ERC issues ‘stern’ warning to ‘Guyanese Critic’ for his racist remarks

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The Ethnic Relation Commission (ERC) says Mikhail Rodrigues, popularly known as ‘The Guyanese Critic’, has been “sternly cautioned” against making further racist remarks and if there is a reoccurrence, he will face prosecution.

The ERC reviewed a video in which Rodrigues is heard making racially insensitive remarks against Guyanese of African descent, Christians and even a claim that Indians drink cow urine.

He came in for severe criticisms from sections of society, including politicians, over his remarks which disparaged Afro Guyanese.

In addition to the warning, the ERC said the Rodrigues committed to “do all that is necessary under his platform to promote amity.”

According to the ERC, “one of the mandates of the Commission is to encourage mediation in amicably resolving disputes whenever necessary. One of the purposes for punishment is to foster the rehabilitation of offenders.”

Following Rodrigues racist comments, a small group of persons protested his South Ruimveldt, Georgetown home Tuesday morning.

A petition has been launched for his Facebook page to be removed and there is a trending #cancelcritic on social media.

Rodrigues has since issued an apology on his Facebook page.

See below the full statement issued by the ERC:

Ethnic Relations Commission meets with “Guyanese Critic” on racial statements made.

The Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC), having received a number of complaints, today met with Mr. Mikhail Rodrigues popularly known as Guyanese Critic regarding statements made by him on 15 June, 2020 during his live Facebook program. Those statements were viewed as insensitive, unethical and anti- Guyanese and caused outrage among the Christian and Black communities. It was an attack on the religious beliefs of the Christian community and insulted the intellectual intelligence of Afro-Guyanese. Such conduct is an affront against the bedrock of a unified Guyana. Mr. Rodrigues has accepted his wrongdoings and it is in light of this that he offered a public apology. He has also made an undertaking to the Commission to do all that is necessary under his platform to promote amity. One of the mandates of the Commission is to encourage mediation in amicably resolving disputes whenever necessary. One of the purposes for punishment is to foster the rehabilitation of offenders. Restitution is not always of paramount concern, and it is in these circumstances that Mr. Rodrigues has been sternly cautioned that any recurrence of his irresponsible remarks will warrant prosecutions against him by the Commission for his conduct.

The Commission reminds all and sundry that it is a criminal offence under the Representation of the People Act, Chapter 1:03 and the Racial Hostility Act, Chapter 23:01 for anyone to incite racial hatred or violence against any person or against any segment of a society. Racial prejudice is not merely a wrongdoing against morality but it is conduct contrary to the laws which were instituted to abolish and eradicate the antiquated, disruptive, divisive weapon of racism. Anyone convicted of an offence under the Representation of the People Act shall be fined a sum of one hundred thousand dollars together with two years of imprisonment. Anyone convicted of an offence under the Racial Hostility Act shall be fined the sum of five hundred thousand dollars and seven years of imprisonment.

It is imperative that Guyanese understand the seriousness of exciting any form of hate. The Ethnic Relations Commission encourages the understanding and acceptance of diversity in all aspects of national life as we aim to eliminate the issue of racial and religious profanity. Irrespective of the differences in our beliefs, ethos and culture we are and continue to be “One People, One Nation and One Destiny”.

June 16, 2020

Ethnic Relations Commission

 

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