Treatment of Afro-Guyanese individuals who have links or whose family members have links with the People's National Congress/Reform (PNC) [GUY42376.E]

According to Country Reports 2002, both the "largely Indo-Guyanese PPP [People's Progressive Party/Civic] and the largely Afro-Guyanese PNC [People's National Congress/Reform] engaged in rhetorical and propaganda attacks that fueled racial tensions" in the country (Mar. 2003, Sec. 5), although Freedom in the World 2003 noted that racial clashes have diminished over the past decade (11 June 2003).

A number of sources refer to allegations that Afro-Guyanese individuals have been the victims of discrimination on account of their race or links to the PNC (Latinnews Daily 13 May 2003; Guyana Chronicle 3 Sept. 2003; GID 22 Jan. 2004). Examples follow.

In March 2002, PNC members of the national assembly ceased work in protest of the government's decision to appoint its own Indo-Guyanese supporters to state boards, "especially land-selection committees, ... to the detriment of the African-denominated PNC" (Latinnews Daily 13 May 2003).

Following a 21 August 2003 incident in which police officers looking for firearms raided the home of Oscar Clarke, secretary-general of the PNC, a member of the party's central executive claimed that the search was linked to PPP attempts to discredit the PNC (Guyana Chronicle 5 Sept. 2003). The central executive member further alleged that the search was conducted without a warrant and was "obviously ordered by someone superior in the force" (ibid.).

On 3 September 2003, the Georgetown newspaper Guyana Chronicle reported that Minister of Human Services and Social Security Bibi Shadick had issued a statement responding to accusations by the PNC Secretary-General that vouchers for school uniforms were being distributed on the basis of political affiliation. According to the minister, claims that such vouchers were not distributed in Buxton, a predominantly Afro-Guyanese village near Georgetown, were untrue, and that income level was the only criterion used in assessing individuals' eligibility for the program (ibid. 3 Sept. 2003).

In correspondence dated 22 January 2004, the President of the New York-based Guyana Institute for Democracy (GID) claimed, without providing additional details, that individuals of African descent are discriminated against by the Guyanese government, both on account of their race and political affiliation. Information corroborating the President's statement could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References


Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2002. March 2003. United States Department of State. Washington, D.C. http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2002/18334.htm [Accessed 22 Jan. 2004]

Freedom in the World 2003: The Annual Survey of Political Rights and Civil Liberties. 11 June 2003. Edited by Adrian Karatnycky et al. New York: Freedom House. http://www.freedomhouse.org/research/freeworld/2003/countryratings/guyana.htm [Accessed 22 Jan. 2004]

Guyana Chronicle [Georgetown]. 5 September 2003. "PNC/R 'Disturbed' by G/S Home Search." http://www.landofsixpeoples.com/news303/nc309052.htm [Accessed 22 Jan. 2004]

_____. 3 September 2003. "Minister: No Discrimination in Uniform Distribution." http://www.landofsixpeoples.com/news303/nc309034.htm [Accessed 22 Jan. 2004]

Guyana Institute for Democracy (GID), New York. 22 January 2004. Correspondence from the President.

Latinnews Daily [London]. 13 May 2003. "Guyana: Main Parties Resolve Year-long Political Impasse." (NEXIS)

Additional Sources Consulted


IRB databases

Unsuccessful attempts to contact the People's National Congress/Reform

Internet sites, including:

Amnesty International

Guyana Chronicle [Georgetown]

Guyana: Land of Six Peoples

Stabroek News [Georgetown]