Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 March 2023, 16:17 by Denis Chabrol
As the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) on Tuesday pushed ahead with its call for a boycott of the June 12, 2023 Local Government Elections (LGE) and instead to use that day as one of Afro-Guyanese resistance against alleged racial discrimination, that party’s executive member Tacuma Ogunseye said he was ready to face a treason charge.
“When we look at the line-up of charges they have been uttering since the controversy, treason seems to be the more severe of the threats and myself and the WPA have publicly resolved in public that once they come with treason charges, we will not treat it as a legal matter. We would see it as what it is- a political matter- and I will go in the court and plead guilty with explanation and fight it from there,” he told a news conference. He said police have not contacted him since he first made his position known earlier this month at a public meeting in Buxton, East Coast Demerara.
Mr Ogunseye made known his position after the Guyana government said his expectation of support from he Afro-Guyanese dominated police and defence forces should there be a mass uprising by Afro-Guyanese could be linked to incitement of violence, sedition or treason.
While WPA Executive Member Dr David Hinds stated that his party had no guns, Mr Ogunseye added that civil disobedience would be its “effective political weapon.”
Since the WPA’s expectation of the Joint Services, that party has been condemned strongly by the governing People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Private Sector Commission and religious organisations for fomenting unrest against the democratically elected government. The Chairman of the Joint Services, Guyana Defence Force Chief-of-Staff Brigadier Godfrey Bess is on record as saying that despite its ethnic makeup, it remains loyal to Guyana’s Constitution.
But the WPA on Tuesday insisted that it was forging ahead with its call for a boycott of the LGE and for that day to be one of Guyanese resistance and Afro-Guyanese uprising against alleged discrimination by government in the distribution of wealth and other opportunities. Mr Ogunseye said Afro-Guyanese should make a “profound political statement” by demonstrating in their village streets to send a clear signal.
Dr Hinds said the success of the Day of African Resistance would depend on the People’s National Congress Reform’s (PNCR) participation in those polls. “Obviously, if the PNC are going to contest the election even partially, then that in itself would not lead to a straightforward Day of Protest but we are of the view that there is diversity in the opposition and the PNC has to relate to the election from its standpoint,” he said.
Mr Ogunseye declined to forecast what would June 12 be like because it was still early days yet in the campaign.
PNCR Leader Aubrey Norton is on record as justifying his party’s-led A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) contesting of the LGE in stronghold towns such as Georgetown, Linden, New Amsterdam and Bartica to prevent the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) from taking control of those town councils.
Asked why the WPA could not convince the PNCR if they were fighting one cause, Dr Hinds said his party did not expect either to convince the other.
The WPA has in recent weeks revived its decades-old call for executive power sharing for the racial representation after free and fair elections based on a clean voters list.
The Alliance For Change (AFC) has already decided to boycott the LGE in all 70 local councils and 10 municipal councils.