In not so few words, the Minister of Governance and Parliamentary Affairs, through her legal representation, has informed the High Court that Rickford Burke, a social media figure, is essentially a menace to society.

Gail Teixeira has become a defendant in a High Court matter after Burke sued her for $500M over comments she made, suggesting he is an extortionist. She is being represented by attorneys-at-law Sanjeev Datadin and Khalif Gobin.

In her Statement of Defense submitted to the High Court, the minister has asserted various levels of protection, including her belief that, as a public official, she has a duty to warn the public about the nature of Burke’s character. She also mentioned that there is evidence indicating that Burke is a miscreant.

Before delving into the merits of the case, Teixeira’s lawyers argue that the court lacks jurisdiction as the Statement of Claim is unsigned by an attorney or anyone else, and it is undated. Therefore, it could not properly constitute a claim in law.

Teixeira intends to raise the point during the trial that Burke purports to be a lawyer but has never produced any certification. Furthermore, he presents himself as the leader of an organization that ‘fights for democracy’ and issues statements on public issues. However, Burke appears to be the lone member of the so-called organization.

Teixeira notes that Burke continues to make statements that are “inflammatory and divisive.”

The document states that Burke has been caught “encouraging persons in Guyana to disobey the law and law enforcement agencies, to create public strife, and he is instigating a breach of the peace; these are all matters of public importance and the response by the First Defendant, as a public official and Minister of Government, is necessary in the public interest to provide the public with information on the said matters.”

Furthermore, the court was told that Burke frequently makes public statements on social media platforms that are racially inflammatory, inciteful of violence and unrest, wholly false, and designed to cause social and political unrest in Guyana.

She pointed to the most glaring example being the repeated call by Burke to “burn the ballots of the March 2nd, 2020 General and Regional Elections before the recount of the ballots. This was intended to, and would have, deprived the people of Guyana of having their chosen leaders sworn into Government.”

As if the list of justifications for her stance would not end, the minister caused her lawyers to note the “notorious public fact” that Burke is the subject of a criminal proceeding in the Magistrate’s Court “for which wanted bulletins were issued in relation to a plot to extort money from a known businessman, Mr. Mohammed.”

Furthermore, the court was told that Burke sexually assaulted a young person several years ago, and the matter was reported to the police. He left Guyana “and never returned because he owes many persons money which he had obtained from them and never delivered the goods or services for which he was paid.”


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