The Ministry of Home Affairs has expressed concern about the statement made by International Labour Organisation (ILO) spokesperson who it said appears to be supportive of breaches of the peace and good order by persons, who act contrary to the law.
The Ministry of Home Affairs said it rejects, unequivocally, the statement purportedly made by Sir Roy Trotman of the ILO, concerning the protestations over the past few days, involving Messrs Benschop, Witter and Lewis.
The Ministry noted that the claim by the ILO spokesperson that the rights of the three individuals were violated is without any foundation whatsoever.
Sir Roy Trotman is quoted in last Friday’s edition of Kaieteur News to have said that the; “Picketers were seeking to have the Government commit to its obligations and permit collective bargaining, social dialogue and freedom of association among others”
The Ministry of Home Affairs rejected the assertion and stated that at no time did Messrs Benschop, Lewis and Witter carry placards reflecting anything near what the ILO representative claimed they were seeking to advance.
According to the Ministry, during the picketing exercise, several slogans were used.
These include, “demanding full investigation into the Roger Khan dealings with the Jagdeo Administration”; “Jagdeo Administration must stop its racial discrimination against Guyanese” and “Rohee: Simels spoke with Ramsammy”.
The Ministry described as outrageous the utterances of the ILO representative, claiming that he never sought to find out from the government what its views are in respect to the issues nor the history of the three individuals, who it is well known have a long track record of engaging in anti-government and politically disruptive behaviour.
“Moreover, to issue a threat to the effect that: “The ILO would have to step in if the Government persists in this vein” is objectionable to the Government of Guyana and tantamount to gross eye-pass of the Guyanese Nation,” the Home Affairs Ministry said in a strongly worded statement.
Outlining the sequence of events that led to the arrest of the three demonstrators, the Ministry said that their picketing exercise commenced around Georgetown on Friday, June 26, 2009.
The demonstrators had declared that the exercises were to protest issues they referred to as “matters of national and international interest”.
Prior to last Wednesday’s picketing exercise at Eve Leary, several others were held. One was June 26 outside Office of the President in New Garden Street; another on July 2, outside the Chinese Embassy on Mandela Avenue during the Opening Ceremony of the 30th Regular Meeting of the Heads of Government of CARICOM; then on July 3, outside Police Headquarters, Eve Leary; July 10, outside the Ministry of Education, 21 Brickdam and on July 14, outside the Ministry of Home Affairs, Brickdam.
According to the Home Affairs Minister, on none of these occasions did the Security Forces prevent, obstruct or deny the three individuals from carrying out their picketing exercises in accordance with the law, save for the breach of the peace and good order which took place on Wednesday outside Police Headquarters, Eve Leary.
The Ministry said that this gives the lie to the false claim that the group of three were denied their constitutional right to protest.
It was only during the picketing exercise on July 15, 2009, because the picketers were not proceeding within the confines of the basic legal requirements that the police intervened to bring order to the exercise.
The Ministry said that the protestors refused to comply with police orders and it was only then that the police moved to arrest the picketers and place them in custody.
It was pointed out that only recently, Dr Compton Bourne, President of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) had cause to correct a number of distortions and falsehoods peddled by Mr. Lincoln Lewis as regards the activities of the Caribbean Development Bank.
“It is obvious, therefore, that Sir Roy Trotman was set up by the threesome to adopt a biased stand based on an orchestrated series of events,” the Ministry of Home Affairs stated.
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