As protests which started off as a movement for justice turned violent, Chairperson of the Peoples National Congress Reform (PNC/R) has made a passionate plead for all citizens, including party members and supporters, to bring an end to the lawlessness.
Protests have erupted across the country, particularly in West Berbice, following the discovery of the brutal murders of cousins 19-year-old Joel and 16-year-old Isaiah Henry on Sunday.
However, these protests have descended into lawlessness, with the blocking of roads; innocent persons being attacked and robbed; and private properties destroyed. In fact, as a result of high tensions in West Berbice communities, two persons have tragically lost their lives amid the protests.
In a message on social media on Wednesday, Lawrence expressed that these past three days of protests cannot be condoned.
“What I have seen along the way, as a leader, I consciously cannot condone it. We are hurting each other as a people, we are hurting each other as neighbours and friends, and we are turning on each other as we don’t know each other.”
“As a leader, we have to call a ‘spade a spade’, and as I speak, I am calling on President Irfaan Ali to call on his people too. I am calling on my people to end this carnage, to end the way in which they are grieving and I am asking him to do likewise. As our people pull back, so he must call on his people too to pull back,” Lawrence stated.
She recognised that the past three days have been gripped in fear, anger, vexation and hurt over the brutal murder of the two Henry boys. She also recognised the gruesome murder of 17-year-old Haresh Singh, a relative of some of the suspects in custody.
Lawrence condemned the senseless killings, noting that these actions are not helpful.
“We are not a people who kill our children, we are not a people who maim each other, we are not barbarians, we are Guyanese, we are six people living together and we have to continue living together, and this has to stop,” she contended.
“I am calling on every single member of the PNC/R irrespective of your status, I am saying that we cannot continue, this carnage must stop.”
The former parliamentarian and government minister explained that there are more peaceful ways to grieve and she encouraged those who are hurt not to resort to violence.
“We certainly can display our grief in a better manner, we certainly can emphatise in a different way.”
“Stop, stop, it is hurting us. It is hurting our image as a people across the world. We are looking as though we are barbarians. We are looking as though we have no love and no care.”
Lawrence explained that “we are asking for justice, but we are also asking for peace…pull away the things from the middle of the road, we can do things differently, we can send our messages differently. It doesn’t mean that we are weak.”