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– Volda Lawrence tells supporters
“This is another set off trumped up charges, I know personally that I have not committed any crime accused of… I believe this is the continuation of the circus that we will see under this regime, and we have to brace ourselves and be strong and we have to stand up,” these were the word of former health minister, Volda Lawrence after appearing in court on Monday charged with fraud.
“I fear no foe with God sitting on the throne. I have committed no crime. They are trumped up charges, they’re fictitious, they’re meant to incite and to blame and humiliate. I am not going down, the truth will prevail,” the former minister said to the media outside the court.
Lawrence who is also chairman of the People’s National Congress (PNC), Volda Lawrence was placed on $100,000 bail at the Magistrate’s Court. Lawrence, who appeared voluntarily, was facing a charge that was filed by PPP/C member Charles Ramson on March 16th, 2020, in which it alleged that Lawrence procured Region Four’s Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo on March 5th, to utter a forged document to Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield.
The former minister’s counsel, Nigel Hughes said during the course of the five months since the charge was filed, no attempts were made to serve the document on Lawrence. In fact, Hughes said it was he who informed Lawrence that her name was being called in the court last week, so she decided to appear today.
It was on those grounds the application for bail was granted. However, Ramson’s representative, Glenn Honoman told the court that the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) will take over the matter and instruct that an investigation be conducted.
Hughes said this is a quite strange occurrence, since DPP had five months and never intervened. The matter is expected to come up again in a few weeks.
Lawrence is one of many persons close to the former coalition administration that have been hauled before the courts since the change of government. Last week former minister Simona Broomes also faced a series of charges. Former director of sports, Christopher Jones was arrested and kept in the Diamond Police Station lock-up over barber equipment which he had legitimately acquired through a government grant. Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield is also before the courts on private criminal charges alleging that he tried to rig the March 2, 2020 elections.
Earlier this month former President and PNC/R leader, David Granger said that it did not take the PPP/C long before it reverted to its “dangerous pattern” which has negatively impacted innocent persons and those perceived to be politically affiliated. He said that such unbecoming acts would not go without consequence. “Guyanese, the People’s Progressive Party, within hours of the swearing-in of the new President following the ‘declaration’ issued by the Chairman of the Elections Commission…commenced a vulgar, divisive and vindictive campaign of alienation, discrimination and separation against former A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Coalition ministers and members of Guyana’s Public Service,” he said.
“Former ministers whose normal residences are located in the rural and hinterland regions were swiftly ordered to vacate their government quarters, unreasonably, within 36 hours. Public servants were locked out of their offices without explanation. Contracted officials were threatened with arbitrary and summary termination of their service.”
The Former President and PNC/R Leader said that he is reminded of the violence unleashed by “PPP hooligans against” innocent schoolchildren travelling in a school bus at Bath Settlement in the Mahaica-Berbice Region on March 6, 2020 not long after the elections. He said that an atmosphere of “fear and loathing” enveloped the nation both then and now and this should not be expected after elections in our country. As such, he warned: “The People’s National Congress warns the People’s Progressive Party to desist from pursuing this dangerous pattern of aggression against officials, members of society and persons perceived to belong to other political parties. The PPP will bear responsibility for the consequences of its conduct.”