Shame on Ogunseye; kudos to the Joint Services

Dear Editor,
Let me remind Guyanese that in October 2022, a former leader of the Canadian Nationalist Party was handed a one-year sentence on a hate speech charge, after he called for the genocide of Jewish people. He did so in a video posted on the party’s website and social media accounts. This incident, one of many of this type, came back to me as I ruminated on the racial/racist diatribe and ‘call to violence’ that emanated from the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) executive member, Tacuma Ogunseye, who angrily stated that “The Afro Guyanese dominated Police and soldiers… would stand with Afro Guyanese in resisting the mainly Indo-Guyanese supported PPP/C.” His resort to this kind of rhetoric smacks of ‘immediate violence’ as he ‘preached’ at Buxton that “We come to tell you that we will ensure that our brothers and sisters in uniform do the right thing and this thing will be over quickly.”
Editor, I am incensed at this appalling behaviour, but not surprised.  I go back to April 2011, when the said Ogunseye intimated violence.  At that juncture, the belligerent activist stated that “The winner-takes-all political system is not in the best interest of Guyana. It creates the possibility of race domination. We (ACDA) believe that the African community should fight for shared governance in a constitutional struggle though protest or “all other things” that are part of a political struggle to win constitutional reform for shared governance.”
Now he has upped the ante and seems desperate. So, I join the condemning chorus and my remarks here are quite necessary.
First, it is good to note that the Joint Services Chairman, Brigadier Godfrey Bess, is calling on “…social and political activists and commentators to refrain from making remarks which would incite racial tensions and deviate from the promotion of the peace and security, which the armed forces are mandated to maintain.”  This is timely, and it comes over as both a rebuke against Ogunseye, and an appeal for ‘rightful actions’ from those he is trying to sway.
Brigadier Bess must be commended for his intervention, reminding all that “… irrespective of its ethnic composition, the Joint Services of Guyana is an apolitical institution and will continue to uphold the noble position of service to the people of Guyana.”
I hope this sinks in; Ogunseye needs reform. After all, Guyana, as a democracy, “… is guided by the Constitution, (and this) mandates the body’s protection of the (sanctity of the) law, the execution of its duties, in keeping with its constitutional responsibilities, and not by any partisan values and interests.” Up to this point, kudos to the Joint Services of Guyana.
Secondly, as is his wont, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, SC, who is also Secretary of the Defence Board, pitched right in, and said: “I feel compelled to condemn in the strongest possible terms, the exhortations by Tacuma Ogunseye to the Armed Forces of Guyana to join a mass uprising against the lawful and democratically elected Government of Guyana, referencing the Forces’ ‘ready access to weapons’, for them to be ‘battle ready’, and preying to the dominant Afro-Guyanese composition of the said Forces.” This is like an OMG.
To Ogunseye, I say that his ‘call for violence’ and his ‘appeal to race’ seem quite protuberant. In fact, Ogunseye comes over as remote and detached. Whom is he speaking to? Who will listen to him? The members of the Joint Forces, in the height of the ignominious rigging attempts, did not misconduct themselves. Will they now besmirch themselves? More so, for a nonentity like Ogunseye?
Anil Nandlall was poignant, referencing his retort in unambiguous legal language. He explicated that this “racist incendiary call” for public disorder and resistance, positioned as an alternative to the democratic process of Local Government Elections lawfully due, is capable of amounting to several criminal offences, including but not limited to sedition, seditious libel, inciting riotous behaviour and exciting racial hostility in order to create a breakdown of law and order within the State of Guyana, if not treason.”  Simply put, the AG is letting him know that his inflammatory outburst is not about being irresponsible and even diabolical. It is bucking the legal framework of Guyana.
Indeed, I concur with the AG that “Certainly, such inflammatory publications cannot be justified under the rubric of freedom of expression as guaranteed by the Constitution, since Article 146 which guarantees such freedom, expressly excepts “…hate speeches or other expressions, in whatever form, capable of exciting hostility or ill-will against any person or class of persons” [Article 146 (3)],”
I reiterate what Nandlall intoned, that “The unvarnished truth is that persons such as Tacuma Ogunseye and those of his ilk are of a bygone era, stuck in a time warp long gone, and for which there is no place in modern Guyana, and indeed, in any modern democratic society.”
Editor, I close by agreeing that “… we cannot become complacent and ignore these dangerous threats intended to strike at the foundation of the freedoms we enjoy and the rule of law, which protects us as a civilised nation.”
I therefore call for legal consequences to be meted out to Ogunseye.
Guyana must never suffer a recidivism; the pre 1992 era must remain buried.

Yours truly,
H Singh