ERC still probing controversial statements by Jordan, Nagamootoo

ERC Chairman John Smith
ERC Chairman John Smith

The Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) is still investigating the recent calls made by Finance Minister Winston Jordan and Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo for protests and “war break” at the Government outreach held in Bartica, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) some weeks ago.

The high-ranking Government officials made those comments following the Caribbean Court of Justice’s ruling that the No-Confidence Motion filed by the Opposition was validly passed, thus toppling the Government.

During the meeting, which was held in Bartica the same day as the Court’s ruling, the ministers pointed out that the David Granger-led administration is not prepared to call elections unless House-to-House registration is carried out, regardless of what the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) or anyone says. It was then that the ministers called for protests with Finance Minister Winston Jordan taking a step further saying “war break”. These statements led to the Opposition – Peoples Progressive Party – filing complaints with both the Police and the ERC.

Chairman of the Commission, Dr John Smith, explained to INews that such complaints are usually forwarded to a special unit to conduct the probe.

“What normally happens when these complaints come in and they have been quite a number, we pass them on to one of the units we have— Investigative Unit— and they do the investigation and then they report back to the commission,” he said.

Finance Minister Winston Jordan at the outreach in Bartica, Region 7

However, the Chairman was unable to say exactly when the probe will be completed but assured that the report by the Opposition is being acted upon.

Further, he explained that the Investigative Unit usually goes to the part of the country where such statements were made to investigate thoroughly.

Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo

About two weeks ago, the Chairman acknowledged that the body was in receipt of the letter and it was forwarded to the Investigation Unit. After the evaluation is completed, commissioners will make their input to determine the final outcome.

Asked whether the Commission had expressed concerns over the series of events, Smith noted that it is too early to determine since the letter was sent just a couple of days ago.