Stop inciting racial tension; Joint Services not involved in politics- Joint Services Chairman

Last Updated on Friday, 10 March 2023, 13:44 by Denis Chabrol

In the wake of the Working People’s Alliance’s (WPA) expectation that the Afro-Guyanese dominated police and defence forces would side with the opposition to depose the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) administration during a mass uprising, the Chairman of the Joint Services, Brigadier Godfrey Bess said they would not take a political side.

“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,” he said in a statement.

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.”

“In this regard, Brigadier Bess wishes to urge, particularly social activists and commentators, to refrain from misleading and mischievous remarks which incite racial tensions, deviating from the promotion of the peace and security which the Services are mandated to maintain,” the Joint Services said in a statement.

The Joint Services’ position came less than one day after WPA Executive Member Tacuma Ogunseye told a public meeting in Buxton that he was confident that the Afro-Guyanese dominated police and defence forces would lend support to a mass response. “Sisters and brothers, once we organise our people and once we begin to fight, we will make sure that our brothers and sisters in uniform will do the right thing and if they do the right thing, this matter is over in days, not weeks so the struggle doesn’t necessarily have to be long; it has to be strategic,” he said.

The WPA urged a boycott of the June 12, 2023 Local Government Elections and instead become “battle ready” to use the occasion as a Day of Resistance and African uprising to begin that resistance.

Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton told that meeting that he did not support a full boycott of the Local Government Elections because the opposition needed to preserve its strongholds.

He also urged members of the Guyana Police Force not to be used by the PPP, other than “being on the side of the law” to investigate alleged crimes committed by members of the administration.

Government has often dismissed opposition claims of racial and political discrimination in the award of contracts, hiring of persons, award of lands and other resources but instead has been forging ahead with its “One Guyana” mission.