Guyana: Opposition Leader stands by “chase out” statement

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Guyana: Opposition Leader stands by “chase out” statement
Bharrat Jagdeo addressing meeting (CMC Photo)
Bharrat Jagdeo addressing meeting (CMC Photo)

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Mar 12, CMC – Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo says he is standing by the statement he made at a political rally in Berbice on Sunday where he urged supporters to “chase out” members of the government from their communities after March 21.

“Let me make it clear that I stand by that statement. I made it clear at Babu Jaan that we are a party that does not believe in violence, we are not going to be burning people’s business, we are not going to be beating people on the streets,

“But the government would become illegal after March 21 and therefore there will no longer be ministers, so when they come to the communities, when they come to the communities…the people of Guyana should treat them as illegal, I said they should walk behind them, chase them out of your communities because it means they have been squatting in power and that they will be there unconstitutionally,’ Jagdeo said in a message posted on his Facebook page.

“I made it clear, whoever they are, every minister of the government, including President Granger and Prime Minister Nagamootoo because they no longer have the rights to hold those titles,’ Jagdeo said, adding” I think they are desperate”

The government Monday described as “irresponsible” the statement made by Jagdeo adding that the call for citizens to chase President David Granger, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo or “any other government official…can result in a breach of the law and must be condemned as unacceptable, malicious and mischievous.

“Mr. Jagdeo has a history of wanton utterances and his most recent at Babu Jaan has serious implications on peace, race relations and national security, particularly in an Election Year. The Government notes that any call to violence or a breach of public order must be deplored,” the statement said.”.

The Government’s parliamentary representative for the Berbice area has since filed an official complaint against Jagdeo with the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC).

In that complaint, Member of Parliament, Barbara Pilgrim said she believes that the statement by the Opposition Leader runs counter to the country’s values of Ethnic Relations and Social Cohesion.

She said the statement will only serve to create ethnic tensions and confusion in Region 6 where she resides, since it could be interpreted to mean that the government and other persons not connected to the main opposition People’s Progressive Party Civic PPP/C must not be allowed in this region.

She is calling on the ERC to apply sanctions against Jagdeo over the statement.

The PPP has called on the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to ensure that the elections are held no later than April 21, even though it had previously called for the elections to be held by March 19. GECOM has said it cannot hold credible elections during that timeframe and is proposing a date in July.

Under the Guyana Constitution, on the successfully passage of a motion of no confidence fresh elections must be held no later than 90 days unless the National assembly by a special majority approves an extension.

On December 21 last year, Jagdeo successfully moved a motion of no confidence in the three and a half year old government after he received the support of a Charrandas Persaud, a government backbencher in the 65-member National Assembly.

The government had previously enjoyed a one-seat majority and has since appealed the ruling of a High Court that the motion was valid and its refusal to issue a conservatory order halting the 90 day count down to the polls.

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