In light of the recent incident where a grenade was thrown near a vehicle belonging to Kaieteur News’ Publisher, Glenn Lall, outside of his media house, Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo has condemned the act stating that any attack on press freedom is reprehensible and as such, the perpetrators must be brought to justice.
During a press briefing today, Jagdeo told reporters that any attack on people’s right of expression, people’s ability to gather and freely disseminate their ideas, should be condemned, and if that is what truly happened with regards to the grenade being thrown outside of Kaieteur News, then this act should be condemned strongly.
However, Jagdeo posited that when he saw the first press release from the APNU+AFC government after the incident, the administration ‘rightly’ in the first paragraph condemned the attack, but after viewing the entire release one could see that three-quarters of the write-up sought to direct the police investigation in the direction of the PPP.
“They listed five things that the PPP did. Well the grenade was never thrown at Glenn Lall in the PPP’s period…secondly, when he was scared, running scared in New York hiding out in the period when we had the politically inspired crime wave in the early 2000s, we actually gave him…we allowed his body guards, because he was threatened …to have a license for their weapons…he said he wasn’t coming back because he was scared, so we allowed him”.
He emphasised that there are many possibilities as to who could have been responsible for the grenade attack and the police investigators probing the incident should and must keep an open mind on the matter.
In exploring a number of possibilities in this regard, Jagdeo noted that the police have several options that they can consider, and using the government’s direction, if one opines that the PPP is responsible, then police ranks should keep an open mind about this as well.
“I know we did not, but they should look into that and the reason I am saying we did not, is because our track record is clean… for all the years we have been in office we have never had that even with the most hostile criticisms against us by Glenn Lall, …we didn’t use political power to suppress him”, he added.
Jagdeo suggested that the law enforcement authorities should also explore other options, including the fact that it could have been the work of persons in the political hierarchy in response to the negative coverage the newspaper has been giving to certain key officials recently.
The Opposition Leader also said that it could have even been done by the KN publisher himself so as to get attention in order to increase sales of the paper which he claimed has been dwindling over the past few months.
Less than three weeks ago, a grenade was lobbed outside the offices of the Kaieteur News, at Saffon Street, Charlestown, where most of the staff had gathered for a wake for one of its senior crime reporters and Sunday editor, Dale Andrews.