US Embassy Condemns Guyana Parliament for ‘Honouring Convicted Terrorist’; Gov’t Defends Decision

The late Abdul Kadir was a former Guyanese legislator and Mayor of Linden.

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Tuesday April 30,
2019
– A move by
Guyana’s National Assembly to honour a Guyanese man who died in a US jail after
being convicted of terrorism charges has drawn harsh criticism from the US
Embassy. But the Government is adamant that it was simply paying tribute to a
late Parliamentarian, as is the custom, and had no intention of glorifying a
convicted terrorist.

Last Friday,
at a sitting boycotted by the Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) which
has made it clear it will be absent until the Caribbean Court of Justice rules
on its no-confidence motion appeal, the National Assembly passed a resolution
paying tribute to former legislator and Mayor of Linden, Abdul Kadir who died
in June last year.

The motion tabled
by Junior Minister of Agriculture Valerie Patterson-Yearwood stated that “the
people of Linden and Guyana have lost a great man, a stalwart, a bold and
courageous man”, and expressed sympathy to Kadir’s “sorrowing widow, children,
grandchildren and relatives”.

Kadir was
sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of plotting a 2007
terrorist attack at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.  And the US Embassy was not impressed that he
was recognized in that way by the Parliament

“Members of
the National Assembly, therefore, chose to honour a man who conspired to kill
innocent people from across the United States and around the world.  This resolution is an insensitive and
thoughtless act, which demonstrates the National Assembly’s disregard for the
gravity of Kadir’s actions,” it said.

“With this
resolution, honouring a convicted terrorist, members of Guyana’s National
Assembly have left a stain on their legacy as representatives of the Guyanese
people and on their commitment to the rule of law.”

The Embassy added
that while speaking at an International Peace Conference recently, US
Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch held up Guyana as “a model to the world
on religious tolerance and understanding”, and the National Assembly’s
resolution on Kadir “draws into question that reputation”.

The Embassy
pointed out that the move also came on the heels of Guyana’s historic
cooperation with the US on the extradition of an alleged murderer.  It was referring to Troy Thomas – who allegedly
gunned down a 20-year-old man outside a house party in South Richmond Hill,
Queens, New York in 2011 – who was extradited to the US last week and is now in
prison awaiting trial on the second-degree murder charge.

“Members of
Parliament have placed this resolution in direct contradiction to the efforts
of security cooperation between our two countries,” the US Embassy said in its
statement.

The PPP had
also criticized the resolution, describing it as “another act of betrayal of
democracy and the rule of law as it is clearly not reflective of the will of
the people”.

But in a statement
issued yesterday, the Guyana Government defended the National Assembly’s decision
to pass the resolution paying tribute to Kadir.

“It is well
known that there is a time-honoured convention of the National Assembly to
observe, in a standard and solemn form, the work of former members who are
deceased. The observance of this tradition has never been selective, and has
included, over the decades, persons of all political parties and persuasions
who served in the National Assembly,” it said.

“The
Government of Guyana regrets the interpretation given to the motion passed in
the National Assembly on April 26 on the death of Abdul Kadir, a former Member
of Parliament. The Government of Guyana asserts that it had no intention of
conveying the impression that the motion was designed to honour a former MP
convicted of terrorism in another jurisdiction. The motion recognizes the
member’s service as a parliamentarian.”

The David
Granger-led coalition government further insisted that it “continues to condemn
terrorism in the strongest possible way”.

“The Government of Guyana reaffirms its commitment to continue and intensify the fight against terrorism in any form and is proud of its record to date in this regard,” it stated.

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