Next year, 2018, will mark the 70th anniversary of the proclamation of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948 in Paris.
Part of its preamble reads: ‘disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people.’
That ‘disregard and contempt for human rights’ resulted in the unprecedented reign of terror experienced by Guyanese citizens under the Bharrat Jagdeo regime for over a decade. Kidnapping, torture and murder of Guyanese citizens, under color of law, was de rigueur by the Jagdeo-led PPP government.
Unfortunately, the conscience of many members of the Guyanese political class, civil society and media then, and now, is not outraged by Jagdeo’s crimes.
Recently, three prominent members of the Guyanese political class, civil society and media – Dr. David Hinds, Mr. Christopher Ram and Mr. Adam Harris – condemned the APNU coalition government, specifically Minister of Natural Resources, Mr. Raphael Trotman, for failing to reveal receipt of an US$18 million signing bonus from ExxonMobil. The condemnation was well- deserved. The government should have disclosed this information promptly. Instead, because of its faux pas, it opened itself to allegations of impropriety.
But a faux pas it was, which pales in comparison to the crimes of Bharrat Jagdeo; indeed, it pales into insignificance compared to the murders committed under the Jagdeo regime.
Back to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Dr. Hinds, Mr. Ram and Mr. Harris are voluble about the $US18 million signing bonus which, after all the smoke clears, is accounted for; they are, however, pusillanimous in their silence about the Guyanese citizens who are unaccounted for!
I gave Mr. Harris all of the information about the disappearance and presumed murder of Collie Wills.
Harris told me that he was advised by Justice Claudette Singh not to publish the information. Where is your outrage Mr. Harris?
The cowardly silence of Dr. Hinds and Mr. Ram about the crimes against humanity committed by Bharrat Jagdeo is appalling! Get on your television program Mr. Ram, and demand that the Guyana government invite the United Nations and the International Criminal Court to investigate the cases of kidnapping, torture and murder, under color of law, of hundreds of Guyanese citizens. Demonstrate your outrage Mr. Ram!
Dr. Hinds, if you want to be taken seriously, use the soapbox of your column to articulate moral clarity on this issue. Do not be selective in your moral outrage; doing so will only erode your credibility in the eyes of the Guyanese people. Be outraged Dr. Hinds!
As the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights approaches, Guyanese must let their government and the world know that we understand that at this moment in our country’s history, silence isn’t golden; silence is complicity!