Pradoville 2 investigations
…say arrest of leaders seek to instill fear, intimidation
Immediately after it was made public that several leading members and officials of the People’s Progressive Party had last Tuesday been arrested by operatives of the Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU), scores of supporters and executive members of that Party’s Region Two (Essequibo Coast) branch began voicing strong condemnation at the action of arresting several former ministers and
officials of the previous Government.
Deeming the arrests an unfair act of the present Government, PPP supporters contend that the arrests were designed to cause persons to lose confidence in the party, and revealed that they were saddened to see SOCU detain their leaders for something that was unjustifiable.
PPP Regional Committee Member and Member of Parliament, Cornel Damon, was vocal in condemning the actions of SOCU. He said he was standing with the many other supporters of the party to condemn the actions as well as speak out against them. “Detaining PPP leaders was uncalled for. (It was) atrocious, vindictive, and (showed) that the APNU+AFC (Administration doesn’t) care (that) Government is attacking the PPP. I therefore call for the Government to stop victimising the PPP executives for a crime that was not committed,” Damon said.
He added that the practice of witch-hunting must stop, and upbraided Government on its action. “Several acres of prime lease lands were given to the Burnham family, and when the PPP took office those families were not attacked,” Damon explained.
Further, contending that the current Government also has been accused of misusing state resources, Damon called for a forensic audit to be conducted on the President’s inauguration ceremony, construction of the Jubilee Park, the drug bond fiasco, and also for a keen examination to be done in regard to the amount of money that was spent on the Prime Minister’s Residence.
Juliet Coonjah, General Secretary of the Women’s Progressive Organisation (WPO), another arm of the People’s Progressive Party, said she used the forum of International Women’s Day as an opportunity to condemn the gross abuse that had been perpetrated on the senior leadership of that Party. She said the actions and conduct of a former President of Guyana, current Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, had brought worldwide recognition to Guyana, and what SOCU had done constituted an attempt to defame this outstanding leader.
Coonjah said supporters of the Party stand firmly on the platform of democracy, peace and justice.
Rabindranauth Mohan, a representative of the Region Two Rice Producers Association, also condemned the unjust arrest. Describing it as an act of intimidation, he revealed that he strongly believes it was carried out to drive fear in the minds of citizens as well as party supporters. The actions of the present Government, he said, show clearly that history is being repeated.
Yet another member of the PPP, Vishnu Samaroo, opined that actions conducted by SOCU constitute a measure used by Government to silence dissent at the way Guyana’s economy is being mismanaged. “There (has) been a downward movement of Guyana’s economy, and nothing is being done by the Government to ensure that the sectors strive again. Instead, PPP leaders are being attacked,” he declared.
People’s Progressive Party supporters in Region Two are calling for democracy and peace to prevail in Guyana.
Over the last few days, SOCU has arrested and detained several former prominent Government officials, including former President and now Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo; former Prime Minister and President, Samuel Hinds; Dr. Luncheon; and former Ministers Priya Manickchand, Irfaan Ali, Clement Rohee, Robert Persaud and Dr. Jennifer Westford, among others in connection to purchase of land at the Pradoville 2 scheme.
The current Administration contends that the transaction is a criminal act because its officials believe that the land was sold below market value.