Uncovering the truth of Walter Rodney’s ‘assassination’

May 10, 2014 in Gus in the Media, Print by Gus John

The following article was published by The Voice on May 4th, 2014

Image captured from The Voice's website

Click here to read The Voice

A COMMITTEE to aid an inquiry into the alleged assassination of prominent international activist Walter Rodney has called for “vigilance” to insure the investigation uncovers the truth.

The Justice for Walter Rodney Committee (JWRC) was launched last month to support the inquiry, which began on April 28, into the death of the historian and political activist.

Rodney, author of seminal texts The Groundings With My Brothers (1969) and How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (1972), was killed in what is being called a ‘suspected assassination’ in Georgetown, Guyana on June 13, 1980, when an explosive device concealed in a walkie-talkie radio went off.

The former professor of the University of the West Indies, had challenged the then Forbes Burnham administration in Guyana, forming a new political group, the Working People’s Alliance, whose influence spread to the rest of the Caribbean, the US, Africa and Europe.

The Commission of Inquiry into his death was set up in June 2013 by Guyana’s president Donald Ramotar, following a request by the family.

The three-member commission comprises top Barbadian attorney, Sir Richard Cheltenham QC, Jacqueline Samuels-Brown QC from Jamaica and Trinidadian senior counsel Seenath Jairam. Read the rest of this entry →

John rages at ‘illiterate rantings’ of diversity report critics

May 8, 2014 in Gus in the Media, Print by Gus John


The following article was published by The Law Society Gazette on April 8th, 2014

The author of a report clearing the Solicitors Regulation Authority of institutional racism has hit back at the ‘wild and baseless claims’ of its critics, branding them ‘illiterate rantings’.

In a lengthy defence of his 237-page report into the disproportionate representation of black and minority ethnic (BME) lawyers in the SRA’s regulatory activity, Professor Gus John said the ‘kindest’ thing that can be said about the ‘illiterate rantings’ of the diversity groups’ response, is that they ‘did not bother’ to read the report before issuing the response.

The Law Society Gazette

Click here to read The Law Society Gazette

John’s report, published last month, found that BME solicitors are disproportionately represented among those investigated by the SRA and receive harsher sanctions. But he suggested that the regulator is not institutionally racist.

John said the problem lies instead in wider socio-economic factors which mean BME solicitors are over-represented in small firms or are sole practitioners. Both constituencies encounter greater regulatory intervention.

The Equality Implementation Group (EIG), comprising six groups representing BME solicitors, dismissed as ‘fundamentally flawed’ John’s report, which they claimed lacked any ‘evidential basis or data’ for its findings. They said his failure to draw any inference of institutional racism was a ‘shocking indictment of a costly report that promised much but has delivered very little of value’.

John said he had met members of the group and provided them with regular updates throughout the course of the review. Read the rest of this entry →

Panic over ‘Islamists’ in Birmingham schools is blatant racism

April 26, 2014 in Gus in the Media, Print by Gus John

The following article was published by Socialist Worker on April 22nd, 2014.

A wave of Islamophobic panic has followed claims that “Islamists” are plotting to take over Birmingham schools.

And in the wake of the controversy, hated schools inspectorate Ofsted has been accused of telling some of the schools they will be failed for “not teaching anti-terrorism”.

Park View is one school being probed over claims of ‘Islamist plot’

Parkview is one school being probed over claims of ‘Islamist plot’

The claims of a “takeover” were detailed in an anonymous letter sent to Birmingham council last year. It refers to the alleged plot as “Operation Trojan Horse”.

Teachers and governors say the letter has sparked a rash of sensationalist reporting in the press that bears no relation to reality.

Even Labour’s shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt jumped into the fray. He welcomed the investigation into the “so called Trojan Horse conspiracy” in a speech to the NASUWT teachers’ union conference.

Springfield primary school is one of those included in the Trojan Horse claims. A Daily Telegraph report last Saturday claimed that Ofsted would rate the school as “requiring improvement” following the allegations. Read the rest of this entry →

SRA ‘not racist’ but black solicitors treated harshly

March 14, 2014 in Gus in the Media, Print by Gus John

The Independent newspaper published the article below on 14/03/2014.

The body that investigates solicitors has been cleared of institutional racism despite an independent inquiry concluding that it disproportionately pursues black and minority ethnic (BME) lawyers for alleged wrongdoing.

Ethnic-minority lawyers were more likely to be the subject of investigations and tend to receive stiffer punishments than their white counterparts, according to a report commissioned by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) into its own activities.

The report found that ethnic-minority lawyers were at greater risk of breaking regulations because they were more likely to set up on their own earlier in their careers. This was in turn because of a lack of opportunity at big firms, which retain a bias in favour of public-school and Oxbridge employees, according to  Professor Gus John, who led the review.

But his report concluded: “It is important that these results are not immediately interpreted as evidence of discrimination or racism on an institutional level.” Read the rest of this entry →

Disproportionate representation of BME solicitors in SRA’s work “not caused by racism”

March 13, 2014 in Gus in the Media, Print by Gus John

The Legal Futures website published the article below on 13/03/2014

The disproportionately high representation of black and minority ethnic (BME) solicitors in the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) disciplinary work is caused by broader socio-economic factors around access to the profession, and not discrimination by the regulator, a major independent report has concluded.

However, equality and race relations expert Professor Gus John said the SRA needs to “look very carefully and urgently at how sole practitioners and small firms are regulated”.

Professor John was appointed in August 2012 to investigate the longstanding issue of disproportionality, which triggered the 2008 Ouseley report. As part of it, he also reviewed six cases where BME solicitors had specifically alleged discrimination – some with the vocal support of the Society of Black Lawyers – and found “no evidence” to support such claims. Read the rest of this entry →