Home Letters ERC court action intended to discourage violators
The Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) has moved to the courts recently, and is working vigorously to stop the spread of racial incitement among Guyanese, especially on social media.
The ERC commenced legal action against seven defaulters – three in December, 2020 and four in January, 2021. When their cases were called in the Georgetown Magistrates Court, five persons pleaded guilty to offences committed separately. The charges filed were for exciting hostility or ill-will on the grounds of race under the Racial Hostility Act, and for causing racial or ethnic violence or hatred under the Representation of the People Act.
The five defendants who pleaded guilty – John Gobin, Lashonna Chester, Stacy Smartt, Glynis Gibson and Tiffiny Greene – were all fined for the offences committed on separate dates.
The two defendants who pleaded not guilty – Surendrapaul Rampersaud and Steve Anthony Barakat – will attend court separately when their cases resume. Barakat’s case at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court was adjourned by Magistrate Leron Daly to March 1, 2021 for trial, while Rampersaud’s matter was adjourned to March 19 by Magistrate Peter Hugh at the Fort Wellington Magistrate’s Court, West Coast Berbice.
The ERC is again urging citizens to promote tolerance and understanding, especially towards those of different ethnicities, in order to create a better country.