Berbice unrest: Gov’t seeks British help, COI to be launched & UN to help probe race hate
President Irfaan Ali announces national interventions to address the West Coast Berbice murders and the ensuing unrest. See statement below:
Fellow Guyanese, over the last three days, I have spoken at length about the horrendous and horrific acts that took place in Region Five. Not only the killing of the three young men, but the criminality after those killings, the criminality which led to the disruption of lives along the Region Five corridor. In previous statements, I alluded to the fact that we will leave no stone unturned, that we will seek to use all available tools in not only solving these crimes but also in getting a comprehensive and holistic picture as to all the events surrounding what took place thereafter.
I want to take this opportunity to thank the Guyana Police Force and the Guyana Defence Force for the tireless work that they have been doing. I am confident that they will bring the situation to order. They have assured me that they will be using all available resources and laws, in keeping with the protocols and guidelines, to ensure that the situation does not escalate.
I call upon all Guyanese to refrain from endangering each other’s life, as I assure you that this Government will work to bring justice to every single person who has been affected in these circumstances. As a result, in consultation with the Guyana Police Force, I have engaged the mechanism in which I will be reaching out to the British Government and the RSS, which is the Regional Security System to come to Guyana in support of the Guyana Police Force’s investigative capacity.
Fellow Guyanese, we have to get to the bottom of this and whatever support is needed, I will reach towards that support. As a result, in helping and ensuring that we do all that we can to get to the bottom of this investigation, as quickly as possible in a professional manner, I will be reaching out to the British Government and the RSS.
Secondly, the events surrounding these horrific and barbaric acts of murder and the criminality that saw the loss of property, that saw even the loss of lives, people being chopped, robbed and brutally assaulted, require a more comprehensive and holistic review and as such, we need to get to the bottom of this.
We need to understand who instigated, what was instigated and as a result, I am exploring the commissioning of an International Commission of Inquiry (COI) to look at every aspect of this situation, to look beyond what took place on the ground, to look at the behaviours that came about as a result of statements made. The COI is important for us to have a comprehensive understanding as to what took place.
Thirdly, I have asked the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs to explore, within the United Nations system, all means available to hold to account, all those who spread race hate and instigate racial strife.
So, these are the three things, in addition to the hard and tireless work that the Guyana Police Force and the Guyana Defence Force are doing. These are the three additional things I wish to communicate to the Guyanese people; the support to the investigative arm by the British Government and the RSS, the international COI and exploring all systems and protocols available within the United Nations system itself to deal with persons who spread hate and racial strife in speech and in action.
The time has come for us to deal with this issue very frontally. The time has come for us to deal with it very seriously and no one must believe that they can use situations like these for any political gain. There is no gain whether politically, socially, economically, morally or culturally. There is no gain that you can get out of this. The only persons who lose are the families who are suffering, the people who received and who were inflicted with blows and loss of property and the country; the credibility and image of our country suffers greatly.
We must not leave these things unanswered. We cannot leave them unanswered and so as President, I have decided to proceed with these three steps, in addition to what is going on, to bring swiftly all those who were part of these horrific acts, to justice.