PNC/R denies Luncheon's charge of established link with escapees
Carberry urges that necessary action be taken
May 30, 2002
Articles on Mashramani Day Jailbreak
Cabinet Secretary Dr Roger Luncheon said yesterday that government has established that the PNC/R has firm linkages with the five prison escapees, a charge the PNC/R has strongly dismissed.
Speaking at his weekly press briefing yesterday, Luncheon said that Minister of Home Affairs, Ronald Gajraj, had revealed the PNC/R's connection with the criminals. He did not elaborate further.
Luncheon said the verbal excesses of the PNC/R has led the "young and not so young... the impressionable and confused souls" to attempt to fulfil the utterances of the party. He said that some of the statements coming from the PNC/R were: "do as you please," "fight the government," confront the law enforcement agencies" and "make Guyana ungovernable."
He stated that worse was expected to come from the party as the struggle continued for political succession in the PNC/R, when rivals will attempt to outdo each other.
Luncheon said the outrage over the murder of law officers, the latest being Sherwin Alleyne, reverberated around the society and would redound to the discredit of the PNC/R.
Alleyne died on Monday night after he was shot when a vehicular patrol he was in came under fire on Saturday evening at Coldingen, East Coast Demerara.
The five prison escapees broke out of the Georgetown Prison on February 23 and there has been an upsurge of brutal crimes since.
PNC/R central executive committee member and Member of Parliament, E. Lance Carberry, said yesterday that his party's position was clear: It did not condone lawlessness and illegality.
Carberry pointed out that the law was there to be enforced and if Luncheon and the PPP/Civic had the evidence to support those statements then the authorities should take the necessary action.
He said that because the PNC/R called for a commission of enquiry into the operations of the Guyana Police Force, there were persons who wanted to distort the party's position and claim it was anti-police and pro-criminal. Carberry noted that President Bharrat Jagdeo had alleged that some persons in the PNC/R were linked to the criminal elements and now Luncheon was saying it was the entire PNC/R. He called for an explanation of the contradiction.
Luncheon told reporters yesterday that the PNC/R and its leadership continued to trumpet wild charges against the PPP. He stated that "veiled and unveiled" threats continued to flow from the PNC/R's offices and public functions.
He said this did not mean the administration would not respond to the PNC/R's utterances, since government had an unwavering resolve to carry out its mandate as an elected government. Government would continue to take decisive action, he said, and was prepared to engage in dialogue with the opposition to bring a closure to the situation in a civil manner.
Luncheon acknowledged that some sections of society might feel that not enough was being done by government to remedy the lawlessness pervading the society. He said this might have come about as a result of the failure so far to recapture the February 23 prison escapees.
Noting that the law enforcement agencies have the responsibility to maintain law and order in civil society, he pointed out that President Jagdeo could also engage the army in the process on the request of the Police Commissioner. He stressed, however, that such a step was taken in certain circumstances where specific conditions existed.
The Cabinet Secretary said the progressive military and joint services response to crime reflected the administration's commitment to addressing the situation. He declared that society would see greater involvement of the joint services in confronting the situation.
"All the action so far has failed to recapture the escapees. I concede that it has contributed to the notion that enough was not being done," he said. "It's a reality the administration would have to confront every day as long as the escapees are not captured."
He stated that with appropriate resources and intelligence, the administration would work zealously to bring the saga to an end.