The Director of Public Prosecutions has advised the Guyana Police Force to charge former minister and current Opposition Member of Parliament Annette Ferguson for cyberbullying a senior member of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF).
Ferguson was arrested on June 30 by ranks of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Headquarters at Eve Leary after a report in relation to a cybercrime allegation was filed against her, and was later released on her own recognizance.
This newspaper was told on Wednesday that the DPP has advised the Police to charge Ferguson under section 195(5)(a) of the Cybercrime Act No. 16 of 2018, which deals with using a computer system to humiliate a person.
Following her arrest on June 30, the GPF, in a statement, had said: “The [complainant] is a senior member of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) who made the allegation against Ms Ferguson in relation to a Facebook social media post which falsely alleged that the said senior GDF rank will be in charge of a killing squad.”
Without fear or favour
After her arrest, however, members of the APNU/AFC Opposition had come out attacking the Police Force and the PPP/C Government. But Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn condemned this, especially remarks made by Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon in a statement.
Harmon had claimed that Ferguson was arrested on spurious grounds, and that it was a clear case of political persecution against the Opposition Member. The Opposition Leader also called for the withdrawal of what he said are “spurious, baseless and politically motivated charges.”
However, Benn in a subsequent missive responding to Harmon, rejected the assertions made by the Opposition Leader.
“Mr Harmon, of all persons, should need no reminding that all persons – inclusive of Members of Parliament and also members of the APNU/AFC – are subject to the Laws of Guyana, adherence to which the Guyana Police Force is duty bound to enforce without fear or favour,” Benn posited.
Further, the Home Affairs Minister went on to address what he described as Harmon’s now natural reflexive instincts of making unwarranted attacks about partisan “…political persecution…”, “…weaponizing of the Guyana Police Force…” along with dire warnings of civil unrest.
According to Benn, these are not only grossly untrue, but are of malicious intent.
In fact, the Minister outlined that the Opposition Leader’s statement seems intent on continuing the effort to shield and protect from judicial review lawbreaking by persons who are intent on precipitating a breakdown of law and order and the undermining of democracy by initiating civil unrest.