Top Cop must provide clarity on who gave permission for coalition’s public outreaches – Mustapha

Top Cop Leslie James

Executive Secretary of the Peoples Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), Zulfiar Mustapha has called on Commissioner of Police, Leslie James, to provide clarity regarding the planned public meetings by A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Coalition, scheduled for this weekend in communities across Region 3 (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara).

Mustapha, in a press statement on Friday, expressed “utter disgust and complete bewilderment” at the move by the coalition and called on the Top Cop to confirm if indeed permission was granted and if so, on what basis this was done.

According to Mustapha, these planned meeting are clearly in breach of the COVID-19 regulations in place aimed at preserving the health and well-being of citizens.

The Executive Secretary noted that Item 2 (1) (j) and (k) of the COVID-19 Emergency Measures published in the Official Gazette on 16 July, 2020 clearly states; “No person shall attend or visit a meeting of a fraternal society, private or social club or civic association or organization; or any other social activity.”

“Further, Item 17, under the heading, “Offence”, it is stated that any person who fails to comply with any of these measures commits an offence under Section 152 of the Public Health Ordinance and is liable to summary conviction to the penalty provided under that section.”

PPP’s Executive Secretary, Zulfikar Mustapha

According to Mustapha, one would recall a PPP/C leader and a democracy advocate were arrested and placed before the courts a few weeks ago while picketing peacefully and observing all the COVID-19 guidelines outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

However, he noted that supporters of the APNU/AFC Coalition continue to flout the COVID-19 guidelines without any reprimand.

“If it is a case where indeed permission was granted, I hope that similar courtesies will be extended to the People’s Progressive Party when and if the need arises,” Mustapha said.

AFC Executive and caretaker Public Infrastructure Minister, David Patterson, is expected to speak at Parika, East Bank Essequibo, from 09:30h, and Philadelphia New Primary School in Vergenoegen from 13:00h on Sunday.

But when contacted, the former minister refused to confirm whether he would be speaking at the scheduled outreaches.

General Secretary of the APNU, Amna Ally, also took the stance of not confirming or denying the outreach.

“That is the Coalition’s business. We have a programme and we will execute that programme. I am not confirming nor denying what you would have heard. Whatever it is, it is the Coalition’s business,” Ally said during a telephone conversation with this publication.

General Secretary Ally and Executive Members Joseph Harmon, Christopher Jones and Ronald Bulkan are also scheduled to speak at these meetings.

The outreaches as scheduled in villages such as Crane, Den Amstel, De Kindren and Uitvlugt on the West Coast of Demerara; and on the West Bank of Demerara in Phoenix Park, Goed Intent, Bagotville and Parfaite Harmonie.