President of the Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy (CGID), Rickford Burke, in an interview with Opposition Parliamentarian, Roysdale Forde S.C., last week, said that the local media is part of the ‘suppression of information coming out of Guyana.
In his March 14 show, “Conversation with Rickford Burke”, he said: “You had over 1,600 black people fired – black people and other races and ethnicities that don’t support the government – [but] nothing; the press is nothing creating nothing about it. The press is part of the oppression and the suppression of information coming out of Guyana. They carefully engineered their people to be correspondence for these international news agencies. So, you’re not getting information coming out of the country.”
Four days later, the Guyana Press Association (GPA) condemned the utterance; labeling it as an “attack” on the local press corp. The Association said that it has over time pointed out how dangerous these comments are, and how they can affect the work journalists do.
“The physical and economic safety of media workers and media houses continued to be threatened by such comments. The media have and continue to play an important and pivotal role in the growth of this country and to insult, attack or seek to undermine the media is an attack on every citizen and this country,” the GPA said not only in response to Burke’s comment, but to other attacks meted out to Journalist and media houses within the last couple of weeks.
CGID, today, through its Communication Director, Richard Millington, issued a statement labeling sections of the media as “ostensibly” racist supporters of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government.
The institute claims that over 1500 African Guyanese have been unjustly fired from the government service by the PPP/C government because of their race and presumed political affiliation. It went on to allege that “dozens of black GECOM officials; former CEOs of government agencies and corporations; black Attorneys, APNU+AFC politicians, black police officers, and others have been fired, unjustly charged with crimes and are under assault by the PPP in a racist witch-hunt. Yet, sections of the media, who are ostensibly themselves racist supporters of the PPP, block these newsworthy reports on this modern Guyanese apartheid governance”.
“CGID flatly rejects GPA’s double standard and hypocrisy! We also dismiss the GPA’s assertion of its freedom of the press rights, while simultaneously attempting to infringe on the constitutional free speech rights of Guyanese. This is a repugnant violation of a bedrock tenet of a free and democratic society.”
The CGID said that Burke is a United States of America (USA) citizen, and “enjoys guaranteed free speech rights enshrined in the US constitution.