Opposition Leader, Aubrey Norton during his weekly press conference claimed that the PPP/C administration’s approach of “turning Guyanese citizens into terrorists”, is a senseless and depraved approach to the crime-fighting posture of the Guyana Police Force.

Norton highlighted that the opposition is on record rejecting the government’s use of the anti-terrorism provision in the Criminal Law (Offences) Act to bring charges against a number of persons.

“We have already brought to the nation’s attention that this anti-terrorism law was introduced as an amendment in 2002 by the notorious Ronald Gajraj, the then Minister of Home Affairs, the mastermind behind phantom squads and extra-judicial killings,” Norton said.

He further noted that the motive of the administration is clear, outlining that the charges are an attempt to scare citizens from exercising their constitutional freedoms of association. It is also a tactic to thwart people from assembling, and hold peaceful demonstrations.

“Such intimidation of citizens is state terrorism in itself. The law violates basic human rights. It is excessive and counter-productive. We call on decent-minded citizens to raise their voices in condemnation,” Norton said.

He noted too that it was the then coalition government that instead, introduced the Anti-Terrorism and Terrorist-Related Activities Act 2015 which was expressly intended to fight global terrorism, and not to fight alleged local criminal offenders.

He added that the 2015 Act included provisions, for instance, to combat the financing of terrorism, the creation of safe havens for terrorists in Guyana, the creation of terrorist cells in Guyana, and the use of Guyana as a terrorist training ground.

“Indeed, internationally, the debate still rages as to what should be considered legitimate public struggle against repressive and authoritarian governments. Under the PPP, Guyana has joined Iran and a few other countries where the government uses terrorism laws to suppress the human and constitutional rights of citizens,” Norton said.

Norton said that the opposition intends to formally raise this issue with various international human rights forums and organizations.


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