The scene at Thursday’s protest in Agricola, Guyana
By Caribbean News Now contributor
GEORGETOWN, Guyana -- Protestors virtually shut down the vital East Bank Highway corridor between Georgetown and the Demerara Harbour Bridge in Guyana on Thursday.
Protests also began at 9 am in front of the magistrate’s court in Georgetown and continued sporadically throughout the day.
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall on Thursday evening soundly condemned the actions of the protestors and refuted claims that the protests were as a result of statements made by head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr Roger Luncheon in response to an ultimatum given by Nigel Hughes, chairman of the Alliance For Change (AFC) opposition party, to President Donald Ramotar to replace Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee, following a spate of controversial police actions.
On Monday, Hughes publicly issued an ultimatum to Ramotar, to dismiss Rohee as minister of home affairs and gave the president has 48 hours to comply.
The statements made by Luncheon, it was noted, were not made public before the protests began and this clearly indicates that the actions were pre-planned long before, according to Nandlall.
Nandlall noted that all of the recent incidents involving the police force are under investigations or subject to commissions of enquiry and as such it was wrong for any politician to supersede the potential findings of such investigative bodies.
Calls for the home affairs minister to demit office were without merit, according to the attorney general, who noted that Section 7 of the Police Act defines the role of the minister and bars him or her from interfering with the day to day running of the police force.
He added that claims by Hughes that Rohee was instrumental in the operation that resulted in the deaths of three Lindeners during an earlier protest were dispelled when the phone records were tendered during the ongoing enquiry.
Hundreds of travellers were forced to miss their flights on Thursday, which were eventually cancelled, and patients being transferred for medical treatment to or from the regional hospitals had to forego their medical treatment.
There were several reported robberies as criminals took advantage of the chaos that followed at the Stabroek Market wharves, when people crowded into speed boats to get across the Demerara River.
The attorney general also noted that criminal charges may be brought against those deemed to be responsible for the protest action and resultant damage to public property.