Ferguson for trial on September 13 over “killing squad” FB post

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APNU+AFC Member of Parliament Annette Ferguson will go on trial from September 13, 2021 on a cybercrime charge over a Facebook post in which she stated that Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Colonel Omar Khan is part of a “killing squad”.

Ferguson, who served as Junior Minister of Public Infrastructure under the previous APNU+AFC Government, was charged with the offence earlier this month and released on self-bail.

She denied the charge which stated that on June 15, 2021, she used a computer system to humiliate the senior GDF rank. At her last court hearing on July 26, Ferguson, who is being represented by Attorney-at-law Lyndon Amsterdam, was served with statements. Her trial will begin in September before Senior Magistrate Leron Daly at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.

The senior Guyana Defence Force rank is reported to have made a complaint with the Cyber Crime Unit after Ferguson, in a Facebook post, said he will be in charge of a killing squad.

As such, the former Government Minister was called in for questioning at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Headquarters. Police subsequently instituted the charge against her after receiving advice from the chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

After Ferguson’s arrest, members of the 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.

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 dismissed Harmon’s remarks.

“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.

The Home Affairs Minister further 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.

Benn has said that the Opposition Leader’s statements were not only grossly untrue but are of malicious intent. In fact, he said that Harmon’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.

Meanwhile, over at the Demerara High Court, Attorney General Anil Nandlall, SC, has filed a $20 million lawsuit against Ferguson, whom he alleged made certain slanderous statements against him.