Police deny stripping paddy protest leader, 19 arrested

The police today denied that they had stripped the leader of a paddy protest on the Essequibo Coast yesterday. It also disclosed that 19 of the protesters had been arrested following the blocking of the coast road. A number of vehicles have also been seized.

The police press release follows:

Cognizant of media reports concerning protest activities by a number of persons on the Essequibo Coast yesterday Friday July 04, 2014, the Guyana Police Force is denying the allegation that police ranks stripped the protest leader Mr. Naith Ram, Chairman of the Essequibo Paddy Farmers’ Association, during their engagement with the protestors.

The Guyana Police Force states that on June 30, 2014, the Essequibo Paddy Farmers’ Association applied to the police for approval to hold a protest march on July 04, 2014, commencing at 0930h. from the Bush Lot New Market to the Anna Regina High Bridge where a meeting was to be held. Approval was subsequently given by the police.

The protest march and meeting commenced at 1000h. and proceeded peacefully with about 200 persons, that included farmers, participating. At the conclusion of the protest march and meeting, at about 1230h; most of the persons left, but some remained and began imbibing.

At about 1715h. yesterday those who were imbibing and some others that included Mr. Naith Ram, boarded their motor vehicles, including tractors and trailers, and proceeded to drive along the middle of the main roadway in the vicinity of the villages of Reliance and Land of Plenty, Essequibo Coast, at a very slow rate.

This action resulted in a back up of traffic as other motor vehicles could not pass, and they continued their actions despite efforts by police ranks to get them to drive on the left hand side of the road.

On reaching a short distance before the Land of Plenty Bridge, at about 1800h; the men continued breaching the laws by proceeding to block the entire roadway with the use of their motor vehicles that included tractors and trailers and to set fire to tyres and other debris that were thrown on the roadway. A utility pole was also used to block the roadway.

By this time the crowd had increased to over 400 persons and efforts by the police to get them to remove the vehicles from across the roadway proved futile. Missiles comprising bricks, bottles and other articles were thrown at police ranks in their attempt to remove the burning obstacles on the roadway, causing them to cease their efforts.

Personnel from the Guyana Fire Service at Anna Regina could not reach the scene owing the blockages on the road.

The police continued to appeal to the residents, but to no avail. The police then arrested Naith Ram, who was leading the protest, at which stage a number of other persons surged forward and accosted the ranks and took him away from the police. During this incident his clothing was torn and several police ranks were thrown into a nearby trench.

Naith Ram then stood among the protestors and stripped himself, and several persons took his photograph. He then left the area and later returned dressed in a change of clothing.

The Guyana Police Force emphatically reiterates that Naith Ram was not stripped by police ranks. He took off his own clothing after he had been taken away from the custody of the police by other protestors.

At about 2245h. the police once more appealed to the protestors, informing them that they were in breach of the laws, but they steadfastly refused to remove saying that they will only do so if His Excellency The President comes to address their concerns.

The police then used tear smoke to clear the unruly crowd and nineteen (19) men, including Naith Ram, were arrested. They are presently still in police custody.

Two tractors, four trailers, two motor cars and two motor cycles that were among the vehicles used to block the roadway have been seized by the police.

At about 0010h. today Saturday July 05, 2014, the blockage on the roadway was cleared and traffic commenced flowing freely.

A member of the Guyana Defence Force who was dressed in uniform, and in a motor vehicle that was caught up in the congestion caused by the blockage of the road, was assaulted by a number of protestors. He was later treated at the Suddie Hospital.

The police are continuing to monitor the situation.

The Guyana Police Force recognises the rights of citizens to peaceful protest, but when such protests degenerate into a set of unlawful activities that infringe on the rights of other citizens the police will, of necessity, have to take the appropriate action in order to maintain law and order.

More in Local News

Off-spinner Ravi Ashwin picked up seven for 83 to wreck the West Indies innings. (Photo courtesy WICB Media)

Windies suffer innings defeat against India after batting flops again

NORTH SOUND, Antigua,  CMC – West Indies’ batting collapsed for the second time in as many days as India crushed them by an innings and 92 runs inside four days in the opening Test here today, to take a 1-0 lead in the four-match series.

Jaikarran Chandradeo

Two more held as cops look for motive in Corentyne triple murder

Police yesterday detained two more persons as they continued to try to unravel the motive behind the gruesome shooting to death of two men and a teenage boy, whose bodies were discovered at Kokerite Savannah, Mibicuri Creek, on Friday.

These children enjoyed being pushed home by a cousin


Riverstown, a village on the Essequibo Coast, is pressed between Pomona and Airy Hall. Once you cross the railway-like bridge over a black water creek, you’re in Riverstown, where there are more than 700 residents.

Raphael Trotman

SARU operating legally despite absence of legislation

Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman said on Thursday that the State Assets Recovery Unit (SARU) is operating legally and despite its inability to prosecute persons, it is currently doing investigative work which is part of its mandate.

Dead: Orin Morris

Sophia stevedore killed in freak accident at wharf

The body of a stevedore attached to the John Fernandes Limited, Water Street wharf was retrieved from the Demerara River on Thursday evening, more than a day after he was involved in a freak accident.

The old abandoned Moco-Moco Hydropower Station

2018 deadline set for completion of Moco-Moco hydropower facility

Due diligence is currently being done on two firms that had bid to rehabilitate the Moco-Moco hydropower facility and the project should be completed by the end of 2018, Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson says.


About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: