Last Updated on Friday, 3 March 2023, 17:52 by Denis Chabrol
Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo on Friday flipped out copies of what he said are letters that government had written to the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) asking for that party’s office in Lethem to move out of the State-owned building there.
He said one letter was written to then PNCR General Secretary Amna Ally in 2021 and two others to her successor Geeta Chandan-Edmond by Region Nine Executive Officer Karl Singh. Current General Secretary Dawn Hastings-Williams said on Thursday that she was unaware of any notice of removal but opposition parliamentarian Amanza Walton-Desir said there was a number of such notices.
The Vice President also held up what he said was the Region Nine (Upper Takatu-Upper Essequibo) inventory that shows that the PNCR was occupying property belonging to the region.
The PNCR has claimed ownership of the property based on case law, but he charged that “they are committing an illegality and trying to present themselves as victims.”
Government said it wanted the building to house a health facility in that southern Guyana town.
Mr Jagdeo rejected claims by the PNCR that the Central government or the governing party had ordered the eviction of the PNCR from the property that it had occupied since 1975. “There was no direction on the part of the People’s Progressive Party to have APNU (A Partnership for National Unity) evicted from the building that they were illegally occupying. There was no direction from the Central Government to have this done,” he said.
While the Vice President said that the Regional Executive Officer, who is the accounting officer, was responsible for the operation, he recalled that accounting officers were told to heed the recommendations of the Auditor General contained in his reports about the illegal occupancy of government property. “We have insisted that the Auditor General’s recommendations have to be pursued.”
Mr Jagdeo said if the PNCR applies for land to construct its office at Lethem, government would most likely approve it. “If they want a piece of land in Lethem to build their office, they are free to apply; the government will favourably consider it,” he said.
The PNCR had said that legal action would be taken for the eviction from the building and damage and destruction to property. That party also claimed that local government election-related objection reports, which should have been submitted to the Guyana Elections Commission in Thursday as well as party history and records were missing.