On Tuesday 11th September 2012, the village of Agricola on the East Bank of Demerara experienced its own 9/11. It was the “oh too” familiar scene of weeping mothers, dead and injured Guyanese, blood and of course, members of the Guyana Police Force, who residents have accused of the use of excessive force and murder.
At 17:00 hrs (5:00 pm) on that same day, Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform, Brigadier David Granger visited the scene of horror with former Commissioner of Police, Mr. Winston Felix, MP, and Central Executive member of the PNCR, Ms. Malika Ramsey, where they received first hand information from residents on the shooting incident.
The Opposition Leader also visited the scene of the shooting at Caesar Street, Agricola and spoke to the families of the dead teen, Shaquille Grant called “Georgie”, and the injured, Romel Bollers, Troy Greenidge, Jamal Henry and Nicholas Eastman. He interacted with residents in which he was adamant that the APNU would hold the powers that be accountable if a thorough investigation into this apparent avoidable killing was not conducted.
Brigadier Granger also called for an inquest into the death of the teen as provided by law and committed that legal officers from APNU would work assiduously to secure the pre-trial liberty of those youths who are incarcerated. These youths would be guaranteed legal representation from the APNU.
Attorney-at-Law, Mr. James Bond, MP, was tasked with providing legal services for the four young men that are incarcerated and has since visited them at the Brickdam lockups where he interviewed them. He also raised with Senior Superintendant Ramsay, the Officer in Charge of Crime for “A” Division, the question of bail for the young men, but Officer Ramsay has indicated that an identification parade will first have to be conducted whereafter the question of bail would be addressed.
APNU will continue to be committed to ensuring and enforcing respect for the Human Rights of all Guyanese citizens, as espoused by Leader of the Opposition, Brigadier David Granger. The people of Guyana, like the village of Agricola, have had their basic human rights to life, as well as freedom of assembly and association, trampled upon and run roughshod over by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic regime and the Guyana Police Force. It is, therefore, not surprising that APNU has committed its legal officers to assist the victims of this latest instance of police brutality in every way possible, as is the case with regard to the incidents at Linden. We believe that the use of deadly force, as declared by the then President Bharrat Jagdeo, has now become the culture of the Guyana Police Force. As a consequence, the average Guyanese citizen can no longer feel safe in Guyana.
We urge every Guyanese, irrespective of their race, class, religion, or political persuasion, to register their utter disgust at these heinous acts by members of the Guyana Police Force.
Status of the Linden Commission of Inquiry
On Thursday 6th September 2012, A Partnership for National Unity wrote the Secretary of the Commission of Inquiry into the Linden shooting of 18th July 2012, stating that the APNU found the appointments of Mr. Euclin Gomes and Mr. Ganesh Hira, both of them Attorneys-at-Law attached to the Chamber of Nandall and Associates, as Attorneys for the Commission of Inquiry as unacceptable.
On Friday 7th September 2012, the Secretary of the Commission of Inquiry telephoned Mr. Joseph Harmon, MP, to acknowledge receipt of APNU’s letter and promised to forward our letter to the Commissioners for direction. Since that time, APNU has received no written or oral response to the concerns raised in our letter.
One week has passed and, as such, we are obliged to advise our supporters in Linden not to deal with these two Attorneys.
We are confident that Attorneys from APNU and other political parties, who are interested, can and will provide legal services to the community pending the response from the Commission.
As we speak, Mr. Basil Williams, MP of APNU and Chairman of the People’s National Congress Reform, and other officials are in Linden doing legal work in this regard.
PPP/C Government hell bent on destroying Local Government
APNU places on record that it is in solidarity with and support of the residents of Kwakwani who have decided that they have had enough of the undemocratic actions of the out-of-control Ministry of Local Government and are unprepared to accept the imposition of an Interim Management Committee (IMC) that was foisted on their community and which arrived like a thief in the night.
It is clear to APNU that the minority PPP/C Government intends to make local government a casualty of their loss of Parliament and would go to any lengths in pursuit of this perverse agenda. Their clear objective is to exercise control over local authorities in defiance of the popular will.
In two earlier Press Releases, APNU alerted the public to this chaotic and destructive agenda being prosecuted by Minister Ganga Persaud and his sidekick, Mr. Norman Whittaker, which saw them taking their wrecking ball across the country and in the process dismantling duly-elected neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDC’s) and Municipalities in almost every region and replacing them with hand-picked PPP loaded IMC’s. There can be no justification for these actions and agenda, since the PPP/C Government is responsible for the non-holding of local government elections since 1994).
This undemocratic and unprincipled campaign must stop!
Citizens must demand and insist on their right to elect their own councillors to manage community affairs in accordance with constitutional provisions.
In Port Kaituma, Corriverton, Bartica, Lethem, Kwakwani and elsewhere the actions of the Government have left a bitter taste in the mouths and hearts of residents and quite rightly they are beginning to express their displeasure and disgust. APNU supports communities and citizens who reject undemocratic councils that have been imposed upon them.
APNU unequivocally asserts that the campaign to undermine the authority of Regional Democratic Councils (RDC’s) to the extent of usurping their powers and even bypassing them altogether, has to cease.
First, there was the partisan interference in NDC’s with the illegal transfer of overseers in Region #4, and now we have the supposed July 2012 Ministerial Order of Revocation of delegated authority, which had allowed for RDC’s to overseer NDC’s located in their respective regions, and now placing them under the control of the Minister of Local Government.
We are forced to ask what other illegalities and vulgarity the Government is contemplating to exacerbate the crisis and chaos now enveloping local government.
We call once again for an end to these deliberately provocative actions and for the Government to meaningfully engage the Parliamentary Opposition and the duly-elected local government organs to allow for citizens to participate in local government.