Meadowbrook residents lay siege to Lumumba's house

Stabroek News
March 21, 2001

Residents of the Meadowbrook community in south Georgetown during Monday night and all day yesterday targeted the home of PPP/Civic candidate, Odinga Lumumba claiming that he had hidden ballot boxes in his home. Lumumba has stoutly denied the charge.

When Stabroek News visited the area yesterday it was noticed that Meadowbrook drive and Takuba Street were blocked with debris--old iron and logs. Police could be seen traversing the area and had the task of removing the roadblocks as residents taunted them.

The residents told this newspaper that a number of suspicious activities were observed at Lumumba's house and they just wanted to stand guard at the house to make sure that no ballot boxes left or entered the gates.

They said that vehicles could be seen leaving and entering Lumumba's premises and since it was elections day they became suspicious.

One resident, Kevin Walcott, 34, of 294 Meadowbrook Gardens claimed that he was hit several times about the body with a gun by Lumumba. He showed this newspaper several bruises on his body to substantiate his story.

Walcott, who said he lives a few houses away from Lumumba, said he saw a large crowd in front of the man's house and went out to investigate. He said that he saw Lumumba approaching a man with a gun and was looking to see if he was going to shoot the man and it was then he was attacked by Lumumba.

The man said he had to visit the Georgetown Public Hospital to receive treatment for the injuries he sustained. He received stitches on his right hand for one of the injuries.

The residents said that it was after the man was hit with the gun that they became irate and blocked the roads, burning tyres and debris.

However, when Stabroek News contacted Lumumba at his home yesterday he denied there were any illegal activities transpiring at his home. He did not deny hitting Walcott. Instead, he said, as he was leaving his home, a crowd surrounded him and he swung his gun wildly to get out of the crowd. He said if the man was in the crowd he could have been hit but he should not have been in the crowd.

When this newspaper visited Lumumba's home yesterday, there were two armed guards at the gate. According to Lumumba, himself and Minister of Health Henry Jeffrey, another PPP/C candidate, were in charge of the South Georgetown area and he used his house for the transporting of meals and other items to PPP/C polling agents at the various stations. He said that several of the party's polling agents were harassed by opposition supporters. All the incidents, he said, were reported to the police.

Stabroek News attempted to solicit a comment from the police but all attempts proved futile.

Lumumba said himself and Jeffrey along with attorney-at-law Hubert Rodney had to remain in his home from 11:00 pm until 3:00 am when police came and escorted them out of the house. He said that talk-show hosts were saying things about him on television and as such putting the lives of himself and family and a number of other persons in danger.

During yesterday afternoon, members of the Police Target Special Forces, along with many others were seen standing guard in front of Lumumba's house and along streets surrounding his home. They were all armed, some of them wearing gas masks, and they kept the crowd away.

After some time the police withdrew and although there were still a few persons milling around, the atmosphere appeared to be relatively calm.