Of abuse and threats

Guyana Chronicle
January 28, 2001

AS GUYANA moves, now more intensely, into elections campaigning, all contesting parties, their leaders, candidates and activists must watch their language of abuse and threats intended to intimidate or, worse, create disorder. We say this against the latest foul abuse hurled in the 'New Nation', organ of the PNC against, of all persons, Kit Nascimento, who has for so many years been such a faithful ally and propagandist of that party, in and out of government.

There is also the PNC/Reform leader's own threat during a recent rally in Linden about applying "slow fire" against the PPP/Civic if, as he said, it is "brazen enough" to remain in government until new elections.

In a nation governed by laws, and not any doctrine of "party paramountcy", there is nothing "brazen" about governance by the PPP/Civic, especially after the constraints which it had already voluntarily imposed on itself prior to Justice Claudette Singh's consequential orders on Friday.

Guyana, and specifically the business community and the victims of intimidation and physical violence in Georgetown during political disturbances in 1998, know of the consequences of threats to make the country "ungovernable'.

It is one thing for the media to honour ethical principles as agreed to -- and appropriately so -- only to have a party organ or the leader of a party engaging in language that could only aggravate emotions rather than encourage soberness.

Long before President Bharrat Jagdeo was himself viciously slandered with obscene scurrilities by the same party's organ following his appointment as head of state, there were the verbal abuses heaped on who belong to a 'putagee mafia', or suffering from "an identity problem".

If with the attempt to spruce up the image of the PNC, it was felt that there would indeed be a break with this disgusting pattern of verbal abuse, then shock awaited Kit Nascimento some of whose "friends" are also located within the `PNC/Reform'.

This newspaper holds no brief for Mr Nascimento, and not because of his castigations that were once the norm.

But there must be a limit to the vulgar personal abuse against anyone in this society.

As indeed there must be for the slanderous and racist rantings being offered on some TV 'talk shows' with precious little effort by the owners of the stations to stop the abusers from further poisoning the atmosphere.

If there is no condemnation now from civil society and all sections of the media against the spread of hate and libel, then more than Nascimento will become victims and the climate more dangerous.

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