Church blasts editorial for alleged racial incitement
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Friday July 06, 2012 – The Roman Catholic Church has lambasted the state-owned Guyana Chronicle for an editorial that has been viewed in some quarters as seeking to incite race-hatred between African Guyanese and East Indians.
“The contents of this editorial crossed by no small measure the acceptable lines of responsible opinion choosing instead to use thinly disguised inflammatory language,” said the Justice of Peace Commission (JPC), an arm of the Catholic Church, in a statement.
The July 3 editorial read in part:
“Black youths are socialised by opposition leaders to think that Indians robbed them to get rich, so they automatically feel that they have to wrest by force, even murder, anything Indians have. Hatred of Indians is ingrained into their psyche. Many Indian persons, who grew up in the arms of black people in rural communities have today become fearful anytime a black youth gets too close to them.
“So the PNC [Peoples National Congress]did not only make Indians their victims, but they also made their own supporters their victims, because the most innocent, clean-living black youths are just as suspect as the perpetrators as a result of the difficulty to tell the difference between a criminal and a decent person.”
The Chronicle also warned PNC leaders that some young Black men would not only attack Indians but would “turn their voracious ways toward PNC supporters, which has been happening for a while now.”
Saying it was “deeply disturbed” by the state-owned newspaper’s editorial, the JPC cautioned against such comments from any source in a plural society with a continuing history of delicately poised race relations.
“The JPC believes that the reckless posture taken in the editorial represents a patent ethnic appeal and could encourage incitement,” the arm of the RC Church added.
The JPC observed that words used in the editorial seek to castigate and condemn one race to convey a particular message.
Rather than sowing seeds of distrust, antagonism and reciprocal hatreds, the Roman Catholic organisation urged the Guyana Chronicle and all media houses to exercise greater responsibility in putting forward opinion pieces in terms of the positions taken and how they are presented to the reading public.
“There is no justification for any such statements, appeals, or positions, at any time from any source,” the JPC stated.
The JPC recommended that the emphasis should be, and could be, more appropriately focused on the struggle for consensus and harmony.