A Reporter's Notebook: President Carter Interview (Part 2) - CBS46 News


A Reporter's Notebook: President Carter Interview (Part 2)

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Scott Light Scott Light

We've seen our share of riots and protests recently with police and citizens at odds. But this is a story about a riot with all of five officers trying to protect an American president.

It's a piece of history you may not know, and a story you'll only find on CBS46.

You could call Guyana's democracy a millennial. It's all of 23-years-old.

Two main parties, including former President Jimmy Carter, pumped up their supporters in early May, day and night, in one last push to get people to the polls. But etched into Carter's memory is the scariest movement of his post presidency, which happened to have taken place in Guyana.

"1992. You're in Guyana, and you find yourself in a situation where you thought you would be killed," I asked.

"Well, I was in physical danger and everybody agreed with that," Carter responded.

Guyana embarked on its first democratic election 23 years ago and the capitol of Georgetown was imploding.

"They had already knocked all the windows out," Carter said. "And they told me I would have to go hide in the American embassy. Riots were all over Georgetown. People had been killed and buildings had been burned."

The former president refused to go to the embassy. Instead, he went to a building that served as the election headquarters in 1992.

"And the Election Central Headquarters was being attacked," Carter said.

President Carter was inside, while hundreds of rioters were outside. His Secret Service team would have no chance if rioters got to Carter.

"We had four with me," Carter said.

It was his four agents with him, and one Guyana police officer outside.

"There was one female officer trying to control five, six, seven or 800 rioters, and she didn't have any sidearms or anything," Carter said. "Our Secret Service kept calling the Chief of Police in Georgetown."

No dice on getting extra officers. That is , until another call was made. Maybe the only call that could save Carter and his agents.

"So, they called the President of the United States, which was George H.W. Bush. He called the President of Guyana, and within a few minutes, we had some security and we were able to get out of the building safely," Carter said.

An international crisis averted and the young 20-something that is Guyana's democracy now has fair, accessible and peaceful elections.

Read more coverage of the trip to Guyana below:

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