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PNCR challenges govt to take legal action over possession of Lethem office

Last Updated on Thursday, 9 March 2023, 19:56 by Denis Chabrol

Attorney-at-Law Darren Wade.

The People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) on Thursday challenged the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC)-led government to go to court to over possession and ownership of the building that houses that opposition party’s office in Lethem, Rupununi.

“If the State needs possession and they claim that they own it, then they need to go through the courts and if the court finds that the State is the lawful owner of it, the court would grant them an order showing that,” Attorney-at-Law Darren Wade, who is a PNCR member, told a news conference.

Mr Wade’s position came as that party continued to skirt questions to prove its claim that it owns the building which government maintains is part of the Region Nine (Upper Takatu-Upper Essequibo) inventory.

Former Region Nine REO  and PNCR member, Carl Parker deflected a question on why after 40 years the party never obtained a lease or transport for the building. “On my part, that is not a question I could answer. I guess you would have to direct that to the party executive,” he said.

The lawyer stressed that the issue that had to be determined was alleged trespass and other unlawful actions by the State of Guyana rather than title and ownership. “You just don’t turn up at night using Venezuelans… and try to dispossess someone. The law proscribes against such action,” he said. During the predawn hours of March 1, 2023, workers descended on the building ripping off windows and the roof of the Lethem PNCR office.

The PNCR’s Lethem office after the doors, windows and roof were removed early Thursday morning, March 2, 2022.

Mr Wade referred generally to an unnamed Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) that states once a person’s rights to a property have been extinguished, “the property is yours.”

Mr Parker, 59, was was arrested and charged on Wednesday with threatening behaviour. He allegedly threatened 51-year old Dale Kennedy who is a contractor and resides at Lethem. He and 55-year old Godfrey ‘Cut Mouth’ Williams of Tabatinga Village, Lethem were charged with malicious damage to property , committed on the Government of Guyana March 4, 2023 at Lethem Central Rupununi. Magistrate Allan Wilson granted them GY$30,000 bail each after they pleaded not guilty. The matter was adjourned to March 22 for statement.

The PNCR has acknowledged receiving notices of removal from the building and dispatching a response reaffirming its title to the building. The PNCR has since reoccupied the building, prompting the Local Government Minister to say that government would not be bullied.