|APNU pickets GECOM; Red Thread targets Home Affairs over march break-up||| Print ||
|Written by Denis Chabrol and Kwesi Isles|
|Wednesday, 07 December 2011 13:27|
The opposition coalition A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) Wednesday afternoon picketed near the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), saying it has not received Statements of Poll publicly promised by the elections management body.
And across at Brickdam outside the Ministry of Home Affairs, the women’s organisation, Red Thread, picketed there to register its condemnation of the police firing rubber bullets and teargas to break up what authorities had deemed an illegal march by at an estimated 500 APNU protesters on Tuesday.
Several students of St. Sidwell’s Primary School at Hadfield Street and Vlissengen Road were affected by the gas and a number of female protesters were among those injured by the bullets.
Red Thread's Karen De Souza told Demerara waves Online News (www.demwaves.com) that the protest was their response to the police action which they found "totally out of order."
Joining Red Thread outside the Home Affairs Ministry were several APNU activists who demanded that Minister Clement Rohee resign because of his "abysmal" failure in combatting crime. Several of the placards targeted him.
"Rohee you are an abysmal failure!", "Rohee has no discipline so police indiscipline continues," "We demand an inquiry into Dec 6th shootings," and "Home Affairs Ministry gets a big big F" some of them read.
The number of protesters eventually grew to over 100.
Attorney-at-law and APNU youthh activist James Bond who was among those injured in Tuesday's police action against protesters told demwaves.com that they were protesting the inefficiencies of the ministry.
"Mr. Rohee's last tenure has been marked by failure in a number of areas; can't protect the businessmen, can't protect the fishermen, can't protect our miners in the interior and we're seeing a growing incompetence in the police force, we're seeing growing unprofessionalism in te police force and we need that stamped out."
According to Bond, the first step to remedying those problems is Rohee's resignation.
"Yesterday's action by the police in terms of shooting at innocent walkers shows the degradation, the depth to which this ministry has sunk, it is an abysmal failure and I do believe Mr. Rohee's resignation is the first remedy to the problem," he said.
Meanwhile, APNU executive member, Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine told Demerara Waves Online News that his party has been reading in the media about the availability of the Poll Statements but none has been handed over.
“We have heard nothing from GECOM. We are not in possession of any official document, we have received no letter, we have received no Statement of Poll,” Roopnaraine told Demerara Waves Online News ( www.demwaves.com )
Asked whether his party would go down and collect the documents to conduct the reconciliation with the official results, he said “I certainly will not. It is for GECOM to hand it over to us.”
The estimated 60 persons seen at the time when Demerara Waves was on the scene were chanting slogans and holding placards beyond police barriers at Main and High Streets, Kingston. No heavily armed police were seen. The demonstrators were orderly and peaceful.
The placards read, among other slogans, “We will not stop until our demands are met,” “My vote must count,” “The price for peace is justice,” “Guyanese need a government that is transparent,” “Steve Surujbally must go now,” “PPPC rigged the elections,” and “Young people want change, tired of one-party rule.”
Speaking with demwaves.com from the picket-line, APNU candidate, Annette Ferguson charged that GECOM flouted protocol by failing to respond to her party but instead allegedly provided the statements of poll to representatives of the international community. “Rather them dealing professionally with us by writing us, they have more or less provided international agencies with this information.”
“We are calling on you to provide the leadership of the APNU the statements of poll and not the international bodies,” added Ferguson.
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