Guyana: Ramjattan, Teixeira weigh in on motivation of spate of fires at govt buildings

APNU-AFC versus PPP/C regarding motivation for fires at govt buildings

GECOM Wismar office on fire

Ramjattan told News Talk Radio/Demerara Waves earlier Tuesday that “out of an abundance of caution, I am awaiting reports from the Fire Chief (Marlon Gentle) and Police Commissioner (Leslie James) before making any comment on those incidents.”         

He nevertheless stated that his Ministry will work with the discipline services to ensure that these matters are dealt with carefully and expeditiously.  “I expect every Guyanese to appreciate ownership of buildings that might be targeted. And it is to be condemned, the activity to destroy a public building,” he remarked.

Asked if this trend continues, if it would set the stage for a state of emergency, Ramjattan said, ” that’s a hard legal question… this would be a determination of the president.”

President David Granger had hinted that a state of emergency would have to be declared in Guyana to pave the way for the reconvening of Parliament and the approval of funds for Government spending, if the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) scraps the March 2, 2020 election.

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Minister Ramjattan said he is confident that the “police can control these things, and the discipline services and the citizenry.” He noted that the “greatest support” needed right now is from citizens “to keep their eyes out for buildings and places that could be possibly targeted…we need a vigilant society.”

PPP/c RESPONSE TO FIRES

Contacted for a comment, People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) executive Gail Teixeira said her party is actively monitoring the situation but they strongly believe that the fires were no coincidence and could be politically motivated. “I believe that this is an APNU tactic, to drive fear into people and it wouldn’t succeed. We know what they were capable of in the past but this is 2020 and not 1997 and 2001. It is basically fear tactics,” she added.

However, the former PPP/C government minister and presidential advisor said ,”people should not be unduly afraid and intimidated by these actions.”

An early morning fire destroyed the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) at the Anna Regina Police Station, while another was set at an abandoned Guyana Defence Force (GDF) building at Maria’s Lodge on the Essequibo Coast. Arsonists also burnt down the Region 10 GECOM Wismar, Linden office this morning.

Elections Commissioner, Vincent Alexander told News-Talk Radio 103.1 FM that the fire at the GECOM office would impact minimally. “All that they have is duplicated at the centre. District 10 is of little contention in the 2020 elections,” he said.

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