– protestors reject visit from PM, Ministers, other gov’t officials
Outraged protestors yesterday shunned attempts made by the Prime Minister, Mark Phillips; Social Services and Human Affairs Minister, Dr.Vindhya Persaud, Home Affairs Minister, Robeson Benn, and other government officials to engage them with a plea of peace as actions escalated over the brutal killings of West Coast Berbice teens, Isaiah and Joel Henry.
With several points blocked, the government envoy reached Belladrum, West Coast Berbice and met with angry protestors who did not take lightly to their presence.
From video footage seen by Kaieteur News, members of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) were forced to form a tight circle enclosing the government officials as residents piled around them, calling for their departure.
Home Affairs Minister, Robeson Benn, managed to stitch a few words in over the loud chants of the protestors. He pleaded with the residents for peace but these were not received kindly.
“No justice, no peace,” protestors screamed, demanding that the Ministers leave the area.
President Irfaan Ali had scheduled a visit to the family members of the slain teens but that plan was quickly aborted after his one of the vehicles in his convoy was reportedly attacked and damaged by protestors.
In a subsequent statement, the President condemned the actions stating that: “seeking justice for Isaiah and Joel cannot be associated with the level of criminality, destruction of property and robbery committed on innocent Guyanese; this behaviour is an injustice to the case of these two victims.”
He further reiterated his plea for Guyanese to act responsibly.
Protest actions continue to heighten on the West Coast and yesterday saw the deployment of members from the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), the Guyana Fire Service along with ranks from the Tactical Service Unit (TSU).
Roads through Bellevue, #40 Village, #28 Village, #30 Village and Hopetown Village were blocked and while the Joint services ranks make attempt at clearing the debris, the determined residents piled more.
Earlier, Minister Benn stated that the combined units were dispatched to bring support to persons who were affected by the blockage.
“Unfortunately, there have been repeated instances where persons and their vehicles have been attacked, damaged…there have been robberies of those persons and other unlawful and unruly incidents which in occurring do not bring any calm to the situation and runs the risk of descending into lawlessness on the area,” Minister Benn further said.
He noted, with regret, statements emerging from top political leaders along with a few “agitators” who are branding the incident as one that was racially motivated.
“I find this very unsettling and unfortunate that some of these statements have been made. I want to call on those persons to lend their efforts to communities in which they have influence,” he added.
Minister Benn urged all law-abiding persons in the area and beyond to lend support and to execute the task of restoring order to the area so that commuters are safe.
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