PPP/C condemns violence, PNC/R accuses police of brutality

Guyana Chronicle
April 10, 2001

THE governing PPP/Civic has strongly condemned yesterday's violent disruptions in Georgetown and stressed that if the opposition PNC/R is serious about a productive and genuine dialogue, as it claims, it must end its "futile campaign" of disruption and violence.

The PPP/C, in a statement last night, said the leadership of the PNC/R and the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) must be held accountable for the hundreds of millions of dollars in damage caused by yesterday's fire in Georgetown.

The governing alliance also held the PNC/R and the union responsible for the harm inflicted on targeted citizens and the society, as a whole, stemming from the indiscriminate violence and disruptions.

But the PNC/R, in a statement, accused police of brutality against "peaceful protestors" outside the Office of the President.

"The PNC leaders, such as its Chairman Robert Corbin, are part of the deliberate acts of violence and public terror which bespeak Congress Place's intention not to help create an environment of stability and trust," the PPP/C charged.

It said that while supporting President Bharrat Jagdeo's call and the nation's desire for dialogue, it believes that yesterday's violent and organised disruptions again do not help to create an atmosphere for such meaningful engagements to take place.

"If the PNC is serious about a productive and genuine dialogue, as it claims, then it must end its futile campaign of disruption and violence."

The PPP/C said that all Guyanese must support the law enforcement agencies so as to ensure that law and order prevail in the society.

It also called on "our people to be on high alert and stand ready to defend our democratic gains."

The PPP/C said it strongly deplored yesterday's acts of disruptions and violence.

According to the PPP/C these were clearly intended to disrupt activities at several government offices, including the Office of the President, and the main shopping centres in the vicinity of Regent Street, Georgetown.

It said the GPSU has formally joined the post-elections political campaign of the PNC/R, adding that this also confirms the long suspected political allegiance of that union's leadership.

"The burning of stores and offices, the attacks and intimidation against the citizenry and law enforcement ranks are part of the PNC and GPSU's stated objective of `shutting down' the country", the PPP/C charged.

The PNC/R, following clashes between the Police and some of itssupporters outside the Office of the President, said yesterday will go down as a "dark and shameful day" in the history of the country.

It added that while President Jagdeo was making friendly gestures about negotiations, the regime was intent on "using violence and brute force to subdue the will of the people for lasting peace and stability".

It said that as the protestors objected to the action by the Police against their leaders, the Police "wantonly and indiscriminately fired into the crowd and wielded their batons to beat, bludgeon and brutalise the protesters, mostly women."

The PNC/R said that as a result, several people, including Mr Robert Corbin and Mr Jerome Khan, received life-threatening injuries at the hands of the Police.

It added that the senior two senior party leaders and numerous others were "brutally dragged and thrown into waiting police vehicles."

According to the PNC/R, "We are convinced that today's arrogant acts coupled with the recent events and utterances of the PPP, clearly indicate that they have no interest in dialogue and the creation of a peaceful and stable environment necessary for constructive negotiations to resolve the problems which confront the nation."