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There has been a growing groundswell of support from the residents of Georgetown for Pandit Ubraj Narine, the Mayor of Georgetown, as well as Member of Parliament Sherod Duncan, who were arrested by the Government on allegations that they attempted to excite ethnic division among citizens as well as obstructing traffic.
The arrest of the Ubraj and Duncan, saw hundreds of vendors and supporters of the Coalition descend on Georgetown’s City Hall in support of the two political leaders who were arrested by the police on charges of inciting and obstructing.
As the duo were released on bail at the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court and walked to City Hall, supporters thronged shouting chants, “Free the Mayor.”
Attorney-at-Law and Opposition Member of Parliament Roysdale Forde, SC, one of the lawyers who appeared for Narine and Duncan, addressed the gathering and declared that “We want the government to know that they have decided that you are weak. They have come to the conclusion that you’ve given up, and they could take away your rights, they could take away opportunities, they could take away your resources. I want them to understand that this is the first sign of showing the PPP that ‘we ready’.”
The legal luminary turned member of parliament seems to have thrown down the proverbial gauntlett, pointing out that the government’s latest salvo has intensified the struggle against the government’s repressive policies.
“Are you gonna go forward with us? They’re saying that the Opposition is weak, and the people are not with us. They want to go into our communities and give pittances, and they give much to themselves and their friends. Are you gonna accept that?” Senior Counsel Forde asked the very responsive and loudly cheering crowd.
Forde, one of the attorneys representing the Mayor and Member of Parliament, told the crowd, “This struggle is not just a struggle! This struggle is not about Christians; It’s not about Muslims; It’s not about Amerindians and It’s not about Hindus, Forde lamented.
It’s about our humanity! It’s about justice,and iIt’s about equality. I want them to understand that poor people gotta live! Poor people gotta live!” Forde declared.
The charges stem from efforts by the Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill to remove vendors’ stalls on New Market Street (in front of the Georgetown Public Hospital) to which the Mayor is opposed.
While attempting to remove the vendors, they were prevented from doing so by the Mayor, the MP and other persons. The prosecutor said Narine and Duncan placed concrete blocks, garbage bins and other items along the roadway preventing any movement by the ministry personnel as well as general traffic.
In an interview with Duncan aired on a Facebook page ‘Credible Sources’ later that evening, it is alleged that Mayor Narine in his remarks said: the Mayor said: “Is it because I am a Hindu and he is a Muslim that he cannot work with me. The government is a dictatorship government and is this State going to become a Muslim state..?
“These are Black people here who are vending here and you are going to bulldoze them instead of having a talk with them like you did with the speedboat operators, rice farmers, cane cutters or fishermen, they are mostly Hindus that’s why you went there but because these are Black people, you are bulldozing them like animals, like dogs…” the Pandit allegedly said.
Attorney Daren Wade, a part of the duo’s legal team, in his address to the court stated that it is for that reason his clients were arrested at the Mayor’s office and then walked to the Brickdam Police Station.
He stated that the Mayor, who lives at Lamaha Street, Georgetown, is a Pandit, a holy man of the Hindu faith for 19 years, and has an unblemished record. He added that Duncan, a representative of the people in Parliament, who lives at Good Hope on the East Coast of Demerara, has no previous convictions.
Mayor of Georgetown Ubraj Narine and Member of Parliament Sherod Duncan will return to court in mid-January. (edited from WiredJA)