Jun 19, 2020 News
– Protest leaders to face court action for breaching COVID-19 orders – Regional Commander
Several supporters and party members of the APNU+AFC yesterday staged an illegal protest. They marched through several streets of New Amsterdam and were also seen
opposite the Guyana Elections Office (GECOM) office at Prince Elizabeth Road, New Amsterdam. Although there are restrictions imposed by the Ministry of Public Health in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic preventing public gatherings, the group nevertheless defied the orders and marched through the town with the police diverting traffic to allow the procession. They began at the GECOM office location and concluded with speeches at their party office on Strand Road, New Amsterdam.At the office of the APNU+AFC, former APNU+AFC Member of Parliament, Barbara Pilgrim, urged the supporters to be “stiff and peaceful until…” She encouraged them to “don’t listen to other people because when we say this is so, that is so”.
Pilgrim earlier on in her speech also encouraged those gathered to support and stand behind the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GECOM, Keith Lowenfield.
“The person that we have to rally behind is Keith Lowenfield, he has already submitted his report and that is the report that we are going to accept,” she said. Supporters present were told that since “Guyanese could handle their own affairs” foreign powers should not interfere in Guyana’s affairs.
Meanwhile, the administrator attached to the Skeldon Public Hospital and APNU+AFC member Shurla Scott Richardson said that, “fraud is fraud and only valid votes must be counted”. Richardson, who was also a counting agent at the recount process at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, said that the party stands by the constitution because “it speaks to valid votes”. He too impressed the need to “stand by CEO Lowenfield because he is the only legal accredited elections officer that can give a report to GECOM, not the Chairman of GECOM”.
The gathering of protesting supporters together made a call to GECOM to “get it right”. Richardson stressed, “we are the legal citizens of Guyana” and she therefore encouraged the others to “wait, we will listen and wait in readiness to defend the true and real democracy of Guyana because fraud is fraud and only valid votes count”.
Meanwhile, when contacted the Regional Police Commander, Calvin Brutus, said that permission was not granted to carry out the protest activity. He, however, said that he was informed that the leaders of the protest had indicated to the supporters that they were granted permission.
In a video clip, police ranks were seen walking alongside the protesting supporters rather than dispersing the crowd as instructed by Brutus.
When questioned about why police ranks were seen guiding them on the roadway rather than halting the protest, Brutus stated that he personally requested from the senior officers who were present “an explanation”. He stated that when he learnt about the protest, he immediately gave instructions to ranks to descend to where they were to disperse the crowd. According to Brutus too, the persons who were leading the exercise will be prosecuted for breaching the COVID-19 orders.
The protest lasted nearly an hour.
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