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WPA Statement to the Media
December 16, 2022
WPA roundly condemns the government for its highhandedness towards vendors located in the vicinity of the Georgetown Public hospital. The government’s resort to what it perceives as its right to ensure order in Georgetown is yet another reminder of our swift descent to a Police State. To add insult to injury, this action by the government is in clear violation of the separation of powers between Central Government and Local Government. Where is the respect for the rule of law?
Where is the respect for the right of citizens to fend for their families? It is unconscionable for a government to forcefully block poor people from making a living in these difficult times. For us in the WPA, it is not a case of Order or Chaos, but it is about how do you balance the desire for order with the clear and present need of citizens to survive economically. WPA has no hesitation in standing with the vendors in this assault on their right to earn a living and by extension their right to life.
It is in this context that we commend Georgetown’s Mayor Ubraj Narine’s heroic stand in support of the vendors. In putting his body on the line, he upheld the noble tradition of nonviolent civil disobedience. His stance for justice and fairness for the least among us is worth emulating. But lo and behold the government promptly reached for the proverbial big stick. The swift use of the top two institutions of force within the state against the mayor is both an act of cynicism and a blow against the democratic right to free speech and peaceful protest.
WPA is particularly outraged at the charges against Mayor Narine and AFC member Sherrod Duncan for racial incitement. Since when questioning the motives of the government as they relate to racial equity is a criminal act? How can the army “discipline” one of its ranks without due process? In any case, the mayor was not acting in his capacity as a member of the army. The government continues to trample on the civil liberties of Guyanese with impunity. What next? Will we be told that uttering the word race is illegal? This government is taking Guyana to the edge. Is the “One Guyana” they have been touting?