Police fear terrorist assault on Parliament Building

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 May 2017, 14:49 by Denis Chabrol

Fearful of a terrorist assault on Parliament Building while the 65-seat National Assembly is in session, the Guyana Police Force says it has extended its cordon to include several streets nearby.

“The Guyana Police Force wishes the Public to know that the barriers were directly related to the security of Parliament.

This enhanced security arrangement has a nexus to terrorists incidents occurring in various countries around the World, some of which are perpetrated by self-radicalised persons,” police said in a statement.

The outer cordon has been extended to Regent Street and Avenue of the Republic, and on the southern side to Leopold  and Lombard Streets, causing major traffic congestion in parts of the city. Pedestrians are also blocked from walking on Brickdam outside Parliament Building.

On March 22, 2017, five persons were killed and 40 others injured in a terrorist attack when a car plowed into pedestrians and a suspected Islamist-inspired attacker stabbed a policeman and tried to enter the British Parliament. On April 27, 2017 a man was held with a bag of knives was arrested near parliament.

Two years ago, Guyana’s Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud had said that the law enforcement agency had not been aware  that anyone had returned here from fighting on behalf of ISIS in the Middle East. Several nationals of the twin-island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago have gone to Syria and other countries to support the IS also known as the Daesh.

The Guyana Police Force refuted an article in the privately-owned Stabroek News newspaper that the extended cordon had to do with keeping away protesters from Parliament Building. In recent weeks, several groups agitating against government policies have been protesting in Georgetown elsewhere.

They include sugar workers against the closure of sections of the Guyana Sugar Corporation; teachers, parents an students against the 14 percent Value Added Tax on tuition fees, and the ban on used tires.