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Opposition roundly condemned for storming GECOM centre

Juan Carlos Carvallo
Opposition roundly condemned for storming GECOM centre

Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo and PPP Prime ministerial candidate, Mark Phillips, among others, lash out at the police for protecting the GECOM Chair. Others seen in the photo are PPP‘s counting agent, Charles Ramson Jr and former President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) and current PPP Candidate Deodat Indar …several groups call on observers to denounce actions THE opposition, People’s Progressive Party has been roundly condemned by a number of groups for invading the command centre of the Guyana Elections Commission between Wednesday night and the whole of Thursday.

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Police Commissioner, Leslie James said that police have been justified in arresting three individuals at the Centre at High and Hadfield Streets due to disorderly behaviour which, it said, was led by leaders of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP).

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Another section of the opposition invasion In a statement, police said that around 15:00hrs, Thursday, GECOM’s Returning Officer (RO) of Region Four, Clairmont Mingo, was in the process of declaring the Region’s General and Regional Results for the 2020 Elections, when Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, Former Attorney General, Anil Nandlall and other supporters started to make «loud and continuous protesting that he continue the verification process.»

Mingo allegedly withdrew himself and exited the location which was followed by Nandlall’s departure and return to the centre with three injunctions from the High Court to block the release and declaration of the results. «On his return to the location he tried desperately to have the court order served on GECOM Chairperson Justice Claudette Singh, who was in her office, feeling unwell. Mr. Nandlall was informed of her condition but he insisted that he must see her. In doing so, Nandlall was joined by Mr. Bharrat Jagdeo, Inspector Prem Narine of the Guyana Police Force Regional District 4 and other contesting party members and breached security and kicked open the door to the GECOM Chairperson and confronted her,» the police report stated.

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It was reported that Senior Superintendent, Phillip Azore, and team intervened which led to the arrest of the three persons.

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Intimidating staff Meanwhile, a GECOM Commissioner told this newspaper that Jagdeo and other PPP heads were actively involved in intimidating the members of the Commission- all with the intention to create confusion and fear at the centre. «Jagdeo called Roxanne Myers’ [Deputy Chief Elections Officer] name no less than ten times. The entire scenario recounted by him showed that he engineered the entire attack by a mob but now telling the world that they were rescuing the Chairman,» the Commissioner said

«The PPP Presidential candidate, Irfaan Ali, was part of that mob and some of the observers too. One of the observers- Anter Narine was arrested. These people were tussling with the police in order to go through to the office. It is absolutely unacceptable that this could happen here. They actually launched an attack on GECOM and the police were ineffective,» the commissioner said

Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo pushes past police officers leading a crowd of angry persons up to the GECOM Chair’s office When it was rumoured that Justice Singh was ill, an ambulance with Emergency Medical Responders would later arrive at the scene with an oxygen bottle and other apparatus, but they were not allowed to enter the office of the Chair, located on the second floor of the building. It was unclear who called in the Emergency Medical Responders, but the Guyana Chronicle was reliably informed that it was not Justice Singh. A live Facebook feed from inside the building showed Jagdeo telling International Observers that Justice Singh was being held against her will, and the police was complicit. «Let’s see the Chair! Let’s see the Chair! Let’s see the Chair,» a number of persons were heard chanting amid heavy police presence within the facility. The chants later turned into a physical confrontation with ranks of the GPF, as the agents associated with the PPP and a number of other smaller political parties attempted to bulldoze their way into the room in which the GECOM Chair had retired

GRAVELY DISAPPOINTING Meanwhile, in a video statement, Campaign Manager of the APNU+AFC Joseph Harmon said that it was gravely disappointing that Ali and Jagdeo had barged into the building and stayed beyond the lawful time for which they were allowed to be there. He said that he had received calls from persons who felt threatened by the commotion, and the eventual presence of heavily armed men. «I think this is a very serious act on the part of the PPP and certainly it is likely to damage the credibility of the information which is coming out of that facility. Certainly, it is something which, as a government, we condemn in the strongest possible terms and Mr. Ali or anyone, nobody should feel that they have the right to barge into a facility like that and demand information and threaten the persons who are there working.»

For its part the Alliance For Change (AFC), referred to the event as an «invasion» stating that the behaviour was unbecoming of persons who seek to become leaders of the country at the head of government. «This display of hostility and hooliganism has created an atmosphere of fear and tension at GECOM’s office and among its personnel. It has also contributed to the creation of a volatile situation in various areas of the country where there are now sporadic instances of unlawful behavior,» the AFC stated. «This unsavory behaviour must be repudiated and condemned by all who would wish to maintain Guyana’s democracy. The AFC is encouraging all Guyanese to remain calm and to act at all times in the interest of Guyana and our democracy. We must resolve our disagreements in accordance with the stipulated legal process. The AFC as a partner in the Coalition Government gives our citizens the assurance that it will do all in its power to support a resolution of the current situation acceptable to all stakeholders and to have an appropriate review of our electoral arrangements undertaken to foster greater confidence in the outcome of future elections.»

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