President urges zero tolerance for 'terrorism'

Stabroek News
January 7, 1998

President Janet Jagan has called for the entire Guyanese nation to show zero tolerance for disorder and lawlessness and stressed that no campaign of intimidation and terrorism will succeed.

Referring to the early morning explosion at the National Television Network (NTN), Channel 18, in Brickdam, on Monday, President Jagan said that her government "most vehemently deplores" the "terrorist" attack which she said was aimed at assassinating an independent television operator for his defence of democracy.

"It is clear to the entire nation who is responsible for this escalation of terrorism and violence", Mrs Jagan said in a statement issued at around 9.30 pm on Monday.

She said that it was clear that the People's National Congress (PNC) has embarked on a studied campaign to destabilise the society and that such a calculated plan, reminiscent of methods used in the 1960s, was enunciated by the PNC leader to "shut down" the country.

However, at a press conference yesterday leader of the PNC, Desmond Hoyte, completely dissociated his party from the attack and condemned it. (See other story on page eight.) President Jagan stated that the people of Guyana wanted to work and live in peace and to enjoy the fruits of a democracy, "not the poison of political revenge and chaos."

She said that the episodes of public terror had resulted in an attempt on the life of Mayor Hamilton Green, and threats against other public figures. "Marauding gangs have invaded state offices and now threats are made to disrupt attendance at schools in Georgetown. In our view these protests have gone beyond legal bounds.

They are a threat to peace, good order and the rule of law," she said. This democracy, Mrs Jagan said, could not be built on racial incitement, violence and senseless killing and could not be promoted by bullyism, death threats, bomb hoaxes and street terror.

"We must put a stop to this spate of lawlessness. We must extinguish the fire of terrorism before it engulfs our entire nation," she appealed. The President called on all political parties to eschew violence or retaliation, noting that the Constitution and laws provided mechanisms for the peaceful resolution of political conflicts.

"Let us resort to these mechanisms, rather than to brute force," she urged. Mrs Jagan also called on the security forces to maintain their high alert and vigilance and to protect the peace in Guyana from further destabilising acts.