Opposition Member of Parliament (MP) Amanza Walton-Desir has filed a Police complaint against businessman and former Ethnic Relations Commissioner, Roshan Khan, over what she described as threatening posts made on his social media account.
Walton-Desir is currently facing major public backlash and condemnation for referring to supporters of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) as “mentally lazy”.
She attempted to clarify her offending statement, claiming that it was never about Indo-Guyanese specifically.
Khan reportedly made a series of social media posts for Indo-Guyanese to picket the parliamentarian and everywhere she goes, including her home.
It was against this backdrop that she filed a complaint at the Brickdam Police Station on Monday night. As a result of this, Walton-Desir was invited Tuesday morning to the Guyana Police Force’s Headquarters to give her statement.
“I was asked to come down to the Cyber Crime Unit [Tuesday] morning in furtherance of my complaint… against Mr Roshan Khan for the comments he put up on his Facebook page, calling for me to be “marked”… and to call for my home to be picketed. I am a woman, I am a mother and I have a family,” the MP posited.
Walton-Desir added that during her near two-hour visit to the Police HQ at Eve Leary, the officers were professional and took her statement as well as the evidence that she had to present.
According to her, the utterances by Khan is especially irresponsible since he was a Commissioner at the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC). Further, she expressed concerns for her safety.
“Mentally lazy” comments
Meanwhile, Walton-Desir herself had come under fire over her comments about supporters of the PPP, which were made during a recent show “Politics 101” hosted by the Working People’s Alliance’s (WPA) Dr David Hinds, who was present and nodded in approval to said comments.
“Unfortunately, that part of the political divide on the PPP have a base that prefer if they say this is what is going to happen, men are going to come and rape your children, they believe that. Because the burden of sorting things out for themselves, is too great,” Walton-Desir said during the show.
“And so they remain trapped, all the while believing they are free to think and self-determine. They don’t have the freedom of self-determination. Because freedom requires responsibility… so we have a bunch of mentally lazy people. The PPP understands this very very well and so they capitalise on it,”
Walton-Desir added, to nods of affirmation from Dr Hinds.
Walton-Desir had gone on to insist that the other side of the political divide, the supporters of A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC), possessed these self-determining qualities.
“Contrast the supporters of the PNC for example, who are far more inquisitive and enquiring and who have a greater appreciation of the democratic process,” Walton-Desir said during the show.
However, PPP Executive Member and current Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister, Anil Nandlall has slammed the Opposition MP for her comments, noting that her stereotypical analysis is “completely misconceived” and “palpably wrong.”
“More importantly, her utterances are downright racist, discriminatory and absolutely repulsive. Utterances like those have no place in any modern, democratic and civilised society, moreover, one which is as multi-ethnic as ours.
Indeed, protection against such stereotyping is guaranteed to every citizen of this land as a fundamental right by the Constitution of Guyana. That a parliamentarian, masquerading as a political leader from the official, constitutional Opposition in a country can conceive those thoughts and worse yet, proceed to express them, publicly, is evidence of a demented mind and decayed political culture,” Nandlall contended.
Moreover, the Indian Action Committee (IAC) has since lodged a complaint with the ERC, saying it is impossible, given Guyana’s political context, to mistake the MP’s comments for anything but a racial attack.
“The IAC believes that such comments have no place in our society and is unbecoming of someone who holds the esteem position of a Member of Parliament. Having viewed her comments as racially insensitive, offensive and derogatory, the IAC has since lodged an official complaint with the ERC and has brought it to the attention of the Honorable Speaker of the National Assembly,” the organisation said in a missive.