Journalist and former Information Liaison under the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) Administration, Kwame McCoy, is claiming that there are efforts being made to use Guyana’s criminal justice system to target him because of his journalistic and political work he has been involved in over the years.
McCoy who is currently before the Court on assault charges against political activist Mark Benschop in a press statement, today called on human rights organisations in Guyana and other relevant agencies to condemn these efforts to persecute him, saying that in the end he is confident he will be vindicated.
The following is the full statement:
After several months of intolerable harrassment at the hands of the Guyana Police Force, I am convinced that there is a political agenda to use the criminal justice system to witch-hunt me because of journalistic and political activism.
Over the last few months, I have had to endure several days of imprisonment; I spent numerous hours at police stations; I gave several statements to the police; I have been asked innumerable questions; attempts have been made to frame me for murder; I have been charged with an assault which allegedly took place over five (5) years ago; although assault is one of the most trivial charges known to criminal law, I have been taken to court in chains.
The latest series of harassment are concocted charges that I assaulted Mark Benschop; damaged his motor vehicle and that I stole from the same. This incident is alleged to have occurred again some five (5) years ago.
I submitted a written statement explaining that I was nowhere in the vicinity at the time this incident is alleged to have taken place. The police claimed that they have an eye-witness. Myself and Attorney-at-law requested the name of this witness. We also requested to have a confrontation with this witness. Both of these requests were denied.
My Attorney-at-law submitted statements from three different eye-witnesses who were present at the time of the when the incident was alleged to have occurred. All of these persons confirmed that I was not at the scene and that I came on the scene some 15 minutes or more after the incident occurred.
These statements were submitted to the police in a timely manner with a request that they be included in my file which was being reviewed by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) and or the Police Legal Advisor (PLA). The police refused to include those statements in that file or to send them subsequently to the DPP and or PLA.
I reiterate, that I am in no doubt that I am being persecuted because of my journalistic and political activism; I am in no doubt also that the criminal justice system will continue to be used and misused as a political weapon against me.
I call on the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) and on all other human rights organisations in Guyana; I call on the DPP; I call on the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR); I call on the Police Complaint Authority (PCA); I call on those in charge of the Administration of justice; I call on our Diplomatic Community; I call on the CARICOM Secretary-General and I call on every peace- loving Guyanese and on all political leaders to condemn this political persecution of me.
I will endure this ordeal and I have no doubt that my innocence will be vindicated in the end. I am strong, I worry not for myself but for the other victims that will follow, for I am confident I will not be the last.