PNCR continues protest outside Parliament
Stabroek News
March 30, 2004

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Keeping up the protest: A group of mostly female PNCR parliamentarians and supporters protesting outside the sitting of Parliament at the Ocean View Convention Centre yesterday. (Photo by Ken Moore)

The PNCR yesterday continued with its strategy of protest and non-participation, at the sitting of Parliament in relation to death-squad allegations made against Home Minister Ronald Gajraj.

Around 1 pm placard-bearing PNCR supporters assembled, waving and chanting slogans. The protest continued up to 2.30 pm, when the sitting was about to begin at which time, most of the protesters left.

Members of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) cordoned off the main road forcing drivers to detour at Conversation Tree if going east and at the University of Guyana access road if heading for the city.

Meanwhile, the PNCR in a press statement issued yesterday said its non-participation in yesterday's sitting of Parliament was reflective of its position, that unless the serious issue of state-sponsored death squad(s) was addressed there would not be business as usual.

The party recalled that it has been calling for an independent and impartial inquiry into allegations of state-sponsored terrorism and the involvement of Minister Gajraj in directing its operations since January. A precondition of such an inquiry the statement said was the demitting of office by Gajraj. Among other conditions are that the inquiry must comprise suitably qualified persons, acceptable persons and international involvement. The statement noted similar calls by significant religious, social and political organizations in Guyana and international organizations and governments.

"There is no doubt that the scourge of death squad(s) in Guyana and the President's refusal to act in accord with the wishes of Guyanese have undermined the democratic process," the party said.

It said it would therefore be hypocritical for the PNCR to sit in Parliament debating bills when the Rule of Law has collapsed, the social contract with the people is fundamentally breached and the democratic process totally undermined.

The statement said it is obvious the government has no desire to uphold the Constitution of Guyana, which protects the fundamental right to life of every Guyanese. The PNCR as a consequence, "will no longer deal with the death-squad issue in isolation. It must now be addressed within the context of good governance. Unless the issue of good governance is addressed, the democratic process in Guyana will also be dead."

It added that the Leader of the PNCR and Opposition Robert Corbin would address the nation today on these and other related issues.