Letter to Andrew Douglas To the Editor
Guyana Chronicle
May 13, 2002

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I have read reports of the Andrew Douglas tape. Like the world's most wanted man, Osama bin Laden, Douglas apparently seeks to use this opportunity to rally increased support for his 'cause'.

I ask that you publish this letter to Mr. Douglas:

Dear Mr. Douglas:
First, please take note of the respect I accord you by addressing you as Mr. Douglas. You are no greater or lesser a human being than any of us. I have not seen or heard your tape nor have I seen the pamphlets allegedly distributed by your group of escapees, so what I have to say to you is based on press reports.

Allow me, Mr. Douglas, to share some information with you before really getting to the points I want to make. Forgive me if you already have this information for if the police reports are accurate, you and your group keep up to date through the daily newspapers.

Mr. Douglas, Guyana is not the only country facing serious problems with crime and with a backlog of cases before its courts. Jamaica, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and numerous others have been experiencing an upsurge in crime. The difference is however, for some reason, these countries are able to maintain the confidence of investors who pump money into their economies thereby creating jobs for the people of these countries. We need jobs badly in Guyana too!

Just last week, Mr. Douglas, Jamaica signed an agreement with Alcoa for over one hundred million US dollars investment in that country's bauxite industry, Trinidad and Tobago signed an agreement for an investment of some 1.1 billion US dollars for its natural gas exploration and Barbados recorded its highest level of sales of upscale homes, in addition to receiving letters of interest from two major hotel chains for investment in the country's tourism sector. What this means Sir, is that thousands of new jobs will be created in these countries.

In Guyana's case, I am told that since 1962, when under Cheddie Jagan, we got investment in an alumina plant, Guyana got no significant foreign investment until the early 1990s under Desmond Hoyte, when Barama and Omai begun operations. Both these have generated jobs for Afro and other Guyanese. We
need more of these.

Mr. Douglas, I'm sure you have heard of globalisation. I suppose many people think you're not smart. I'm not one of them. I know you are aware that the world has changed and things are done differently now. Hence you recorded

your message-a first for the Caribbean. No, not Latin America. Pablo Escobar in Colombia did that too. But to get back to my point about the changing world, this globalisation thing, Mr. Douglas, like all of us, has good and bad. The good part is that many foreign companies are prepared to invest in developing countries like Guyana, but the bad part is that they usually want everything to be perfect before they invest their money. Another result of globalisation is that countries like Guyana can't depend on aid from America and Britain and big countries in the future, so we really got to get investment. And here is where you come in Mr. Douglas. Now don't misunderstand me, you and your group aren't the reason we not getting investment, but you are making a bad situation worse.

As an Afro-Guyanese I am not afraid to say to you, Mr. Douglas, and your group that I don't accept your behaviour. This is certainly not the way to fight for freedom. This is certainly not the way to seek the justice you say you deserve. When you carjack me I am as much a victim as the so-called oppressor you claim to be fighting. When you drive away investment and deny me a job I am a victim. When you attack a high-ranking army officer whose duty it is to defend our country against external attack, I am a victim. When you attack an innocent Indo-Guyanese who has done no wrong to anyone, I am a

Mr. Douglas, we have all been wronged and have done wrong in our lives. But there are better ways to deal with your problems. The situation in Guyana is worsening and our dear country and its law-abiding citizens continue to suffer. This state of affairs cannot continue. You and your group, while not the only ones, are making things worse for Guyana. Let us find a way out of this mess!

I have a proposal for you Mr. Douglas. I want you to write a letter to the
United Nations representative in Guyana in which you and your group, not just the other four but all the members of your group pledge to surrender to the custody of the United Nations (UN) in Guyana.

Now Mr. Douglas, you know you and your group are accused of certain crimes including those associated with your escape on Mashramani Day. Just as you escaped because of what you felt was an injustice toward you, the families of those killed and injured that day want some justice too. While you are innocent until proven guilty, it will be necessary that you be incarcerated once you surrender. However, by surrendering to the UN you can be assured that your rights are protected and your treatment will be humane.

By taking this course of action Mr. Douglas you would be a champion of the cause of freedom for all the people of Guyana, not just Afro-Guyanese. You and your group will make history and just in the event you are found guilty of any crimes, I'm sure any jury will take into account the fact that you chose to surrender rather than continue to hold the nation hostage.

And, if the laws of Guyana permit, you and your group might just be able to land a book deal, which could earn your relatives some cash I'm sure they can use.

This has been a long letter Andrew, so long that I feel I know you now and can call you Andrew. I hope the newspapers publish this letter, since it is the only way I could reach you. If they do, I hope you read it and give it serious consideration. Discuss it with Dale, Shawn and the others and make the right decision. You escaped on Mashramani Day. You can surrender on Independence Day. This should give the UN representative enough time to make arrangements to receive you and the boys and girls, if any. In the meantime send off the surrender letter immediately to the UN office on Brickdam. Ask that a copy be sent to Kofi Annan-an outstanding African who will undoubtedly be pleased by your decision.

Andrew, there are some that will tell you not to bother with me...that I am sitting pretty in my air-conditioned house in America chanting stupidness. They will tell you that I like 'coolie' people and Americans... Well the truth is I like all people. I don't know you Andrew but I like you, I just don't like what you're doing. I write to you because I don't want you to get hurt Andrew.

You see, I got a feeling that some foreigner visiting or living in Guyana
might get killed. I'm not saying 'all yuh' will be responsible for it. But
everybody will point their fingers at you and the boys if that was to happen.

Then the country where the person come from will get mad and the rest will be history. Then, Andrew, they'll take you out dead or alive. Don't let that happen. Surrender instead.

I would like to give you information about how you can contact me but the law requires that, if you respond, I have to give the information to the police.

So instead, send a copy of the surrender letter to the media. That way I'll know you've taken my advice.

You and the boys should 'lie low' until you surrender.
One Love
Wesley Kirton