CARICOM condemns invasion of President's compound
Stabroek News
July 6, 2002

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CARICOM Heads of Government last night condemned Wednesday's invasion of the Office of the President by protesters and urged that the results of the 2001 general elections "be fully accepted".

In Georgetown for their 23rd summit, CARICOM Heads were preparing for the opening ceremony of the meeting at the National Cultural Centre when dozens of anti-government protesters barged into the Presidential complex, sacked offices and threatened workers at knife point. In the ensuing chaos, two protesters were shot dead by guards, several others injured and a number of them arrested. This was followed by an orgy of looting and arson by other protesters in which two stores on Regent Street were burnt to the ground.

"Heads of Government were greatly disturbed by the acts of violence committed on July 3, 2002 by bands of persons who flouted the law with the intent of creating social disorder", a statement issued at the conclusion of their three-day summit said last night.

Condemning the attack, the heads voiced regret at assaults on innocent persons, the loss of lives and the destruction of property. They restated their commitment to uphold the traditional democratic values of the community, noting that among these is the commitment to respect institutions of government and to the holding of periodic polls for the people to pick governments.

"In this context they recalled that CARICOM, along with a number of highly reputable international organisations and other entities had observed the last election held in Guyana and had found that it had been freely and fairly conducted. It was therefore their view that the results should be fully accepted", the statement added. The main opposition PNC/R has disputed the results of the poll.

The heads also re-emphasised their repudiation of any bid to employ extra-constitutional and illegal means to supplant democratically elected governments. They noted that such actions were contrary to several international resolutions including the Inter-American Democratic Charter agreed to by all hemispheric states.

"Heads of Government reaffirmed the need for all parties to adhere to the principles of the rule of law and the peaceful resolution of controversies through dialogue and negotiation", the statement added.