Parliament staff files complaint to ERC against APNU/AFC MP’s racial slurs
– recounts being ‘‘racially abused’’, “kicked in ribs” in bid to protect Mace
Ean McPherson, the Personal Assistant to the Speaker of the National Assembly, has filed a complaint with the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) after he was verbally and physically abused during his bid to protect the Parliament Mace from being seized by the APNU+AFC Opposition on Wednesday evening.
When the APNU+AFC Members of Parliament (MP) snatched the Mace in an attempt to block the passage of the Natural Resource Fund (NRF) Bill, McPherson made it his duty to secure the symbolic object.
Photos and videos went viral of him holding tightly onto the Mace as APNU+AFC Parliamentarian Maureen Philadelphia allegedly hurled racial remarks towards him, calling him names such as “house slave” and “house neg***”.
Guyana Times, along with other media operatives, caught up with McPherson on Thursday as he visited the ERC Secretariat to formally lodge his complaint.
In an interview with reporters, the parliamentary staff recalled that “while performing duties assisting the Speaker, what happened with the Mace and so on, I wasn’t with that. I stood back. As video would show, I stood back and I noticed Ms. Annette Ferguson grabbed the Mace and tried to remove it. I tried to protect the Mace, knowing the seriousness of the Mace, our national treasure, I held on to the Mace and I was flung to the floor. Some of us may have a look at the video which will show you me on the floor, but how did I get on the floor outside of the stairs? That is the next question. I was flung on the floor. I overheard people screaming ‘Kick he! Lash he! Drag he! Let’s throw he over the rails!’. All I said, ‘Throw me over the rails, because I know when I’m going over the rail, I’m going with the Mace’.
“I grabbed the Mace, put it between my legs. They throw me on the ground, dragged me, take me outside, and then Mrs Philadelphia started to abuse me with a series of racial words like ‘house slave’. But the one that caught me and I don’t know how I became a ‘house neg***”. So, I prepared a letter and I dropped it upstairs, and I showed my concerns of how I was treated,” McPherson said.
“I was kicked in my ribs. My foot will show you where fingernails (were imprinted) because I was literally dragged down the corridors,” the man explained, noting that after he was outside, he heard remarks such as, “Y’all leave he now, leave he, once the Mace outside.”
“I told them I ain’t going nowhere. If I going, the Mace going with me, so throw me over. The world will see me and the Mace flying,” McPherson related.
McPherson said he is no hero, but simply a patriotic Guyanese. “I don’t want to be called a hero. I am a patriotic Guyanese. I am a person who’s been paid by the State, so I was basically doing my job as the Assistant to the Mr. Speaker,” he contended.
Asked what he hopes would be the outcome of his complaint to the ERC, McPherson said, “I know for a fact that there is no commission in place, and they will do some investigations. But that is why I did a hard copy to ensure that it is there. What I want is for the world to know that it is time that we move away from racial slurs and calling people names.”
McPherson is 53 years old and has been working as the personal assistant to the Speaker for about a year. McPherson has said he is also a “highly trained military personnel”, having worked with both the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) and the Guyana Police Force (GPF).