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Granger wants probe into Sophia unrest during elections night

by Zena Henry

Leader of the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) Coalition, President David Granger has suggested an investigation into the unrest that took place in the community of Sophia, hours after Guyanese had finished casting their ballots in the 2015, General and Regional election.

President Granger is already on record as telling Demerara Waves that “of course” he would be willing to launch an investigation into the matter. He condemned any incident or disorder at election time, stating that, “We want a peace in our country. We are not a lawless country.”

The statement came after suggestions were made that the State should compensate those that loss property during the night long episode which required military and police personnel to restore calm.

Police have already charged Lloyd Grant,18, of “C” Field,Turkeyen; Orandel Noel, 18 years, of “B” Field Sophia; Clive Baird, 27 years, of ‘C’ Field, Sophia; Lawrence Harris, 16 years, of ‘C’ Field, Sophia; and Melroy Weekes, 19 years, of ‘D’ Field, Sophia in connection with the looting that occurred during post-polls protests on May 11 at ‘C’ Field, Sophia.

At least five motor vehicles, a motorcycle, two stables and other assets belonging to Pastor Narine Khublall, who conducted work for the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), were destroyed during the uproar. It all started an hour before the closing of polls at 18:00hours when residents accused the PPP member of secretly taking ballot boxes into his property.

His church which stands before his home was used as a party command centre.

The residents claimed that earlier in the day persons were lined up, voting at the location only to find out later, that it was not a polling station. Irate residents demanded that the man’s place be searched and this was done.
Although nothing was found in the church or the man’s home, dissatisfied residents were convinced that the alleged boxes had been moved into the yard next door since the lights at the property were immediately turned off and the dogs were released, they claimed.

Before 21:00hours the community’s main thoroughfare was blocked at three points with fiery debris. The road was also littered with broken bottles. Police, who initially stood still, fired pellet rifles hitting a few persons. With the arrival of the military, the residents seemed to have calmed and urged the ranks to have the persons within the house arrested and the homes searched.

Demerera Waves was told that ranks left the community sometime at midday yesterday. Granger told the online news site that currently they have not received enough information about the nature of the disorder to come a conclusion that the State should bear the cost of the damage.

He said that his party regrets any lost of life or property and condemns acts of arson.