Your Eyewitness will have another go at this sedition business…because this is deadly serious business. Deadly. He just read the account in the Chronic where Ramjattan informed Guyanese why they have NOTHING to fear from Article 18.1 of the Cyber Crimes Bill, which brings the 16th century Common Law charge of “seditious libel” into the 21st century. Before you could be charged if you spoke or wrote something to bring “disaffection” to the Government, now: “ a person can commit an offence of sedition through publication, transmission, online circulation or any other means such as a statement or words, either spoken or written, a text, video, image, sign, visible representation, or other thing.”
And what’s Ramjattan’s assurance that this presents a clear and present danger to our freedom of expression? “I have written major pieces on freedom of expression within the press…and it is not in any way going to affect it.”!! Yes…that’s it!!
And this from a criminal lawyer who knows once a law is on the books, it WILL be used and then the onus is on the ACCUSED to prove he’s not guilty. In most cases in Guyana, political persecution of opponents rests not in the conviction on the charge – but in hauling them before the courts in handcuffs – like what’s happened to Singh and Brassington.
In a divided society like Guyana…the charge is taken as a CONVICTION by the supporters of the Government. And this is what it’s all about – apart from humiliating the opponent. So frankly, my dear reader, Ramjattan’s assurance is as much use as a condom to a eunuch!!
According to the Chronic, Ramjattan then “dispelled myths that a sedition law is bad, stating that it is a “good tool to have in an Executive branch” “!! So giving the Executive a tool for hauling anyone who creates “disaffection” for them into the courts on a CRIMINAL charge, is DISPELLING “myths that a sedition law is bad”?? What next?? Inventing gas chambers in Germany during WWII dispelled the myth that genocide was bad because it gave a “good tool” to Hitler?? for Hitler??
But the worst was the following whopper: “Sedition… is an offence that goes to the heart of civil strife in your country and people publishing letters and all of that, to ensure that there is civil disorder. It’s a part of American law, it is a part of the law of most Commonwealth countries.” Where did this fella study law?
Does he know that “Brandenburg vs Ohio US Supreme Court” deguts the law by restricting it to an IMMINENT threat?? Why didn’t he insert that caveat in Article 18.1??
And the Commonwealth?? What’s “most”?? And how about their caveats??
…on campaign financing
Like pushing constitutional change to hive off powers from the President to the Prime Minister and National Assembly, the AFC used to be all hot and sweaty on campaign financing. Now, after sleeping a la Rip van Winkle, Ramjattan just woke up and decided the issue should now be moved to the front burner!! Of course, it’s got nothing to do with the AFC hoping for a play in the upcoming LGE!!
Ramjattan had the grace to admit the issue had been pushed by the late Sheila Holder – but couldn’t bring himself to admit it had been interred with her bones. After all, had that good lady been alive, your Eyewitness is absolutely certain Ramjattan wouldn’t have been able to give a shout-out to the head of the pharma company IPA – for building their spanking new headquarters!! Even if Trotman called it “political investment”!!
So, with his newfound enthusiasm for campaign financing laws, is Ramjattan going to give back the building to Lloyd Singh?
After all he ain’t been getting many pharma contracts!!
Your Eyewitness was struck by a Muckraker’s headline: “Elderly Commission commences assessment of geriatric homes.”
Even if the aged Justice Trotman made it to Lindo Creek…will this “Elderly Commission” make it to all 21 geriatric homes??