“Street protest”, “war break” remarks inciting hostilities – Trade Union

Finance Minister Winston Jordan in Bartica

Civil society bodies are viewing the remarks made by senior officials of the APNU/AFC Government, following the recent ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) that the No-Confidence Motion was validly passed, as inciting hostilities among Guyanese.
Finance Minister Winston Jordan, during a Government outreach in Bartica on Tuesday, rallied coalition supporters saying, “Comrades, be on the ready! Because we will be able to call you out to picket for House-to-House registration… From today (Monday) Comrades, war break, because we got to go to elections before the end of this year…”
On the other hand, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, at the same public meeting told coalition supporters that there would be trouble if youths are disenfranchised.
“The young people who turned 18 since the last elections, their names are not on that voters’ list and anyone who calls for an election without our young people being on that voters’ list, is calling for trouble in this country,” Nagamootoo said.
But in a statement on Friday, the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) expressed concerns over these statements made by the Government officials.
“The remarks which, among other things, included a call for “war”— which we could not fail to recognize have been deemed by some as inciting hostilities in our society. Indeed, we share the view that the utterances by leaders of our nation have no place in our contemporary times and could, very well, serve to ratchet up tensions among our peoples,” the umbrella Union said.
The missive went on to outline that these statements are “totally unacceptable” and cannot be countenanced, regardless of the circumstances. FITUG posited that the connotation of a call to war naturally evokes strong sentiments and causes, undoubtedly, heightened anxieties.
This remark, according to the Trade Union, goes against the Government and more so President David Granger’s call for our people to live in cohesion. Further making reference to another incident where a similar call was sounded on a video recording circulated on social media, FITUG noted that these two incidents were too close for comfort.
“At this time, as is the case all the time, we urge our leaders to consider their words and statements, especially taking into account the lasting impression they can have on our people,” the Trade Union stated while being cognizant that these political remarks were made at a Government outreach funded by state resources.
Meanwhile, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Opposition had wasted no time in writing to Police Commissioner Leslie James and the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) to register its complaints over the two officials’ statements.
Those remarks by the senior Government officials were made on the same day that the Trinidad-based Regional Court handed down its ruling that the Opposition-sponsored No-Confidence Motion against the coalition Government was validly passed on December 21, 2018 and that the unilateral appointment of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Chairman was flawed and unconstitutional.
Stakeholders, including civil society bodies, the public sector and even the diplomatic community, had called on the political leaders to respect the CCJ ruling and find consensus on the way forward.
In fact, the New York-based International Centre for Democracy (ICD) joined the calls for Guyanese leaders to seize the opportunity given by the CCJ in this interim period to demonstrate responsible leadership.
“We commend the CCJ for giving the leaders in Guyana a chance to demonstrate political maturity and responsible behaviour in working out the way forward… While we are cautiously optimistic the political leaders will resolve the timeline based on the CCJ rulings, we are encouraged further by the CCJ’s indication that they will meet again on June 24 to consider consequential orders, should the political leaders in Guyana fail to reach consensus on a way forward,” the ICD noted in a missive on Friday.
According to the two-year-old body, validity of the No-Confidence Motion has been accepted by all parties since they all previously committed to honour the CCJ rulings. To this end, the ICD posited that the Constitution must be supreme and as such, the parties should work for elections within 90 days from the CCJ ruling – since the Constitution did stipulate the resignation of the Cabinet, a dissolution of Parliament and an election within 90 days after the passage of the No-Confidence Movement.
“The democratic processes must be allowed to work and the CCJ has become an adjudicator and mediator to ensure democracy blossoms in Guyana. We are hopeful that the combination of legal authority exercised by the CCJ and mature political dialogue with a commitment to uphold the Constitution will ensure Guyana faithfully stays on the democratic course,” the ICD noted.

Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo