JUSTICE AND PEACE COMMISSION OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Press Release: 3rd July, 2012
The Justice and Peace Commission (JPC) of the Roman Catholic Church is deeply disturbed at the Guyana Chronicle’s Editorial dated 3rd July, 2012 titled: “Opposition rampages to sow disunity in the country.” The contents of this editorial crossed by no small measure the acceptable lines of responsible opinion choosing instead to use thinly disguised inflammatory language. According to a published Report on the Ethnic Relations Commission’s website, there are provisions in the Racial Hostility Act, Chapter 23:01 of the laws of Guyana for preventing conduct tending to excite or attempting to excite hostility or ill-will against any section of the public or against any person on the grounds of their or his race. This includes by
written (including printed) matter.
The JPC believes that the reckless posture taken in the editorial represents a patent ethnic appeal and could encourage incitement. In a plural society with a continuing history of delicately poised race relations, such comments from any source are not in the best interests of nation building. Instead, they sow the seeds of distrust, antagonism, and reciprocal hatreds. Words used in the editorial seek to castigate another race and in fact is condemnatory of one race to convey a particular message. In the spirit of healing we wish to offer the message of the sermon of
the Mount as an appropriate lesson. Jesus said “You have heard how it was said: Eye for eye and tooth for tooth but on the contrary, if anyone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well; And if anyone requires you to go one mile, go two miles with him.” (Matthew 5:38-41). Guyana needs messages of conciliation not condemnation.
The JPC urges 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. Rather, the emphasis should be-and could-be more appropriately focused on the struggle for consensus and harmony that has eluded us for so long.