PRESS STATEMENT By People’s National Congress Reform Tuesday 11 March, 2008 Media Centre, Congress Place, Sophia




THE RECENT ARRESTS OF PERSONS IN VIOLATION OF THEIR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS AND CIVIL LIBERTIES ARE PROVOCATIVE

The PNCR has always given its full and unequivocal support to the security forces to apprehend anyone who has broken the laws of this country. The Party has repeated this position on different occasions and reiterated it after the recent heinous crimes at Lusignan, on 26th January, and at Bartica, on 17th February.

The Party is, however, appalled at the recent action of the security forces which have been operating outside of the framework of the law and the Constitution of the Republic of Guyana. This is exemplified by the manner in which Guyanese citizens, including those associated with the PNCR, have been arrested and incarcerated, often on the flimsiest of pretexts. These acts are highly provocative, in the face of the deteriorating security situation in Guyana and do not augur well for its speedy resolution.

The events seem to have assumed a particular pattern after the tragic occurrences in Lusignan. The Party is constrained to note that Ms. Jennifer Westford, Minister of the Public Service, had made the accusation, both inside and outside of Parliament, that persons, under the guise of distributing toys last Christmas, had recced the area, prior to the killings at Lusignan.

It was shortly after this that Ms. Dawn King, a member of the GECOM Staff at Buxton, who had distributed toys in Sophia and other areas, was arrested. Last week, a PNCR Scrutineer, Ms Odessa Moore, was arrested at Ithaca along with her 14 year old sister. As has become usual, they were detained for the statutory period and later released without being charged.

The Leader of the PNCR, in his 2008 Budget speech to Parliament, on 5th March, pointed out that a Candidate, on the Party List for the 2006 Elections, Ms. Ramrattie Jagdeo, resided in the street at Lusignan in which the massacre occurred. Ms. Jagdeo was arrested, on Friday 7th March, and taken to Eve Leary, allegedly, on the basis of an altercation with a neighbour over differences of political opinion, in October 2007.After the insistent intervention by her Attorneys, Ms Jagdeo was released on Station Bail on Friday night and told to report to Eve Leary on Saturday morning. While there, her cell phone was taken from her and, on checking the wall-paper on the phone, an image, containing 2 hand guns, was observed. Ms. Jagdeo was asked where she got the wall paper. She explained that her daughters had installed the wall paper. The Police then went to her home and arrested her two daughters, aged 11 and 15 years. The Police then threatened to detain the two children at the East La Penitence Police station on Saturday evening last. However, the intervention of Attorneys resulted in them being released and told to report to Eve Leary yesterday. The daughters stated that they obtained the wallpaper from two boys at Lusignan. The Police arrested the two boys today and are holding them at Eve Leary.

It should be recalled that, on the morning after the Lusignan killings, President Jagdeo, even before he had received the first reports from the security forces, pointed an accusing finger at Mr. Oliver Hinckson. Mr. Hinckson and Mr. Dorian Massay were arrested and placed before the courts, on 11th March, on the accusation that statement made by them, at the 1 February 2008 Press Conference, held by the Mayor Hamilton Greene, were seditious.

Given all that has happened, the PNCR must express its alarm over the fact that the police seem, or indeed have come, under the central political direction and control of the ruling political establishment and that the activities of the police and other security forces are being manipulated to ensure a desired political outcome.

The PNCR wishes to state clearly that it will not sit idly by and allow elements of the Guyana Police Force to trample on the human and Constitutional rights of its supporters and other citizens of the Republic. The Party would do all in its power to ensure adequate representation for them and take whatever other measures are necessary to prevent the further violations of those rights.

The PNCR has summoned a meeting of its members and supporters to discuss these recent developments and to determine its future action. As matters now stand, the Party, in the wake of these developments, believes that it is harmful, to the cause of winning the confidence and trust of all National Stakeholders, for the determination and agreement of a holistic solution to the perilous national security and crime situation facing the nation..

People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia
Georgetown, Guyana.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008