Thousands of People’s Progressive Party (PPP) supporters in all ten administrative regions of Guyana on Friday morning protested the Government’s action of not naming a date for elections. The protest came hours before the Court of Appeal in a 2:1 judgement held that the no-confidence vote was not validly passed on December 21, 2018, since a requirement of 34 persons was needed to pass the motion in Parliament. However, the Chief Justice, Roxanne George, had previously ruled that 33 was the majority and the vote was valid. Nevertheless, the PPP has since indicated that they will be appealing the Court of Appeal’s decision at the level of the Caribbean Court of Justice.
Meanwhile, during the peaceful protest on Friday, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo said that the party will continue to “mount pressure on this illegal Government until they call elections”. He made the comment while he along with PPP’s Presidential Candidate, Irfaan Ali along with party executives led a large crowd of supporters in front of the Ministry of the Presidency on Friday morning.
According to Jagdeo, the protest actions will continue sporadically.
“We don’t want to disrupt the lives of ordinary citizens, we don’t want to disturb the business community, the public servants and other workers across the country, our security forces. But we will target those who have been holding our country hostage….as for GECOM, it is complicit with the Government, that is the three Government-appointed Commissioners and the Chairman, and they take instructions from the Government and just repeat what Congress Place wants them to say,” Jagdeo said.
Meanwhile, PPP Presidential Candidate Irfaan Ali stated that the protest action was countrywide.
He explained that the actions by APNU/AFC are a testimony to the breakdown of the rule of law as well as the disregard and disrespect for Guyana’s Constitution.
“So what you are seeing here is the people power, the people power demonstrating their fundamental human rights. We were debarred, we were barred from going in front of the Office of the President a few minutes earlier so we came on the back, no reason was given, as you can see this is a very peaceful protest and this is the will of the people. And it is all across the country.”
He added that similar protests were held in Trinidad, Canada, New York and in the United Kingdom.
Also on the protest line was former Education Minister Priya Manickchand, who argued that on December 21, 2018, the majority of the Guyanese populace, through their representatives in the National Assembly, voiced that neither do they have any confidence in the Executive arm of the Government nor do they trust the Executive arm of that Government.
At Anna Regina, Region Two, (Pomeroon-Supenaam) over 1000 party supporters and residents across the coast decked out in the party’s colours as they too protested against the APNU/AFC coalition.
Some of the placards read – “GECOM is not above the law, time to respect the Constitution, Granger has violated the Constitution, no Parliament without election date.”
Regions Five & Six
The demonstrations in Berbice were held outside of the Guyana Election Commission (GECOM) Regional office at Fort Wellington in Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice) and Princess Elizabeth Road, New Amsterdam where the Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) office is located.
Former Health Minister Dr Leslie Ramsammy addressed the scores of protesters, where he stated that Guyana exited the fold of free and democratic nations and is now among a handful of countries without freedom and democracy.
Region Five Chairman Vickchand Ramphal called for persons to keep the pressure to ensure that democracy is upheld.
In New Amsterdam they chanted, “Granger must go” and “We demand elections now”, among others while holding placards. Some of the slogans displayed read: “Granger is not above the law”, “The Prime Minister is illegal”, “Patterson must not take instructions from Granger”, “Send home the GECOM Chairman now he is not fit and proper for the position – we do not trust him”, “GECOM is playing games”.
Meanwhile, Region Six Chairman David Armogan in his address to the gathering said that that the coalition Government has thrown aside everything that is lawful and is now imposing illegal actions.
Meanwhile, residents of Region Nine also joined in protesting for free and fair elections to be held in a timely manner.
PPP’s Alister Charlie, who was on the front lines of that protest stated that the residents in his region were protesting for democracy.
In Linden, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice), PPP supporters turned out in their numbers at the Five Corner on the Mackenzie shore in support of the country-wide protest
The protesters were led by former Prime Minister Samuel Hinds and Opposition Member of Parliament (MP) Juan Edghill. Protesters were drawn from areas across the region, including Kwakwani.
In an invited comment, Edghill said the protesters were part of the nationwide stand up of peaceful picketing against the “unconstitutional” and “unlawful” Granger-led Administration.
Similar sentiments were also uttered by Hinds, who noted that President Granger should have arranged for elections to be held before March 21.
Speaking with this publication, a resident of Kwakwani, Sashi Parvaton said she believes that the Government should have resigned based on what the Constitution outlines. (Additional reporting by Andrew Carmichael, Utamu Belle and Mohanlall Seulall)