Govt must apologise for and recant tribute to convicted terrorist

Dear Editor,
The honouring of convicted (by an American court) terrorist Abdul Kadir by the Guyana Parliament (and by extension APNU/AFC Government) is shameful and disgraceful. It is very insensitive to America and Guyanese Americans reeling from terrorism on US soil since the 1990s; many Guyanese Americans were victims of terrorism in America. Paying tribute to a terrorist is worse than the ‘feral blast’ prepared by Presidential Secretary Roger Luncheon, approved by then President Donald Ramotar, and innocently uttered by two PPP MPs in 2014. The Kadir tribute has brought dishonour to the Guyana Parliament. Every Guyanese should condemn and dissociate from this tribute.
Kadir, who admitted that he was part of a plot to kill Americans in a mass terror blast, is not deserving of any praise or honour. In seeking to praise this mass murderer, the APNU/AFC Government has brought the country under international scrutiny and opprobrium. It is a sign of the international reprobation this extremist position has sparked among democratic nations in the West. This is a very big embarrassment for our country. Those responsible should be held accountable.
The Kadir tribute suggests that the APNU/AFC Government cannot be counted upon to protect America’s interest in the Caribbean region or northeast South America. America should seek to build alliances with NGOs and other political forces willing to secure its interests in Guyana. The idea of Guyana America Friendship Association (GAFA) initiated during the struggle for the restoration of democracy in Guyana in the early 1990s and should be re-birthed and launched in Guyana to take up this issue of building a security strategic and economic alliance with the US. GAFA was formed to foster closer commercial, political, strategic, and diplomatic ties between Guyana and the United States with the goal of building a strong and durable partnership between both countries.
Contrary to what Government politicians say, offering a tribute to a terrorist in the West is not a trivial matter. Thousands could have been killed or wounded in worse ways than what happened on 9/11. The US Government is upset about the tribute to Kadir and has used strong language condemning the Government motion to honour a mass killer.
The ABC countries did the right thing by condemning the Government for honouring Kadir and the US Ambassador is within her right to criticise the Government. Almost every Guyanese American, save a few Government sycophants, stands by her harsh words against the Government. As the representative of America in Guyana, it is her right to speak out on matters impacting on her country. Someone plotting to kill Americans is the business of the Ambassador; he does not deserve recognition.
The diaspora I have spoken with in America and Canada almost unanimously dissociates itself from this tribute to the terrorist Kadir. Only some supporters of APNU, and none who are supportive of AFC, endorse the tribute praising Kadir. Every PPP supporter strongly condemns the tribute to Kadir. One cannot praise a man plotting to kill people.
The tribute paid to the convicted terrorist was carried on the national news networks in America, bringing ridicule to the Guyanese nation including the hundreds of thousands of Guyanese Americans. Guyanese Americans could become victims as a result of this tribute to an anti-American terrorist. The Guyanese diaspora apologises to the American nation and urges the APNU/AFC Government to immediately recant the tribute.
The Government made a blunder to honour this man. No one could quite understand why the Government would adopt such an insensitive position as relates to America at a time when America has been cracking down on terrorists and Governments harbouring them. America has done so for Guyana – restored democratic governance in 1992 – that we should not do anything hurtful to Washington. America is a friendly partner to Guyana siding with Guyana against Venezuela.
America is also responsible for removing the PPP Government in installing the PNC in December 1964 and again in May 2015. Every Guyanese American is hurt by an act of terrorism against America and condemns such an act against their adopted (host) country. The Government seems to have forgotten that there are probably more Guyanese (and their descendants) in America than there are in Guyana and honouring a terrorist would be an issue which would adversely impact them. When Kadir conspired with other Islamic terrorists to blow up JFK, he did not care how many people would be murdered. Guyanese who use that airport to travel back and forth between Guyana and America would also have been among the victims.
And even if Guyanese would not have been victims, such violence is unacceptable. The world has suffered a lot from terrorism including most recently in Sri Lanka, New Zealand, and India.
The Guyana Government could have spent time and money paying tribute to the victims of terrorism rather than spending so much money and time recognising and praising a terrorist.
The APNU/AFC Government should issue an unqualified apology to the US and to Guyanese Americans for this insensitive act. The nation should pressure the Government to adopt such a position.
And every Guyanese in the diaspora should unswervingly commit to joining in the fight against terrorism.

Yours truly,
Dr Vishnu Bisram