PPP will continue to protect Constitution, democracy – Ali
– remains firm in protesting “illegal Government”
The Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) says it will continue protest actions against the “illegal” coalition government in efforts to protect and preserve democracy as well as the Constitution of Guyana.
This is according to PPP Presidential Candidate Irfaan Ali, who, in a statement on Friday, commended the scores of supporters who joined the protest on Thursday outside the Pegasus Hotel, where President David Granger was attending an event.
Ali said their presence shows that they are willing to support the defence of Guyana’s Constitution and democracy.
“Your peaceful protest and voices were loud and clear. You made it clear that you will stand up against an illegal President and dictator occupying the seat of Government,” he posited.
He also lauded the international community as well as other stakeholder bodies that have spoken out against the unconstitutional rule that exists. “Indeed, these statements speak volumes to your principled positions in ensuring democracy and constitutional rule in Guyana,” Ali noted.
To this end, he assured Guyanese that his party “…will continue to provide leadership as we peacefully confront… illegitimate occupiers of office. This is our oath. We will continue to fight, to honour, protect and preserve the Constitution of our country”.
Ali had led Thursday’s protest outside the Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, Georgetown, where the caretaker President delivered an address to the business community.
The protest came 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 in December 2018.
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 also in attendance.
The Opposition further took the protest inside the event, pulling out placards in the midst of the Head of State’s address, voicing concerns over his illegal Government.
As such in a statement on Friday, the Ministry of the Presidency (MotP) called the action “hooliganism and thuggery”, adding that such lawlessness will not be tolerated.
“The President assures all Guyanese that every lawful measure will be taken to guarantee the safety of Ministers of Government and to prevent a breakdown of law and order in the country. The Opposition’s undemocratic behaviour and its continuous threats to peace and stability has no place in this society and will not be tolerated,” the MotP missive stated.
However, the PPP has slammed the caretaker coalition government for issuing threats and causing unnecessary alarms over its protest.On Friday, members of the PPP/C adamantly maintained that the MotP’s aim of scaring its supporters and deterring them from exercising their democratic and human rights to peacefully picket and protest an “illegal President and illegal government” would not succeed.
PPP/C Member of Parliament Joseph Hamilton told reporters that the “security alarm” raised in the MotP’s media release was unnecessary, as he confirmed that the protesting will continue countrywide until President Granger announces an elections date.
“The statement suggests that there was some attempt to harm Mr Granger and secondly the Police, they have been instructed to beef up security for Mr Granger and the other people in his cabal…our intention is to highlight the undemocratic nature of Mr Granger, the unconstitutional and usurper role of Mr Granger and his cabal and the illegitimacy of Mr Granger and his cabal. We, like the people of Guyana, will not allow a dictatorship to take hold in this country and that is the fundamental issue and it is not just for the PPP to fight but it is for all Guyana to fight,” the Opposition MP said.
He added that as of September 18, 2019, the powers that President Granger and his government enjoyed upon entering office in 2015 no longer exist and that the role, which President Granger has now taken, is that of a dictator.
“Mr Granger will expect more picketing wherever he goes…and every place he goes and everyplace these guys who purport to be Ministers they go. They will be picketed because presently, they have no mandate to govern. They are holding onto office illegally and therefore the way you deal with dictatorship and budding dictatorships is to delegitimise dictators…all the subtle threats coming out of the Office of the President do not scare us because we know that our activity, our struggle is a righteous struggle, it is a good struggle, it is to right a wrong,” Hamilton declared.
Meanwhile, PPP/C Parliamentarian Juan Edghill reminded that according to Guyana’s Constitution under Article 147(1) that deals with fundamental rights that except with his/her own consent, no persons shall be hindered in the enjoyment of his/her freedom of assembly, association and freedom to demonstrate peacefully.
He also commended the ranks of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) that turned up to monitor the PPP/C’s protest on Thursday, for the way they engaged the protesters.
“There were few who were overzealous or probably taking instructions from outside of the regular. But, by and large, from all intents and purposes and observations, the Commanders and the Officers were acting professionally. And we in the PPP/C would like to publicly state that we applaud the professionalism that the GPF displayed yesterday (Thursday)”.