PNC/R says Non Pariel rampage 'disturbing'
Guyana Chronicle
August 30, 2002

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THE Opposition People's National Congress Reform (PNC/R) has described Wednesday's rampage by bandits at Non Pariel, East Coast Demerara and the violations carried out in that community as representing a "new and disturbing escalation" in the deterioration of the situation in the country.

A statement read by Dr. Faith Harding at a news conference held at the party's Sophia, Georgetown headquarters yesterday, said: "We in the PNC/R have no hesitation in declaring the situation one of crisis, no matter what evasions or twittering the Government may wish to utter in the matter."

It said citizens of all classes and social groupings are outraged and terrified, adding that they cannot feel safe, for they can discern no end to the mayhem, nor can they understand the "disorganised and ineffectual" Government responses.

And since the situation has assumed "crisis proportions", Harding said the PNC/R considers it to be "above and beyond the sphere of party political confrontation and manoeuvring."

A gang of armed bandits on an early morning rampage at Non Pariel on Wednesday terrorised and robbed several families, fleeing with jewellery, cash and household appliances.

Some 10 unmasked men, heavily armed, reportedly sexually assaulted two young women and set alight a bereaved man who was being consoled by relatives and friends at a wake as he waited to bury his wife.

The PNC/R said it was a source of great pain for it to have to comment to the nation so repeatedly on the deteriorating crime situation and the Government's response to the situation.

It expressed shock at the brutal slaying Saturday of the Acting Head of the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU), Mr. Vibert Inniss, and said that Inniss' death adds to the long list of security and Police officers who have died "violently" in the past six months.

Extending condolences to bereaved relatives and friends, the PNC/R said it also feels deeply for the Deputy CANU Head's fellow officers who have received another blow to their morale. "No society in which senior and respected officers of the security forces are victims of periodic and unsolved murders, can feel safe, nor can these forces command the respect and confidence of the community when they appear to be so vulnerable," it affirmed.

The PNC/R restated its position on the current crime situation saying it is so serious and so threatening to the existence of the State and the people, that it requires a national, non-partisan, consensual response at the highest level.

The party sent only an observer to the first national consultation on crime last week, saying it had received the invitation too late.