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…criticize new vaccination measures, general leadership
Scores of citizens and Opposition Members protested the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government on Monday on the Government’s one year anniversary, stating that many Guyanese feel oppressed, discriminated against and forgotten under their leadership.
The protest took place at Company Road, Buxton. There, numerous protestors gathered holding up placards that didn’t give the Government a positive report.
Some of the messages were: ‘PPP achievements since August 2020: narco-trafficking increasing; murders increasing; dismissals increasing; COVID deaths increasing’ — ‘PPP Government must separate politics from professionalism’ — ‘All ethnic groups must matter for Guyana’ — ‘Everything about PPP dark, thanks GPL’ — and ‘PPP Government bullies’.
Apart from the placard messages, topics that topped the discussions along Company Road included the recently updated COVID-19 measures towards mandatory vaccination in some cases and the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in Guyana. However, several other persons also stated that there were protesting for reasons including prolonged utility challenges, poor condition of roads, disagreements with the reopening of schools and challenges to social cohesion.
On site was Working People’s Alliance (WPA) Executive Member, Dr. David Hinds who said that he and others are displeased with the behaviour of the Government over a period of just one year in office.
“We feel that in the last year the Government has engaged in a direct programme of dominance and in the process of dominating they are discriminating against half of the population and we’re saying that in our multi-ethnic society it is extremely important that we try to be as equitable as possible with the distribution of resources, and we don’t see that,” he put forward.
Giving examples he named the exclusion of the Opposition in playing its constitutional role and the administration of the COVID-19 cash grant whereby some persons or communities are excluded.
Dr. Hinds said: “We are using this Emancipation where we’re observing the anniversary of the abolition of slavery to highlight these forms of discrimination and to say to the Government that we may have been quiet for one year but, from now on, we are joining the struggle and this demonstration is a small step in that direction.”
Located not far away was Opposition MP, Sherod Duncan who said: “The issues here in Buxton are not unique to Buxton, interestingly, it’s what’s happening all over the country, tremendously poor performance by the PPP.”
Addressing the Government’s updated COVID-19 Emergency measures that speak to restrictions to the unvaccinated, Duncan said that he sees trouble coming.
“That is why we’ve been saying, they have misjudged the mood of the people in this country, they have misjudged the mood and the quietude and equated that with support. You have a democracy like Barbados that is engaging four weeks of consultation on mandatory vaccination and here, yesterday they’re talking about emancipation, but they’re trying to force vaccines down people’s throat,” he said.
Duncan said that while he believes citizens have a right to take the vaccine, they also have the right to refuse it if they choose to. He called on other villages, as well as trade unions in Guyana, to stand up for the rights of the country’s people.
Meanwhile, Opposition MP, Christopher Jones said that under the PPP/C Government, thousands of Afro-Guyanese have been terminated from their places of employment for no justifiable reason. He also highlighted that many contractors who worked under the previous Administration are no longer being hired and haven’t been paid for work completed.
“No amount of propaganda on the radio stations and on the television stations can erase that fact. It cannot erase the fact the PPP has made a complete chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic in this country… and now this same installed PPP regime has made a decision that as of yesterday, August 1, mandatory vaccination for the Guyanese people,” Jones said.
On the latter issue, he elaborated that no Government has the right to make the COVID-19 vaccination mandatory as it goes against basic human rights. Jones said that private sector businesses that have “jumped on the bandwagon” to implement similar vaccination restrictions to workers or customers are also denying Guyanese their human rights.
He suggested: “As far as I am concerned, any store, shop, mall or organisation of any sort that puts a mandate in place that persons have to produce some card that they have been vaccinated, I say to the Guyanese people, simply boycott every single one of them.”
Recently, the Government implemented new mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirements for transportation operators and conductors, casinos, betting shops and cinema users, and all who wish to attend a Government Ministry or Agency.
There has been a mixed response from the Guyanese public with discussions surrounding human rights and the rights of taxpayers’ access to Government service without hindrance.