Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 March 2023, 6:13 by Denis Chabrol
The Working People’s Alliance (WPA) on Tuesday scolded four People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) members for publicly criticising Tacuma Ogunseye and Rhonda Layne, effectively encouraging the governing People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) to prosecute them for crimes.
“What our sister and brothers on the other side did was to deliver two prisoners to the PPP,” WPA Executive Member David Hinds said on his Facebook talk show , Politics 101.
Already, government has signaled that Mr Ogunseye could be cited for exciting racial hostility, terrorism, sedition and seditious libel for publicly stating that he expects the Afro-Guyanese dominated police and defence forces to support a mass uprising against the Indo-backed PPPC.
Dr Hinds also challenged Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton to distance himself from Mr Ogunseye’s stance. “Aubrey has to decide whether he is going to go down in history as the Leader of the Opposition who deliver opposition prisoners to the enemy. That’s what those brothers and sister on the PNC has done,” he said. He suggested that if those in the PNCR had felt aggrieved by Ms Layne’s utterance, there were ways in which that could have been handled such as speaking directly to her.
At that public meeting in Buxton on March 9, 2022 Mr Norton supported the WPA’s idea of June 12, 20220 Local Government Elections Day- as a Day of Resistance but rejected that party’s call for a total boycott of the polls because of the need to preserve its strongholds.
PNCR members, opposition parliamentarians Ganesh Mahipaul, Natasha Singh-Lewis, Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) Chairman Daniel Seeram and Georgetown Mayor Ubraj Narine have criticised Ms Layne for saying that East Indians came from the slums of India and living in deplorable places like pipes. They said Ms Layne’s remarks further insinuated that the alleged conditions under which East Indians lived in India made them undeserving of lands in Guyana. Former PNCR General Secretary Geeta Chandan-Edmond said a number of speakers communicated sentiments which must be strongly condemned since they can lead to public disorder and anarchy in an already ethnically-inflamed environment . She advocated that Guyanese move swiftly to initiate mature dialogue aimed at promoting harmony, tolerance and trust.
The WPA Executive Member again faced down unapologetically for Mr Ogunseye and the WPA’s stance. “If they want to jail us for it, then jail me quickly,” he said.
The Chairman of the Joint Services, Brigadier Godfrey Bess also came in for criticism by Dr Hinds for stating that irrespective of its ethnic composition, the Joint Services of Guyana is an apolitical institution and will continue to uphold the noble position of service to the people of Guyana and allegiance to Guyana’s Constitution. “Constitutionally, you have no right to beat up on people who are protesting but more than that the people that you are beating up on are your own people,” Dr Hinds said.
The WPA said the government’s response to the call for Guyanese to be “battle ready” for alleged racial discrimination in the allocation of oil revenues, contracts, lands and jobs. Government has repeatedly dismissed those charges.
Dr Hinds stopped short of calling for a boycott of private business, saying “know where you spending your money.”
The umbrella Private Sector Commission (PSC), Central Islamic Organisation of Guyana, Guyana Pandits Council and the Inter-Religious Organisation have all criticised Mr Ogunseye for appealing to the ethnic composition of the police and defence forces.
The Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Chief-of-Staff said the Joint Services are guided by Guyana’s Constitution which mandates them to stand firm in the protection of the law and execution of their duties and “not guided by any partisan values and interests.”