Campaign against injustices will be stepped up - Hoyte
Sharma remains undaunted By Andrew Richards
Stabroek News
January 26, 2002

Opposition Leader Desmond Hoyte has promised stepped up action against perceived injustices by the government beginning with the huge protest march yesterday through the streets of Georgetown.

The march was organised by the PNC REFORM (PNC/R) and Justice For All Party (JFAP) to protest against extra-judicial killings, police brutality, discrimination, unemployment and the recent attack on JFAP leader C N Sharma.

The one-and-a-half hour march took the thousands who participated through the streets of Georgetown and ended on Parade Ground shortly after 1700 hrs (5 pm).

Hoyte stated that the people had spoken by coming out in their numbers, bringing with them the message that "we are not running any longer."

Hoyte said: "From now on we shall remain united and exert the necessary pressure on the PPP regime until it comes to its senses."

He said it was not a single party, which organised the march, pointing out that the protest also included organisations in civil society. Representatives from the Guyana Public Service Union, the African Cultural and Development Association, the Justice for Jermaine Committee and JFAP also addressed the gathering.

Hoyte stated that no single organisation could bring about change in a country and that "all the forces of decency have to unite to show the PPP that enough is enough."

He said the people could no longer tolerate the wanton killing of the young and the march was intended to signal the beginning of the end to that type of action. Dozens of men have died at the hands of the police in recent years in controversial circumstances.

"What you have done today, people internationally will look at the regime and reflect on the injustices being perpetuated in the country," he said.

Hoyte said the intention was to introduce a government that would not wantonly kill young people nor discriminate.

"The manifestation today at the march is a signal to the regime that we are not dormant," he stated.

He urged the protesters to remain united to keep the pressure on. "I want you to stick together because we have started a momentum which is not going to stop until we bring about radical change in society," he said.

The PNC/R leader described Sharma as a man of tremendous courage, noting that it was not the first time he had been beaten up while performing his duties. Nor was it the first time he was hauled before the courts, he added.

Sharma had been summoned to appear in court yesterday to answer the charge of using a noisy instrument during the funeral procession of Brian King who was shot in the mouth by a policeman in December. The case was dismissed.

Hoyte said as long as people like Sharma were around the government would continue to feel the pressure until it folded.

Sharma, with his eye and head bandaged and fitted with a neck brace, told the crowd that his attackers tried to blind him and cut his hair - Sampson like - to take away his strength.

He declared that his strength lay with the people of Guyana and no matter what harm came to him he would still have the energy to fight against injustice. This brought a huge roar from the crowd and he went on to tell them that his weekly Saturday morning distribution of foodstuff to senior citizens and children would continue despite his impairment.

Sharma had to be supported during his brief address to the gathering. He said his doctors had advised him not to make long speeches.

Sharma thanked all those who wished him well and prayed for him after the attack last Sunday which left him hospitalised for a few days.