…as it holds pro-democracy protest today
As the coalition, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), gears for a “pro-democracy”
protest at the Square of the Revolution today, its Leader, David Granger, has called on Brigadier Mark Phillips, the Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) and Commissioner of Police, Seelall Persaud, to urge members of their forces to not be drawn into any unlawful actions against law-abiding citizens.
Granger expressed via a statement to the media that today’s protests which commence at 16:30h (4:30pm), is part of a series of lawful and peaceful protests which will be held in the coming weeks to not only “register disdain for the dictatorial move by President Donald Ramotar to suspend parliament for six months”, but to also, raise public awareness on the matter.
The Opposition Leader said that he is concerned with the fact that there have been media reports on the “sudden, heightened training by members of the Police Force in Georgetown under the Command of Senior Superintendent, Clifton Hicken”.
Granger also sought to remind the Chief of Staff and Commissioner of Police that Article 147 of the Constitution, protects a citizen’s right to, “… freedom of assembly, association and freedom to demonstrate peacefully, that [is] to say, his or her right to assemble freely, to demonstrate peacefully and to associate with other persons and in particular to form or belong to political parties, trade unions or other associations for the protection of his or her interests.”
Granger called on officers and members of the GDF and the police force to not be “swayed by perverse political directives aimed at provoking a disturbance of the peace or causing injury to innocent individuals”.
“All members of the Defence Forces and Disciplined Services are required to behave in a professional manner in the performance of their duties. They are to ensure that the law is enforced and the Constitution is upheld,” the Opposition Leader asserted.
The main speaker at the protest today is expected to be Brigadier Granger. Notable presentations are also expected from the Alliance For Change (AFC), the Guyana Action Party (GAP), and the National Front Alliance (NFA), along with religious and civic leaders.
APNU and its counterpart, AFC, agreed on Tuesday, last, to measures that will be taken jointly and independently, in light of Parliament being suspended for six months.
There was consensus that the first step forward, would be to bring the dictatorial move of the prorogation of the Parliament, to the attention of the international community.
It was also decided that there will be no extra parliamentary engagement with the President on the matters which were before the National Assembly. There was a pledge to embark upon a series of measures dedicated to restoration of the National Assembly as the most appropriate venue for the discussion and consideration of affairs of the state and its people.
APNU and the AFC also emphasised that during the six-month suspension, any contract, other than contracts for the supply of essential goods and services, entered into by the current administration during the period of suspension will be subject to review and possible rescission upon the election of a new administration.
APNU representatives led by Mr. Granger yesterday, met with diplomats from the United States of America, Britain, Canada, and the European Union (ABC-E). The meeting which was requested by the diplomats was held at APNU’s Hadfield Street headquarters.
The opposition members articulated the coalition’s position to the ABC-E team on the suspension of the Parliament. According to APNU, the diplomats all seemed in favour of an early end to the prorogation.
Present at the meeting were Charge d’Affaires of the United States Embassy, Mr. Bryan David Hunt; British High Commissioner, Mr. Andrew Ayre; Canadian High Commissioner, Dr. Nicole Giles; and European Union Ambassador to Guyana, Mr. Robert Kopecký.
APNU was also represented by Deputy Chairman, Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine; General Secretary, Joseph Harmon; and Local Government Shadow Minister, Mr. Ronald Bulkan.
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