PNC denounces bombing allegations as ridiculous

by By Alim Hassim
Stabroek News
January 7, 1998

The People's National Congress (PNC) has completely dissociated itself from bombing incidents in the city and has reaffirmed its commitment to peaceful demonstrations.

While there have been reports of demonstrators in Georgetown terrorising people, deflating tyres of vehicles parked in the streets and verbally assaulting people, PNC leader, Desmond Hoyte said yesterday that he was satisfied that the protests were being carried out in a peaceful manner.

Early Monday morning two devices exploded in the compound of the National Television Network (NTN) in Brickdam, severely injuring a security guard and causing damage. Proprietor of the station, Anand Persaud, at a press conference on Monday pointed fingers at "known PNC activists".

In response, Hoyte said: "I take this opportunity to say three things: first, the PNC dismisses and rejects his claim as being utterly ridiculous; second, the PNC reaffirms its commitment to continuing legitimate protests in the peaceful manner in which they have proceeded so far; and thirdly, there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that the incident has any political implications."

The PNC leader said that whatever was the motive for the bombing, the party deplored and condemned it and "hopes that the police would be able quickly to bring the culprits to justice." He extended sympathy to the injured security guard and members of his family on behalf of the party.

"I have just learnt this morning [yesterday] that there was a bombing incident at the Le Meridien Pegasus. Fortunately, there was no injury or loss of life reported," he said, adding that the PNC was deeply concerned at the trend of events and will be studying the matter very carefully.

He stressed that the PNC had no interest in, and nothing to gain from, violent acts of this kind. Meanwhile, Hoyte restated his party's intention to continue its demonstrations until "its goals" were met. "We have a situation that is sufficiently serious for the PNC to resort to public protest. I have seen some letters in the press which seem to suggest that all the protesters are members of the PNC.

That is not so," he stressed, contending that many of them were "angry young people who wanted to know that their votes were counted and when they looked at the bizarre results they know that their votes were not counted and they would like something to be done about it".

He said that the protesters' determination to have their rights met was evident in their foregoing of their Old Year's night celebration and keeping vigil outside State House.

"I have done a good job in keeping them within a framework of good order, but I agree... there is always the possibility of people infiltrating and creating a situation that's undesirable... We keep saying to our people that they must act within the framework of the law and so far they have been doing that," Hoyte said.

"Their demonstration had been peaceful. I myself took part in the largest demonstration and that was incident free and not a single problem and the police were hardly seen. That is precisely the way we will like to see it continue," he added.