by Black Consciousness Movement
Gerald Perreira, chairperson of Black Consciousness Movement Guyana, was yesterday told he must get off an aircraft in Antigua before the plane could take off. Perreira was on his way to Jamaica, where he had been invited by the Hon. Minister Louis Farrakhan to participate in the 19th anniversary of the Million Man March, on Oct. 19, at the National Arena in Kingston. He was told by the authorities in Antigua that he was removed from the flight because he had been refused permission to land in Jamaica.
Perreira is a part of the regional think tank set up to plan the event in Jamaica, which will be broadcast live throughout the Caribbean this Sunday. The think tank, which brings together social and political activists throughout the hemisphere, including South and Central America, was charged with formulating solutions to the many problems facing the region.
A few days earlier, Imam Abu Bakr from Trinidad, who was invited by Minister Farrakhan to attend the event, was also refused entry to Jamaica. He was detained on arrival at Norman Manley International Airport, along with his wife and son. His wife and son were eventually allowed to enter the country, but Imam Abu Bakr was forcibly returned to Trinidad on a private plane which cost the Jamaican government US$36,000.
Imam Abu Bakr, leader of Jamaat al Muslimeen, pointed to the Trinidadian government as the “mischief makers,” assuming that they had contacted the Jamaican government and fingered him as some kind of threat.
However, the Jamaican authorities have stated that the Trinidadian government had nothing to do with their decision to refuse entry to Imam Abu Bakr. A statement from the Jamaican authorities said the Jamaat al Muslimeen leader was refused leave to land in Jamaica under the country’s Immigration Restriction Commonwealth Citizens’ Act. The statement said the decision was in the interest of national security given the threat posed to public safety.
Also, the incident comes at a time when Jamaica has called on its National Security Minister Gary Griffith to “refrain from continuing to muddy the integration waters” as it responded to his statement that the influx of thousands of illegal Jamaicans into Trinidad and Tobago is putting a strain on its resources.
Only last week the Trinidadian authorities detained a number of Jamaicans. They were given no food, were made to sleep on the floor and were denied a phone call before being deported, and these problems between Trinidad and Jamaica were thought to have maybe created a problem for the Jamaat al Muslimeen leader.
However, Jamaica’s refusal to allow Gerald Perreira from Guyana to enter the country raises new concerns for both men.
Perreira, who has no criminal conviction, has been denied visas for the U.S. and other Western destinations, including Canada and Britain, for some years now and is not even able to transit any of these countries. In addition, his wife and children have also been denied transit visas for the U.S. and have been harassed when they have attempted to transit other ports, such as Canada, on their way to and from the Caribbean, where they reside.
Perreira stated: “I have never been given a reason from these alleged democracies for this denial of my right to travel freely and can only assume that it is a result of my outspoken criticism of their foreign policies and interference in the domestic affairs of my homeland Guyana, Africa and other parts of the Global South. The U.S., Britain and Canada are good for moralizing and lecturing us about freedom of speech and the virtues of democracy, while only paying lip service to such matters themselves – their hypocrisy is blatant and they are extremely vindictive when it comes to anyone who opposes them on any level.”
Perreira has published extensively on issues affecting Africa and the Caribbean, and his recent articles condemning the invasion of Libya and in defense of the late Libyan leader, Muammar Qaddafi, have been widely circulated and translated into numerous languages.
Up until now, Perreira has been able to freely travel in the Caribbean region. Only last month, he joined Minister Farrakhan and others in Barbados for a region-wide meeting.
“The U.S., Britain and Canada are good for moralizing and lecturing us about freedom of speech and the virtues of democracy, while only paying lip service to such matters themselves – their hypocrisy is blatant and they are extremely vindictive when it comes to anyone who opposes them on any level.”
Perreira is convinced that, aside from vindictiveness, the refusal for himself and Imam Abu Bakr to land in Jamaica to join the others was ordered by the U.S. State Department, with or without the knowledge of the Prime Minister of Jamaica, Portia Simpson-Miller. Perreira said, “This seemingly unwarranted move is about trying to prevent us from coming together and joining with one of today’s greatest Black leaders, the Hon. Minister Louis Farrakhan, to build a strong and united movement across the region against neo-colonialism and for the advancement of our people.”
“This seemingly unwarranted move is about trying to prevent us from coming together and joining with one of today’s greatest Black leaders, the Hon. Minister Louis Farrakhan, to build a strong and united movement across the region against neo-colonialism and for the advancement of our people.”
The Black Consciousness Movement Guyana (BCMG) can be reached at email@example.com. Gerald Perreira lived in Libya for many years, served in the Green March, an international battalion for the defense of the Libyan revolution, and was an executive member of the World Mathaba based in Tripoli.