Democratic right to protest denied in Reg 1

…as Police bar citizens from Granger’s “Cabinet” campaigning

Scores of People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) supporters of Port Kaituma, Region One (Barima-Waini) were on Friday morning prevented from protesting as the caretaker President and his unconstitutional Cabinet visited the region.
Based on information gathered, Police in Matarkai reportedly prevented a truck load of persons from Matthews Ridge and Arakaka, North West District (NWD) from passing the toll gate at Four Miles while another truck with APNU supporters was allowed access.
Further, Police in Port Kaituma prevented protesters at the Port Kaituma airstrip from carrying placards and threatened to arrest them if they refused to follow orders.
However, the resilient protesters lined the road leading to the airstrip, where they peacefully protested. Another group of protesters also led protest action in Central Kaituma. The supporters have all called for the President to dissolve Parliament and announce an elections date.
In light of this, executive members of the PPP/C stated that “protesting” is a democratic right, while adding that their human rights were violated.
“The Police are following political orders and this is not supposed to be… our members have a right to protest anytime, anywhere… it is their prerogative and democratic right to do so,” the executive stated.
This protest came in light of a decision by the Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), retired Justice Claudette Singh, who indicated that the body will be ready for elections in February 2020— more than a year after the Government was defeated by a No-Confidence Motion.
On Thursday, hundreds of protesters led by Presidential Candidate Irfaan Ali flocked outside the Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, Georgetown, where the President was delivering an address to the business community.
Although the protest was peaceful, scores of Police officers and members of the Tactical Service Unit (TSU), commonly called the “Riot Squad”, were deployed to the scene with protective shields, placing barricades at strategic points to block off and guard the entrance of the hotel, where several high profile officials and Government ministers were in attendance.
This, however, did not deter the protesters, who used microphones to highlight the fact that the Government is illegal and in breach of the Constitution of Guyana.
“We want elections now! Who must go, Granger! Who sell out Guyana, Granger! Granger is a waste!” were among the slogans being chanted.
Inside of the Pegasus Hotel, as Granger was delivering remarks at the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) luncheon, protesters rose from their seats waving placards and chanting for democracy to prevail in Guyana, which stumbled into an illegality following the expiration of the constitutionally-mandated period for elections to be held.
After being greeted by a firm opposition, Granger was forced to discontinue his speech until the situation was tamed. This continued for several minutes as persons strongly rejected the non-adherence to constitutional deadlines as directed by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), which ruled that the Constitution of Guyana must be upheld.
The Police were called in and asked to escort the group of protesters from the room. However, another group of individuals was waiting in the lobby area of the hotel, voicing similar calls.
Cognisant that protest actions were in progress outside the hotel as well, the President commented, “Apparently, the hooliganism has migrated from outside to inside”.
Article 106 of the Constitution states that following the passage of the No-Confidence Motion, the Cabinet including the President must resign and elections held within three months. That deadline elapsed since March 21, 2019, with Government having spent much of this time in court seeking to overturn the motion, rather than ensuring elections were held.
GECOM had also began the holding of House-to-House Registration, also in a bid to delay the holding of Regional and General Elections.
However, this was halted by GECOM’s newly-elected Chair, retired Justice Singh.