Claims of ‘hooliganism’ just manufactured lies – Teixeira

Gail Teixeira
  • points to veiled threats against protesters, parliamentary Opposition
  • reminds that Govt ignored PPP’s previous offer to extend life

People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Executive Gail Teixeira has called out the Police and President David Granger, for their utterances against peaceful protesters, coupled with the disregard for the Constitution.

During a programme “Over the Red Line”, Teixeira noted that if one examined footage from last Thursday’s protest in front of the Pegasus Hotel, it would show that PPP supporters were not violent during the protest. Teixeira denied claims that attempts were made to tip over a Minister’s vehicle.

“Let’s look at the Police. From all the footage from the protest, this was a noisy but peaceful protest. When they talk about the Minister and overturning the vehicle, all the footage shows that the people were far away, several feet away from the car.

“These are manufactured lies,” Teixeira stressed. “They have tried to create a situation that the Ministers’ lives were threatened, which is totally fallacious. We’re not interested in that. We believe the person accountable is Granger.”

Opposition Executive member, Gail Teixeira

Teixeira then pointed to intimidatory tactics and statements from Congress Place, in which the protesters were described as hooligans. She also expressed her concern at the veiled threats contained in the Guyana Police Force’s press release on the protests.

“We have seen the backlash by the Government, (with President Granger) saying that the intellectual authors of these protests, he hopes they know how to stop it. So these intimidatory tactics are totally unacceptable and an indication that this government is going to move more and more in a direction to a road (of trampling on) human rights in our country: the right to assembly, expression of our views, etc.

“What is good is we have seen the Bar Association come out, the Chamber of Commerce, FITUG, CIOG, Dharmic Sabha and, of course, the international community – the United States, Britain, the EU.

Teixeira noted that once a government took the Constitution and violated it, the country was in a state whereby whoever was holding the reins of government was illegally and unconstitutionally squatting in office.

“That is the definition of a dictatorship. One of the things we had warned was that when any government overthrows the Constitution, it is not just an issue of elections and no confidence motion. Other democratic rights are going to be vulnerable.

“The first indication we had of that is at the picketing, where persons were exercising their right to protest and show their anger and frustration at a government that is violating the Constitution and is illegal.”

When it comes to the PPP returning to Parliament and providing the necessary two-thirds majority to legally extend the Government’s life, Teixeira made it clear that the time for that had passed. She noted that when the PPP wrote Granger offering to give him the necessary two-thirds majority, its overture was completely ignored.

“We wrote him saying that 1) we would give our two-thirds in Parliament for elections on or before April 30, when the life of the voters’ list would expire. We put conditions; that is no new contracts, no procurement, no bilateral sale of our resources. Mr Granger ignored it completely. He did not even have the decency, and he’s always concerned with etiquette, to write a letter saying he acknowledged our letter.”

The constitutional deadline for holding elections, as set out by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), had expired as of September 18. When it made its June 18, 2019 ruling on the no-confidence cases, the CCJ had said that the effect of the No-Confidence Motion was on pause while the cases were being litigated.

That process, CCJ President Adrian Saunders had clearly said, was no longer on pause following the court’s ruling, which upheld the validity of the no confidence motion, thus triggering the need for fresh elections.

In keeping with the constitutional three months’ provision once a No-Confidence Motion is passed, this would mean that General and Regional Elections should be held on or before September 18, 2019.

Despite Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Chairperson, Retired Justice Claudette Singh informing the President on Thursday that the elections body would be in a position to hold elections by February 2020, President Granger is yet to set an election date.

It has now been over nine months since the No-Confidence Motion was passed against his Government. The Constitution of Guyana stipulates that elections must be held within three months of the passage of such a motion.