A.P.N.U views the threat by the Minister of Housing and Water, Mr. Irfaan Ali, to file a libel suit against Dr. Rupert Roopnarine and the Stabroek News as yet another attempt by the ruling party to bully the private media into submission. The constant pressure on the private media to censor every word they print or broadcast from the opposition is contrary to the spirit and letter of freedom of expression as guaranteed by the constitution. The ruling party is clearly abusing its authority in pursuit of a vindictive agenda against those whom it perceives to be critical of its stewardship of the country.
Mr. Ali’s remarks might have resonated with Guyanese, had he similarly renounced the provocative, racist and inciting remarks of his President after that disgraceful presentation at Babu John.
It is an undisguised attempt to deny the A.P.N.U and other opposition forces avenues to get their messages out to the general public. When one considers that the government media are off limits to the opposition while functioning as the mouthpieces of the ruling party, the dictatorial agenda of the PPP/C is clear for all to see. A.P.N.U also notes the twin objective of starving owners of the private media. It is nothing short of an assault on the right to earn a living.
Mr. Ali’s claim that Dr. Roopnarine, in a reference to the fictional character Ali Baba during his speech at an APNU rally, suggested he was corrupt is clearly a case of hypersensitivity. It is an attempt to distract the populace from the real issues surrounding the PPP/C’s record in government. Likewise his charge of religious bigotry is so laughable it would ordinarily not deserve comment. Suffice to say that the PPP/C may do well to examine its own attitude to racial, religious and cultural harmony in Guyana. The PPP is clearly feeling and hearing the wrath of the Guyanese people over its governance of Guyana and is running scared. But the resort to bullying and scare tactics will not cover 19 years of economic mismanagement and political arrogance.
A.P.N.U calls on all fair-minded Guyanese and their organizations to condemn, as we do, in the strongest terms this brazen march down the road of political barbarism. When a nation remains silent in the face of bullying in high places, it surrenders its power of rebuke and oversight and encourages harsher forms of state misbehavior.