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The arrest [Wednesday] of His Worship the Mayor of Georgetown, Mr. Ubraj Narine and Member of Parliament, Mr. Sherod Duncan by the Guyana Police Force is an abuse of power and the politicization of the Guyana Police Force. It is a violation of their right to freedom of speech enshrined in the Constitution. Clearly, the People’s Progressive Party regime does not respect the rule of law and is authoritarian in nature.
It is apposite to note that the police violated the rights of Attorney -at-law Tameika Clarke by unlawfully arresting her. The DPP and the police force for several weeks failed to charge the policeman that unlawfully arrested the Attorney. Ms. Clarke exercising her common law right approached the court to obtain redress. After doing so, Ms. Clarke and the Court Bailiff were prevented by the police from serving the charge. Having prevented the issuance of the charge, Guyanese have been greeted by the withdrawal of the charges against the policeman by the DPP.
This act of preventing an officer of the court from performing his duties is disrespectful to the Judiciary and a violation of the rule of law. What is worse is that the said Guyana Police Force turns up today in less than forty-eight (48) hours to charge the Mayor of Georgetown and MP Sherod Duncan, both elected officials representing those who elected them. This is political harassment.
The action of the People’s Progressive Party government is a clear violation of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which states in Article 3 that, “the States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to ensure the equal rights of men and women to the enjoyment of all civil and political rights set forth in the present Covenant.” The arrest of Mayor Ubraj Narine and Member of Parliament Sherod Duncan is a clear case of political harassment and the misuse of the Guyana Police Force by the PPP regime to settle political scores.
It is important to note that the People’s Progressive Party government continues to override the legitimate decisions of the Mayor and City Council by seeking to make decisions that should be made by the City Council which has been elected by the people to manage the affairs of the city. The Ministry of Public Works decision to remove vendors plying their trade on New Market Street without consultation with the City Council has rightfully provoked a reaction from the vendors and the citizens of Georgetown. In this regard, therefore, it is the government through its actions that is inciting ethnic, political and other forms of instability.
All Guyanese would recall that the Mayor from the inception sought to develop a cordial relationship with the Central Government. Unfortunately, this was rebuffed and the Government proceeded to starve the city of resources and has been intervening in the functions that should be performed by the Mayor and City Council. For example, the Central Government is now moving in the direction of setting up the so-called “single window” which will not only remove key functions from the council but from all local government authorities. The government is anti-local democracy and pursues domination and control of all local authorities. This must be rejected.
All Guyanese would have observed that in response to the vendors at Mon Repos market (a PPP constituency) destroying State Property, the government was prepared to condone these illegal acts and actually met with them in a board room to negotiate and resolve the issues. The criminal actions apart, we believe that it is the correct approach to resolve issues by negotiation. Unfortunately, the government’s approach to the City of Georgetown and other APNU+AFC strongholds has been to use brute force and ignorance. The government’s approach to these vendors and citizens in the city of Georgetown and other APNU+AFC strongholds such as Mocha is to bulldoze rather than treat them as Guyanese who deserve to be involved in negotiations with the aim of peaceful conflict resolution.
The PPP regime’s actions are promoting ethnic and political division and creating tensions and disunity in our society. The government is acting in total violation of its obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
The Opposition condemns the actions of the PPP regime and warns them that they are pushing the people of Guyana to the brink. We urge the people to continue to resist this regime until it is prepared to operate based on the Rule of Law. We call on all Guyanese, especially the people of Georgetown to condemn the actions of the PPP regime and come out in support of the Mayor of Georgetown, Mr. Ubraj Narine and Member of Parliament, Mr. Sherod Duncan.
It is unfortunate that in this season of joy the government chooses to disturb the livelihood of the vendors who are struggling to make an honest living in this post-Covid era. It must be noted as well that the government has failed and continues to fail when it comes to the creation of employment for the people of Guyana. These vendors are seeking an honest living and therefore should not be facing bulldozers, big trucks and armed policemen. What is worse, is that this is occurring at a time when the cost of living is extremely high and the government’s incompetence has resulted in its inability to find solutions to the cost of living crisis.
We stand in full support of the Mayor of Georgetown, Mr. Ubraj Narine and Member of Parliament, Mr. Sherod Duncan. We hope good sense will prevail and the PPP will end its political witch hunt and free the Guyana Police Force from its political control, domination and politicisation.