President’s Berbice visit greeted with protest

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…as Police arrest drivers taking protesters

Members and supporters of the Opposition Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) on Friday picketed President David Granger as he made his way to the Corentyne in East Berbice, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne).

However, some of the protesters were detained by the Police as they were making their way to the picket line.

The protesters were voicing their concerns about a number of issues affecting the country, including the dismissal of thousands of sugar workers, the high crime rate, and unilateral appointment of GECOM chairman Justice James Patterson, 84, on October 19, 2017, by President David Granger.

Speaking to the media on Friday, Regional Party Chairman Zamal Hussain said the PPP is upset over the unilateral decision taken by the President in appointing the new GECOM Chairman. Last month, the party picketed Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, and had vowed to do the same whenever the President came to the region.

“We are very concerned about this unilateral decision by the President to appoint the GECOM Chairman, and it should be rescinded because this is unconstitutional…This action is a recipe for rigged elections, and we are here to protest against the dark days coming back to Guyana, and this is something we are trying to stop. The GECOM Chairperson is the key in how the 2020 elections will be run,” Hussain said.

Hussain spoke on behalf of some ex-estate workers who were present at the protest. Their severance, he said, should be the full payment, and not 50 per cent.

Hussain called on the Government to provide transportation for children in the various areas whose parents are now jobless.

The opposition regional Councillor, during the protest, called for the dismissed workers to get water and electricity subsidies to cushion the impact of their unemployment.

“We are also here to show our discomfort with the spiralling crime rate in Guyana,” Hussain said.

Hussain expressed disappointment over the fact that some colleagues of the sugar workers could not attend the exercise.

He explained that the minibus, which was taking some of the protesters, was stopped at Lewis Manor village and taken to the Albion Police Station, where one of the drivers was charged for having a sticker on the back of the bus which has the name of the bus service and a telephone number.

The other bus allegedly had a sign which read ‘private’ on the dashboard. Both drivers are expected to make a court appearance. (Andrew Carmichael)

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