Statement by the Unity Labour Party of St. Vincent and the Grenadines on the killing of Tyre Nichols and Manuel Esteban Paez Teran by the police in the United States
Feb. 3, 2023
The Unity Labour Party (ULP) of St. Vincent and the Grenadines which has constituted the democratically-elected government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines since March 28, 2001, does not usually comment on the internal affairs of countries in accord with the basic precepts of non-interference and non-intervention, except when it considers an event, trend of events, or extant condition so wholly abhorrent and offensive to international human rights, a matter of such magnitude that goes beyond national borders and poisons inexorably the well of humanity.
The persistence of the trend of killing of innocent black and brown people by the police in the USA is one such matter of grave global importance. The two recent killings of a 29-year-old Black man, Tyre Nichols, on Jan. 7, 2023, by Memphis police officers, and a 26-year-old indigenous Venezuelan environmental activist, Manuel Esteban Paez Teran (aka “Tortuguita”) on Jan. 18, 2023, by the Atlanta SWAT police officers are egregious examples of extra-judicial state activities. The video images and other credible reports of these killings are most disturbing and heart-rending.
It is a damning indictment of one of the coercive apparatuses of the State in the USA that in 2022 the police killed 1,176 people, more than in any of the preceding 10 years.
The ULP is aware that the USA possesses a judicial system through which the police perpetrators of such extra-judicial killings can be held to account; but there are reports, oft-times, that the judicial system has frequently failed the victims and their families.
The ULP is pleased that the federal government in the USA, headed by the esteemed President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamla Harris, is taking action on several fronts to stamp out the occurrences of sudden and unnatural slayings of innocent persons by the police and to reduce as far as is humanly practicable in the extant circumstances in the USA the legacies of the enslavement of African bodies, ongoing racism, and their cumulative compact on the contemporary political economy and society, and the terror of easily-available firearms — factors which largely fuel extra-judicial killings by the police in that great, but highly-flawed country. We pray that the noble efforts of right-thinking people in the USA will bear fruit against the barbarism of excessive and brutal coercion by the impugned state authorities.
The easy availability of guns and ammunition in the USA and their illegal export to the 33 member-countries of the Community of States of Latin America and the Caribbean (CELAC) are affecting quite adversely the lives and livelihoods of the people of the member-countries of CELAC and threaten to undermine democracy, law and order in our nations.
At its recent Seventh Summit of Heads of State and Government of CELAC held on January 24, 2023, in Argentina, CELAC adopted a Special Declaration on “The Need to Combat Illicit Trafficking of Firearms, Their Parts, Components and Ammunition”. CELAC has expressed its determination to engage the USA on this matter of mutual interest to all countries in our hemisphere.
The ULP supports the efforts of the United Nations, especially the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNHCHR) to bring to global attention the extra-judicial killings in the USA and elsewhere.
The ULP notes that jurists from member-states of CELAC had served as International Commissioners on the International Commission of Enquiry on the Systemic Racist Police Violence Against People of African Descent in the USA (see: inquiry commission.org). We commend the Commissioners on their work.
The ULP is committed to working with all countries, international agencies, civil society organisations, the media, and distinguished individuals to address maturely and soberly the bundle of issues contained herein in the interest of humanity, peace, freedom, prosperity, and security for all.
Dr. The Hon. Ralph E. Gonsalves
Political Leader of the Unity Labour Party
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