PROTESTS: Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon condemns President’s “rape” accusations

Joseph Harmon

Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon on Thursday condemned President Irfaan Ali’s claims that protesters against the killing of three youths had also raped innocent people.

“There are no known police reports of any rape associated with recent protest actions. Yet Mr. Ali, in his statement, among other charges said ‘raping people’s children has nothing to do with justice.’ What rape Mr. Ali? This is a figment of your speechwriter’s imagination,” Mr. Harmon said.       

The Opposition Leader stopped short of calling the President a liar. “You are baselessly branding protesters as rapists. It is disrespectful, contemptuous and an expression of disdain for those Guyanese who are outraged at the heinous killing of Isaiah and Joel Henry and most recently Haresh Singh and Chatterpaul Harripaul,” said Mr. Harmon.

The Guyana Police Force refused to respond to several requests by reporters about whether there were any reports of rape and burning of rice fields.  The Office of the President later issued a corrected text version of the President’s address that included no reference to incidents of rape.

Mr. Harmon said Dr. Ali’s statements were “irresponsible and false.” “We view the false statement by Mr. Ali as premeditated and designed to incite the public and stoke ethnic animosity among our people,” the Opposition Leader said. Mr. Harmon added that the incumbent People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) has consistently misused the spectre of rape to fearmonger and incite public hostility.

The Opposition Leader recalled similar statements had been made by PPP representatives in and out of government, a practice, he said, belittles rape victims.

Against the background of President Ali saying that the Ethnic Relations Commission would be asked to probe alleged statements by Mr. Harmon and Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) David Granger that incited tensions on the West Coast of Berbice, the Opposition Leader called for the removal of Ethnic Relations Commissioner Roshan Khan due to a Facebook post. “The APNU+AFC coalition rejects the PPP politicisation and use of the ERC. Further, we call for the immediate removal of Mr. Roshan Khan from the Ethnic Relations Commission following his divisive and racial statements on Social Media. He is no longer fit to sit on the ERC and must be removed forthwith,” he said.

Mr. Harmon said he and other coalition members have been traversing the West Berbice and other areas calling for peaceful protests.

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  • kamtanblog  On 09/11/2020 at 3:40 am

    Most MSM main stream media are politically biased.
    SM social media has reduced MSM influences considerably.
    Most of my info source is not from TV or MSM
    It’s from my iPhone !
    Maximum choice !
    FB is now practicing
    “censorship” …banning
    customers for 24-48 hours for passing on
    “inappropriate” material.

    Is social media under attack or to be regulated ?
    You decide !

    Kamtan uk-ex-EU

  • The Blue Man  On 09/11/2020 at 10:55 am

    I am not sure about President Ali’s statement bout “rape” but what about THE RAPING DONE in WISMAR, BY PNC THUGS and up today no one was or is charged.? Eh Mr Harmon? Would like you to answer this ?

    • William  On 09/11/2020 at 7:10 pm

      Ali’s statement was baseless and irresponsible at this time. But about your PNC reference I will say to you the same thing that I replied to Kman with in one of his previous post.

      “You need to come with a different tune because the PNC jingle is outdated. Jagdeo is dealing with people of this generation…..remember the year 2020??? Cheddi is dead and Burnham is dead and have been for years. The problem now lies within this government and Jagdeo. A lot of these protesters were either not born or just children during the Cheddi and Burnham era so they have no axe to grind with them. What they do remember is 23 years of PPP rule, 12 of which was under Jagdeo and his reign of terror. So there lies the problem and it’s one that better get fixed FAST if Guyana is to survive as a nation”. .

      • Ram esh  On 09/11/2020 at 9:14 pm

        “ …remember the year 2020??? Cheddi is dead and Burnham is dead and have been for years,” says William. So what?

        The year might be 2020 but only a fool would dismiss history. The seed of division was sown during the Burnham era. The gulf of the racial divide is always simmering below the surface. The question is, what can we do about it? We can’t deny its existence. We can’t wish it away.

        To cancel what preceded Jagdeo and to only focus on his years in office is like saying that slavery and colonialism are a myth. That it never happened. That man never set foot on the Moon.

        The modus operandi of the British was to conquer and divide. That is the ugly legacy they left Guyana. That is what they handed their puppet Burnham and the PNC. That sordid legacy set the wheels in motion.

        Therefore why is anyone surprised to see the deep seated lingering hate in the country? Try and pitch your straw man argument elsewhere.


  • Doro  On 09/11/2020 at 2:27 pm

    So what is the purpose of social media if it is not platform to share and promote debate of national and international issues? Who is the prestine judge of what should or should not be shared?

  • Dolly  On 09/11/2020 at 2:31 pm

    So what is the purpose of FB if it is not a forum to encourage sharing and debate of issues national and international. Furthermore, who is the prestine judge that decides what is worthy/unworthy or unshare?

  • William  On 09/12/2020 at 1:03 pm

    I was wondering what happened to you and your dribble. Why is the government asking for assistance from the British if they were so bad for Guyana. History is history and yes I still maintain that this crop of protesters are dealing with the present not something they know nothing about. As for my strawman argument, remember that straw burns and spreads very quickly so the government better have water in their hydrogens.

    • Curtis  On 09/12/2020 at 1:37 pm

      William just ignore these people. Instead of beating their Tassa drums they should be praying for a peaceful outcome of recent activities in Guyana.

  • brandli62  On 09/13/2020 at 11:11 am

    “The Office of the President later issued a corrected text version of the President’s address that included no reference to incidents of rape.”

    I am now confused. Did the President’s address include reference to incidents of rape? Is there a recording of it? If he did and there is no longer a reference in the text version, then President Ali should explain what had happened and apologise, if he had been mistaken with references to rape incidents. In such a heated atmosphere any steps to deescalation should be taken.

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