PNC heavyweights against ministerial misconduct

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-As Broomes denies knowledge of parking lot fiasco

Minister within the Ministry of Natural Resources Simona Broomes

Heavyweights of the Peoples National Congress (PNC) have added their views on the matter involving Junior Natural Resources Minister Simona Broomes, her driver and two security guards at a private business establishment stating that they are against ministerial misconduct.

General Secretary of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), Amna Ally has said that if the reported account of the dispute is factual, then the incident would be extremely unfortunate.

“If it is that something took place as is reported, it’s unfortunate, very unfortunate. Something like that shouldn’t happen because we have to be able to follow rules and so on,” Ally said.

Nevertheless, the veteran PNC politician also went on to state that everyone must observe the rule of law whether “you are a minister, you are an ordinary person; that is what is expected.”

Asked whether she was able to view the video footage which tells a different story from the one being told by Broomes, Ally said, she has more important things to do.

Ally, who also serves as a senior minister in the coalition administration, said while she has not spoken to Broomes about the incident she may seek an explanation from her at some point.

Another senior executive of the party, Volda Lawrence told the media that she was surprised by what was told to her by one of the security guards involved in the incident.

When questioned further whether she thinks the Broomes should apologise, she said that the Minister will make her own personal decision on whether to apologise or not.

Lawrence, the PNC Vice Chairperson, on Tuesday had apologised to one of the security guards who was locked up by police for 16 hours for allegedly abusing the Junior Minister of Natural Resources.

She explained that she was having dinner at the New Thriving Restaurant when the security guard approached her and recounted what had transpired. After hearing his side, she apologised.

“We didn’t come into Government for issues like this. We came into make changes,” Lawrence said, while explaining that she felt compelled to apologise on behalf of the PNCR.

Meanwhile, State Minister Joseph Harmon said that it would be unprofessional for Broomes to comment on the matter when it is still being investigated by the police.

However, Broomes is campaigning with and for Harmon who is contesting for the chairmanship of the PNC/R. He will be challenging the incumbent chairman Basil Williams and Lawrence.

Although the Minister had called the police and had the two security guards arrested, the Minister on Thursday denied any knowledge of the incident, stating “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

On her arrival at Parliament, Broomes was flocked by members of the local press who asked the Minister for a comment on the matter but she refused and eventually walked away.

When told about the incident at the Massey Stores parking lot, she maintained that “I don’t know what you’re talking about” and proceeded to walk towards the Parliament Chambers.

Broomes had claimed that she and her driver, whose name has not been officially released to the media to date, were the victims of verbal assaults and threats by two security guards, who were attempting to bar her from parking in a specific section of the establishment.

The Minister with the Natural Resources Ministry, who is no stranger to controversy, had even alleged that one of the guards had pointed and “crocked” a firearm at her and the driver of her SUV vehicle at some point during the incident.

She claimed that she was fearful for her life and safety as a result of the actions of the guards, who were arrested and detained by Police ranks following the incident for close to 16 hours before being released on their own recognizance.

However, since the release of footage on Tuesday, it became clear that the version of the story told by Minister Broomes was different from what was depicted thereby forcing a tidal wave of criticisms and attacks against the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU/AFC) official on social media, with Guyanese accusing her of high-handedness and dishonesty.

There have also been attacks on her integrity as more support and sympathy poured in on Wednesday for the guards, who it is being argued were “simply doing their jobs”.

Asked whether the Police have found any proof to substantiate the claims made by Minister Broomes that a gun was aimed at her during the ordeal, Crime Chief Paul Williams has declined to make any definitive pronouncement as he dodged the issue.

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo believes that the Minister’s behaviour if true was atrocious and should not be allowed to continue.

He said that the incident also pointed to the fact that sometimes people rush to judgement, referring to the unwarranted arrests of the two security guards at the Massey Store over the incident without properly investigating the issue thoroughly. He believes that the Police should be held responsible, given that they acted unprofessionally.

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