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PPP warns of retaliation if election violence isn’t addressed

PPP Parliamentarian, Odinga Lumumba.

PPP Parliamentarian, Odinga Lumumba.

The People’s Progressive Party (PPPC) late Thursday night warned that if poor elections management by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) continues to lead to violent attacks against its supporters, it would eventually be forced to retaliate.

PPP parliamentarian, Odinga Lumumba urged A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For Change (AFC) to stop taking his party’s supporters for granted in the face of weak electoral management and poor response by the police and army.

“They must stop pretending or believing that the PPP supporters are inept, weak and feeble. There will come a time in Guyana where the PPP, like any other revolutionary organisation, will have to be physical and stand up against violence and such a step is not in the interest of Guyana and democracy,” he told the National Assembly.

Contributing  to a debate on a PPP-sponsored motion that called for the State to compensate residents in Sophia for injury and destruction to property on May 11, 2015- Election Night, Lumumba assured that he was not preaching violence or insurrection.

He accused the media, observers, private sector and GECOM of ignoring the PPP’s concerns as part of wider plot to remove his party from office. “It appeared that ot was predetermined that the PPP should lose at any cost,” he said.

The PPP parliamentarian said he would not participate in future elections if Guyana’s major political parties do not eschew violence and GECOM and the police force, along with international security personnel, do not address violence prone areas. “Mr. Speaker, the PPP’s backs are to the wall. The party must either concede bullyism or both sides agree to international intervention,” he said.

Another PPPC parliamentarian, Ganga Persaud, told the House that if elections-related violence including intimidation, obstruction and misdirection of voters is not addressed the situation could escalate. “The time has come that if elections violence is addressed in this country, Sir, it would escalate and the givers might end up being the receivers  and so I am saying to us let us do not take people for granted.

Let us stop this thing! Let us all who go out there and encourage these things, think that it can turn back because what goes around comes around and when you giving be prepared to take too,” said Persaud, a former GECOM official and PPP government minister.

Minister of Natural Resources,  Raphael Trotman told the House that Sophia resident, Mr. Kublall, had voluntarily said that he strongly believed that it was not political violence but criminal acts. Minister of Citizenship, Winston Felix earlier told the House that vigilant people were bent on ensuring the integrity of the vote.

Lumumba earlier made it clear that he did not believe that APNU and AFC had centrally directed the attacks on Kublall that resulted in his house and several vehicles being destroyed by arsonists.