Some 80% of racially-insensitive complaints come from social media – ERC

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ERC Chairman John Smith

Some 80% of the complaints received by the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) regard incidents on social media; more specifically Facebook, with a total of 89 out of 102 complaints.

This revelation was made on Wednesday by the ERC, which said its capacity to productively probe these incidents is limited by factors such as the use of fake profiles to make racially-insensitive posts or comments.

Other factors limiting its capacity to investigate include challenges such as private user profiles, or the unavailability of the accused person’s legal name, address or contact information; or the accused residing out of Guyana, making jurisdiction an issue.

As a result of those limitations, the ERC has adopted two courses. First, it has published the posts and faces of persons against whom complaints have been made through social media in the “Persons of Interest” initiative. This has generated positive feedback, with the public’s assistance and in some cases the co-operation of the accused.

The ERC has said that individuals such as Chaitram Goberdhan, called “Bounty”; Lucra Adams, Lashana Chester, Mollyann Moonsammy, Marcel Haymer and Tifany Greene have contacted the Commission. The practice of publishing the posts and faces of persons of interest will be done periodically, and the Commission is relying on the public’s assistance in identifying offenders.

Nevertheless, the ERC said it has been diligently conducting investigations into complaints received, and has been adopting measures to bring amicable resolutions to racial and ethnic issues in the discharge of its constitutional mandate.