Yesterday, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) apologized for allowing its supporters to heckle and intimidate media workers who attended what was supposed to be a press conference held jointly by APNU and the Alliance for Change at Congress Place, Sophia on Friday.
At that forum, reporters were subjected to harsh comments hurled by well over two dozen persons dressed in green t-shirts labeled APNU. While this sort of behaviour was well pronounced, none of the many APNU and AFC leaders who were present at the forum saw it fit to ask their supporters to allow the media workers to carry out their duties without interference.
Those at the head table were Volda Lawrence, Carl Greenidge, Moses Nagamootoo, Khemraj Ramjattan, David Patterson, Minister Joseph Harmon and Minister Amna Ally.
Also present, but not at the head table, were Attorney General, Basil Williams, Ministers Winston Felix, Jaipaul Sharma, Ronald Bulkan and Annette Ferguson, incumbent City Mayor, Patricia Chase-Green and other senior PNC members.
These leaders completely ignored the behaviour of the supporters who took up most of the seats made available at the forum. As a result, media workers had to stand throughout the forum that lasted well over an hour.
The persons hurled highly inappropriate remarks at reporters who attempted to question officials at the head table.
“Go home!”, “That is a silly question,” “Man is where they think they deh;” “Leh me deal with dem for you comrade” and “Y’all asking a set of bulls***t;” were just some of the remarks hurled at reporters. Nasty comments were also made about People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) politicians—particularly former President Bharrat Jagdeo.
The Guyana Press Association (GPA) subsequently sent out a press statement that highlighted and condemned the occurrence.
GPA noted the “continued intimidation of media workers who attend press conferences held by A Partnership for National Unity at Congress Place in Sophia. Media workers have complained about the continued heckling and intimidation by supporters of the Party who are seated in the press conference held by the Party.
“One can only assume that this behaviour is a feature endorsed by the Party and its leaders since it happened during (Friday’s) event with PNC Chairperson Volda Lawrence, and senior APNU members and the Party’s last press conference held by PNC Leader, President David Granger.”
The GPA even threatened to boycott coalition press conferences if the unacceptable pattern continues.
The body said that it would like to “remind all political parties that media workers have the right to conduct their duties without fear of intimidation and we would not hesitate to call on our workers and media houses to boycott press events if this unacceptable behaviour continues.”
Yesterday, APNU sent out a statement saying, “A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) notes the Guyana Press Association (GPA) press statement on heckling of media workers at its press conference.
“The APNU wishes to express its apologies for the discomfort caused during the recent press conference.
“As a political partnership and coalition partner of the government, the APNU does not condone nor endorse any conduct that serves to intimidate and hinder duties of media workers. In fact, the APNU values media workers role in building our democracy.
“The APNU endeavours to ensure a more welcoming environment at future press conferences and engagements with media worker.”
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