The Private Sector Commission (PSC) earlier this month condemned the police for intervening and stopping the flag-raising at Corriverton on February 22nd.
In a statement on March 9, it also rapped the Corriverton Town Council for putting politics ahead of convention.
It said that the raising of the National Flag on the occasion of becoming a republic, is a national event to be honoured and respected by all. It said that on each of these occasions, the National Flag has been raised at an official ceremony where the government, regardless of the political party in office, has been formally represented either by a Minister of the government or by an official of the government.
It said it was extremely unfortunate, therefore, that this year at the Republic Flag Raising Ceremony at Corriverton, this tradition was sullied by political intervention and interference.
The PSC said that according to the facts at its disposal, the Corriverton Town Council “quite properly invited Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan, to represent the government and be the Guest Speaker at the ceremony, but the Minister, quite wrongly, neglected to respond to the invitation”.
The PSC noted that it has been reported that the Regional Executive Officer had previously contacted the Mayor of Corriverton, Krishnand Jaichand, indicating the government’s wishes that the Minister of Public Security, Vice President, Khemraj Ramjattan, should represent the government and deliver the Feature Address. This call was supported by another from Minister Bulkan. The Corriverton City Council, an opposition elected local Council, however, rejected the government’s proposal, the PSC noted.
Mayor Jaichand then received a further call from Minister of Social Protection, Amna Ally, making it clear that Ramjattan was the government’s choice to officiate and speak at the Flag Raising Ceremony.
“There, the matter should have ended. The Corriverton Council preferred to put politics before accepted national behaviour and convention and refused to accept the government’s appointment to speak at the Ceremony.
“A disgraceful and unacceptable series of events followed in which, most unfortunately, the police were clearly directed to intervene and prevent the Flag Raising Ceremony from taking place on the specious excuse that prior permission had not been sought from the police.
“The Private Sector Commission … condemns without hesitation, the intervention of the police and the seizing of the National Flag by them, regardless of who did or did not give instructions to that end”, the statement said.
The PSC said it believes that the political parties should be adult enough to set aside crass political behaviour in favour of honouring and respecting the raising of the National Flag at a national event.