The Youth Coalition for Transformation (YCT) yesterday continued its call for Commissioner of Police Henry Greene to resign amidst recent allegations of assault that a female has made against him and the shooting of protesters with rubber bullets earlier this month.
Speaking at another in a series of public meetings at the Stabroek Market Square, campaign activist and former PNCR Member of Parliament Lurlene Nestor said, “We have been calling for the Commissioner of Police to resign after the shooting that occurred last Tuesday,” she said. Other speakers at the event included Annette Ferguson, Ryan Belgrave and attorney James Bond.
“All we got from the Commissioner of Police is that it was unfortunate. The lives of Guyanese become unfortunate,” Nestor said. “He didn’t resign. But a couple of hours ago some serious allegations surfaced at the level of that Commissioner. Rape allegation is a serious allegation,” she said.
Nestor added that the body will be bringing last week Tuesday’s shooting of protesters in the back with rubber bullets to the attention of the United Nations.
Nestor called on women to show their support for the victim in the rape allegations saga.
“As a woman I am waiting to see the women’s organizations come out in their numbers and we are prepared to march with you,” she said. “The YCT marched today and that was one of the reasons why they marched. I am calling on all the women’s organsations in Guyana to come out. We have allegations of rape at the feet of the Top Cop and he is still in office. We are demanding his immediate resignation. In any other part of the world, if the individual did not remove himself, the Head of State would have had that person removed. To date, Mr. Ramotar is still mum. He has not said anything,” she said.
Nestor rallied the gathering to be responsible in their spending this Christmas season.
“Comrades, Christmas is about Jesus Christ and to celebrate Christmas we don’t have to spend lavish. Let us remember why we have Christmas,” she said. “Right now the word for young people out there is to conserve,” Nestor said. “It is wrong to spend wisely? Why people have to vex with us when we tell people we spending wisely?” she asked.
“It is time to take a stand. We have to decide how we spending our money and where we spend it,” she said. “We are promoting investment in books, because when your children fail the Common Entrance and the CXC they laugh, because their children going to private school,” she said. “Invest in your future. Invest in your children and yourselves. Is anything wrong with that?” she asked.
Turning to the vexed issue of the list of businesses to be boycotted, Nestor said that her information is that the list came out of the PPP. “I have to say that if we want to boycott people, I don’t have to be afraid to say anything or do anything. I can do it openly,” she said. “So if we had a list of people to boycott I would stand here tonight and read that list to you,” she said. “But at this point the list that is out there with those 70 businesses, it happens to come from the PPP because they want to create chaos and confusion,” Nestor charged.
“This organization – the YCT – is on a mission to let the Government understand the power of the people,” she said. “We are on a mission to make them understand that the people are the Government,” said Nestor.
She said that there is a reason why young people came out and voted solidly for the APNU, “that concept of Government of national unity,” where their only quest is to see Guyana managed by a government where all are included.
“But what happened? When Mr. Ramotar was sworn in the first thing he told this nation is that he is going to have a PPP executive government. Mind you, more than 50 percent of Guyana said no to the PPP, you all know that? That’s why in the Parliament they in purgatory,” she declared.
“We have to let people understand that the power is in the people. We are going to take Guyana to a level of consciousness that we need to be at, and every issue we are going to deal with. We are going to be in every region and every community and we are coming to you. We want to hear from you what you want,” she said.
Turning to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Nestor signalled the group’s commitment to bring about change to the body. “We are saying to the Parliament that the first thing on your agenda must be to ensure that there is a serious overhaul of GECOM. We are saying that we are not going to a next election under [Chief Election Officer] Gocool Boodoo and [Chairman] Dr. Steve Surujbally,” she said. Nestor urged the audience that when the life of the new Parliament commences, they should dress soberly and attend its sittings. “You don’t have to ask permission, you hear what I am saying? You go up there and you tek you seat. When they get budget presentation, is we money. You go and hear how we money spending,” she urged them.
Meanwhile, over a hundred persons turned out yesterday in support of the YCT protest march.
The protesters, most of them dressed in green, set off from the Brickdam Arch at around 3.40pm and headed west along the same road chanting “police brutality must stop, starting with the Top Cop.” This and the other few but continuous chants were accompanied by the rhythmic beat of a drum, beaten by a youth travelling in a minibus that accompanied the procession.
Though this week’s contingent, which comprised mainly adults and few youths, was smaller than the one in last week’s march, it still managed to draw curious onlookers, some joining in the chorus, along the way. As they moved in an orderly fashion through Brickdam, into Republic Avenue thence to Brickdam, the crowd grew a bit larger and louder, especially while in the vicinity of the Brickdam Police Station, the Home Affairs Ministry, the Berbice Car Park and the Prime Minister’s residence.
The majority of the chants were directed towards the recent allegations levelled against Police Commissioner Greene.
After circling Main Street and heading back up Republic Avenue, into Croal Street, the protesters finally came to a stop at the Stabroek Market Square for the public meeting.
(Additional reporting by Abigail Semple)