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|Former minister and Member of Parliament in the People’s Progressive Party/Civic, Mr. Clement Rohee, has taken to social media to urge Guyanese to support and stand in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka on a menu of items. Writing on his Facebook page on Wednesday he identified eight, namely:-
“1) for the immediate official resignations of the president and prime minister;
2) the holding of free and fair elections thereafter;
3) the abolition of Sri Lanka’s executive presidency, which is no longer fit for purpose;
3) the effective state delivery of essential goods and medicines;
4) an end to neo-liberal economic policies, which have devastated the country;
5) an end to the corrupt political culture;
6) pursuit of an initiative for national unity and an end to racism, sectarianism, and discrimination;
7) the recovery of misappropriated public assets, and the prosecution of those responsible;
8) an end to the privatisation of public assets.”
Local commentators pointed out that Guyanese can identify with some, if not all, Rohee stated in relation to Sri Lanka. Others asked if Guyanese could rely on similar full-throated support and solidarity from the former minister should they emulate the Sri Lankans.
For weeks Sri Lankans have been protesting inflation, rising cost of living and scarcity. Three weeks ago, the economy collapsed after months of fuel, electricity and food shortages. People took to the streets in massive protests demanding the removal of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Last Saturday protesters stormed the President’s official residence and have since camped out on the premises and also set the prime minister’s private residence afire to intensify the demand for the resignation of both. Both leaders bowed to the people’s power and said they would step down.
On Wednesday President Rajapaksa fled the country as Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe declared a state of emergency and ordered the military to do whatever is necessary to restore order. Simultaneously, the British parliament was debating the situation and took the decision to call for President Rajapaksa arrest, and justice for genocide. He cannot flee accountability, the House declared
For the past weeks Sri Lankans have taken to and remained on the streets defying the state’s military might and weaponry.