ERC aims for “fair resolution” over use of word “negro” in official police reports

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

The Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) is aiming for a fair and just resolution over the use of the word “negro” in official reports prepared by the Guyana Police Force (GPF).

This comes on the heels of a letter of complaint which was issued to the Commission by Attorney-at-Law Nigel Hughes.

In raising his concerns about the Police Force’s use of the derogatory word in its official reports, Hughes cited Article 149 of Guyana’s Constitution and several other pieces of legislation, which commits to equality and non-discrimination, and mandates that all citizens be treated with respect and fairness.

The Attorney’s letter to the Commission stemmed from the Police Force’s initial description of Working People’s Alliance (WPA) activist, Kidackie Amsterdam as a “negro”.

Amsterdam was arrested and charged with violating the Cybercrime Act after a caller to his Facebook programme allegedly advocated the killing of the President and four government ministers. He is currently on $200,000 bail.

However, Attorney Hughes had engaged the ERC to issue a directive to the Force, advising that law enforcement agency to cease the use of the term and any other derogatory language when referring to individuals of African descent.

In statement provided to this publication, the ERC noted that it has formally written to Hughes acknowledging receipt of his letter and indicated that the matter is engaging the attention of the full Commission.

Moreover, it was highlighted that the body is analysing the various details outlined in the letter and will determine the series of actions to be taken for a fair and just resolution to the concerns raised.

However, this publication understands that the ERC has since initiated discussions with the Force regarding this issue.

When asked specifically for an update on these talks, no response was provided by the ERC.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Anil Nandlall has since weighed in on the situation, making it clear that he has never objected to the request for the removal of that derogatory word from the policing system.

His response was issued publicly following allegations that he has objected to motion put forward to ERC by Hughes.