Below is a commentary by Dr Leslie Ramsammy on Government’s move to use the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) to arrest and detain members of the political Opposition:
The arrest of the Leader of the Opposition and former President of Guyana, Bharat Jagdeo, the former Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr Roger Luncheon and other former Ministers and officials of the PPP Government is reckless and represents an obnoxious exercise of authoritarian power.
APNU+AFC has now fully completed the entrenchment of a police state in Guyana. It has taken APNU+AFC less than two years to fully put in place the police state. Dictatorship is not threatening anymore, it has firmly entrenched itself on Guyana’s soil once again.
Bharat Jagdeo and his colleagues offered full cooperation to answer all and any questions APNU+AFC wanted them to answer, yet they were treated as common criminals by a state that takes special joy in embarrassing and humiliating the Opposition.
The truth is the arrest of Bharat Jagdeo and his colleagues is more a political act intended to distract attention to the rapidly deteriorating conditions in Guyana. As the economy grinds to a halt, crime spirals, public resistance against corruption, the parking meters, VAT on education, health, water, electricity and closure of sugar estates mount, APNU+AFC is seeking a dramatic way to distract people. It will not work. We have come a far way and our freedom is too valuable an asset for us to allow APNU+AFC to so easily seize.
From its first day in office in May 2015, APNU+AFC embarked on an authoritarian and dictatorial path. Besides assaults on the constitution and severe erosion of parliamentary democracy, APNU+AFC has ensured rapid militarization of the government and the public service and has now completed the infrastructure required for a police state.
Guyanese must resist this brazen exercise of power and must stand up for our democracy. This is a dark day in our history and comes at a time when we observe the death anniversary of Guyana’s greatest freedom fighter. None of us are safe in Guyana when a cabal of power-drunk leaders believe they have unrestricted power to harass and intimidate any citizen.
Dr. Leslie Ramsammy