Hundreds of People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) supporters and civil society members – led by Presidential Candidate Irfaan Ali – flocked outside the Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, Georgetown, where caretaker President David Granger was slated to deliver an address to the business community on Thursday morning.
The protest comes after the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Chairperson, retired Justice Claudette Singh, advised the Head of State that the Commission will be ready for elections by the end of February 2020 – more than a year after the Government was defeated by a No-Confidence Motion.
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.
Speaking with Guyana Times, one protestor called President Granger “shameful”, since according to her, he is disrespectful to the oath he took upon assuming office.
“Mr Granger does not respect the pledge which he took, the pledge in part says ‘to be obedient to the laws of Guyana’ where is the respect and obedience?” the woman questioned.
Another protestor pointed out the fact that heavily equipped Police were called out to the peaceful protest when just the day before the same was not done when residents of Leopold Street, Georgetown, blocked off the street with burning tyres and debris and damaged a fire tender.
“We out here peacefully protesting, protesting for democracy and constitutional rule and this is how we’re being treated by this coalition Government. Police come out here with big shields and barricades blocking off the streets, but yesterday when people were burning tyres on the road and blocking off it, they were nowhere to be seen. This is how this Government operates,” he contended.
Nevertheless, the protesters were adamant that they will continue these protest actions to highlight the transgressions of the coalition Administration.
Also braving the heat to stand strong with his party, General Secretary of the PPPC, Bharrat Jagdeo informed that his party and supporters intend to protest President Granger at every public forum he attends until he complies with the Constitution as is mandated.Oppostion Leader Bharrat Jagdeo stands infront of TSU ranks among protesters
“I just saw a statement from the international community, and they spoke about them being unconstitutional and they say that it comes at a great cost to Guyana and clearly everyone sees this except this corrupt cabal that we have headed by Granger. We will have to go wherever Granger is and the protest will move to all the venues where he attends to impress upon him that he is in breach of the Constitution and we are not going to tolerate that,” Jagdeo asserted.
Meanwhile, PPP’s Presidential Candidate Irfaan Ali contended that Guyana is presently without a government.
“We have a set of people occupying the space of a government. We have a dictatorship occupying the space of government, and we have a dictator occupying the space of the presidency. There is no president. Democracy has been trampled upon, the rule of law has been kicked aside, the Constitution has been thrown out of the window. That is what has happened to our country,” Ali stated.
Every Guyanese, the PPP Presidential Candidate went on to say, has a moral and ethical responsibility to stand up against the Government’s dictatorship.
Adding to this, Opposition Member of Parliament (MP), Priya Manickchand, who also joined the protest action, stated that President Granger has no legitimate mandate to govern Guyana. She maintained that he is “unlawful”.
“Anybody who derives power from his office – so Ministers, the First Lady, Advisors and anybody who got their power from him – is also equally illegitimate and unlawful, and the people of this country will not have it,” the MP informed.
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.