PSC slams Govt for honouring convicted terrorist Abdool Kadir
The Private Sector Commission (PSC) has strongly condemned the motion laid in the National Assembly by the A Partnership for National Unity, Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Administration honouring convicted terrorist, Abdool Kadir.
The Private Sector body blasted the Government mere days after two out of the three ABC countries and the European Union (EU) joined in condemning the Guyana Administration’s actions.
The United States and the United Kingdom made it clear that the motion was inappropriate, with the US Embassy in Georgetown issuing a strongly-worded statement in which it questioned the coalition Government’s commitment to the rule of law.
On Friday, the PSC in a release to the media said it is “appalled and deeply disappointed” in the move made by the Administration to honour Kadir.
“The Commission considers this statement to be highly damaging to the good name and reputation of our country and wholly offensive. The Commission holds the view that the statement is completely unrepresentative of the well-established and declared position of our Government and of our Parliamentary Opposition in condemning any and all forms of national and international terrorism”, the PSC stated in a missive to the press.
According to the PSC, it finds the motion “abhorrent” to the entire business community and the citizens of Guyana at large.
In this regard, the Private Sector Commission urged the Government to revisit the position it has taken as well as make arrangements to correct this flawed message sent to the international community which is dubbed “terrible and unfortunate”.
The motion – Sympathy on the Death of Mr Abdul Kadir, former Member of Parliament – was tabled by newly-transferred Junior Agriculture Minister Valerie Adams-Yearwood in Parliament on Friday last.
The motion states: “Be it resolved that this National Assembly records its deep regret on the death of Mr Abdul Kadir on 28th June, 2018, and pays tribute to his dedicated service to the Parliament of Guyana as a Member of Parliament, where he served in the Eighth Parliament, from 17th April 2001, to 2nd May 2006, and to the people of Guyana. “The people of Linden and Guyana have lost a great man, a stalwart; a bold and courageous man. So I ask this National Assembly that we direct an expression of sympathy (to) be conveyed to his sorrowing widow, children, grandchildren and relatives,” Minister Adams-Yearwood said as she tabled the motion, which was eventually carried in the absence of the PPP/C Opposition.
Kadir, a former PNC MP and Mayor of Linden, died back in June 2018 in a penitentiary in the United States of America, where he had been serving a life sentence for plotting a 2007 terrorist attack at the John F Kennedy International Airport, New York.
Since the announcement, Government has come under scrutiny from several local and international stakeholders. The US was quick to lash out against the motion and in a statement noted its position of dissatisfaction.
The US declared that members of Government chose to honour a man who “conspired to kill innocent people from across the United States and around the world. This resolution is an insensitive and thoughtless act, which demonstrates the National Assembly’s disregard for the gravity of Kadir’s actions”.
British High Commissioner to Guyana, Gregory Quinn threw his support behind the US Embassy’s statement, noting in a tweet on Monday that the Government’s actions were inappropriate.
“The UK shares the concerns of our US friends about the honouring of convicted terrorist Abdul Kadir,” Quinn wrote in his statement. “Terrorism affects us all and we believe this action was inappropriate.”
The EU also came out against the Government’s actions. “The EU Delegation notes with surprise the honouring of former MP Abdul Kadir in the National Assembly of Guyana and believes that eulogising a person convicted of terrorist acts is inappropriate,” the Delegation stated.
After the rising indignation against the motion to honour Kadir, Government released a statement on Monday saying that honouring Kadir is in keeping with “time-honoured convention”.
“It is well known that there is a time-honoured convention of the National Assembly to observe, in a standard and solemn form, the work of former Members who are deceased. The observance of this tradition has never been selective, and has included, over the decades, persons of all political parties and persuasions who served in the National Assembly”.
“The Government of Guyana regrets the interpretation given to the motion passed in the National Assembly on April 26 on the death of Abdul Kadir, a former Member of Parliament. The Government of Guyana asserts that it had no intention of conveying the impression that the motion was designed to honour a former MP convicted of terrorism in another jurisdiction”, the Government stated.
According to the Government in its statement, the motion was intended to recognise Kadir’s service as a parliamentarian since he would have served in the National Assembly as a member of the People’s National Congress (PNC) from 2001 to 2006.
Meanwhile, the Opposition – People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) – has since denounced the act by the Government saying that such a motion is another act of betrayal of democracy and the rule of law.