, is prepared to and does condemn the Coalition on issues raised by the Opposition which have merit.
But as I write this letter my memory brings me back to the issue of the US legislative branch or some of its members having paid tribute to a convicted colleague.
“John Dennis Hastert is a former American politician who served as the 51st Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1999 to 2007, representing Illinois’s 14th congressional district from 1987 to 2007. He was the longest-serving Republican Speaker of the House in history, and is currently the highest-ranking holder of a political office in U.S. history to have served a prison sentence.”
Hastert was found guilty of illegally restructuring banking arrangements allegedly to cover up sexual abuse of persons including four boys while serving as their football coach.
If my memory serves me well, I remember some members of the US Congress “heaping praise on the good works” of Hastert as he was convicted and sentenced to prison. This about a man who admitted to sexually abusing four boys.