By Rickford Burke

Around November 6, 2019, Brian Kayume, an Indian University of Guyana student, posted a racist video disparaging Afro Guyanese on Facebook. In the video he’s seen saying he placed a dollar bill on the ground and was waiting to see which black person will steal it. He was acting on his orientation that black people steal money or are criminals. Kayume’s racist comments engendered national outrage.

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The delayed reaction by the UG administration was so retarded, vacuous and casuistic, it seemed like a joke. Worst, the socalled ERC was dead silent and took no action at the time.

On December 2, 2019 Berbice Indian sisters Yasminie Ramsook and Mona Singh (aka Tina and Mona) verbally abused and allegedly assaulted Police officers at the Rose Hall Police Outpost. A video of their profanity laced, racist conduct became viral.

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The sisters were charged and are being prosecuted at the Number 51 Village Magistrate’s Court. Although this incident sparked widespread anger and outrage, the ERC remained silent and took no action. The sisters subsequently apologized following a meeting with Minister of Youth Affairs, Simona Broomes.

On December 18, 2019 radio personality Kester Dean, an Afro Guyanese in reaction to the horrific accident in Mahaicony, made a misguided Facebook post suggesting that road deaths and other tragedies are because ritual human sacrifices are being made by people. The post included a photograph of the accident scene with some flags in a yard nearby circled.

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Some on Social Media ascribed meaning to the circle as well as the flags, and orchestrated a protest among the East Indian population. The ERC immediately jumped on this band wagon. Within 24 hours it summoned Kester Dean and directed him to make a public apology. He complied with said demand and apologized on video.

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After some of us questioned whether the ERC intervened in the prior incidents or caused the offenders to similarly apologize, an ERC facilitated video apology from Brian Kayume surfaced. We may now suddenly see an ERC prompted apology from Tina and Mona.

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The significance of this observation is the ERC’s dereliction and apparent operational bias. The Commission has no integrity or sense of equitable justice. It apparently has no rules of procedure, and therefore obviously operates on its whims, in reaction to the decimal level of protest noises of the society. Therefore its enforcement of the ethnic relations laws of Guyana is inherently biased.

Its unncoordinated, adhoc approach portrays a pandering coward that caters to those with means and the loudest voice. Commissioners seem timid to fearlessly execute their constitutional mandate without favor, ill will or intimidation.

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This neglect cannot contend. The ERC must move away from a reactionary posture. It must actively promote tolerance, cohesion, reconciliation and harmonization.

The ERC will be taken seriously when it gets its act together and functions with fairness, balance and within the realms of equal justice. Until then many will treat this entity as lacking depth, ingenuity

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