Gov’t defends motion honouring Abdul Kadir as ‘time-honoured’ convention

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The Government was on Monday afternoon forced to defend last Friday’s Parliamentary motion in which its 33 Parliamentarians honoured the convicted terrorist Abdul Kadir for his service to the National Assembly.

“It is well known that there is a time-honoured convention of the National Assembly to observe, in a standard and solemn form, the work of former Members who are deceased.

“The observance of this tradition has never been selective, and has included, over the decades, persons of all political parties and persuasions who served in the National Assembly,” the Government said in a statement.

The Government said it regrets the interpretation given to the motion passed in the National Assembly, saying Kadir was recognised for his service as a Parliamentarian.

In the motion presented by Minister Valerie Patterson-Yearwood, Kadir’s service to the National Assembly was not expounded.

She listed the dates he served (from 17th April 2001 to 2nd May 2006) and only mentioned that he served on the Natural Resources Committee.

The speech presented his life’s history, including his career, and included the fact that he was an expert in martial arts and had converted to Islam, was fluent in Arabic and travelled extensively, including to the Middle East.

The Minister included quotes from one of his 43 grandchildren, that it did not matter how others saw Kadir and that to them he was a “hero” who tried to pass on his knowledge.

The Government said by presenting the motion it had no intention of conveying the impression that the motion was designed to honour a former MP convicted of terrorism in another jurisdiction.

“The Government of Guyana continues to condemn terrorism in the strongest possible way.

“The Government of Guyana reaffirms its commitment to continue and intensify the fight against terrorism in any form and is proud of its record to date in this regard.”

Kadir died in a U.S. prison last year June while serving a life sentence after he was found guilty in 2010 of plotting to blow up fuel tanks at New York’s Kennedy International Airport.

“There can be no doubt whatsoever that the offenses for which Mr. Kadir was convicted are about as serious as they come, short of murder,” said Judge Dora L. Irizarry of Federal District Court in Brooklyn, in handing down the sentence.

She said that he had taken part in “a plan that would clearly cause devastation unimaginable.”

The United States embassy in Georgetown has condemned the Parliamentary resolution honouring Kadir.

“Members of Parliament have placed this resolution in direct contradiction to the efforts of security cooperation between our two countries,” the U.S. embassy said in a statement.

It added: “With this resolution, honouring a convicted terrorist, members of Guyana’s National Assembly have left a stain on their legacy as representatives of the Guyanese people and on their commitment to the rule of law,” the embassy stated.

The embassy said Members of the National Assembly chose to honour a man who conspired to kill innocent people from across the United States and around the world.

“This resolution is an insensitive and thoughtless act, which demonstrates the National Assembly’s disregard for the gravity of Kadir’s actions,” the Embassy added.

The opposition People’s Progressive Party, which is boycotting the National Assembly, said the use of Guyana’s highest decision-making body to honour Kadir was an act of betrayal of democracy and the rule of law as it is clearly not reflective of the will of the people of Guyana.

“Guyanese are known as peaceful and law-abiding citizens, at home and abroad,” the PPP noted.

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