Violence in the city - CARICOM summit opening
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Re- Stabroek News/Guyana Chronicle - July 5th. 2002
On the alert: Police regularly patrolled the streets of Georgetown yesterday.
morning, many of the stores did not open fully. Only the entrances to the stores
were opened and the heavy metal and woodwork barriers on show windows remained
in place. Store owners or/and their employees kept a close eye out for more
protesters who turned violent in a rampage Wednesday afternoon.
afternoon most of the stores were locked tight and Regent Street was almost
a ghost town.
set fire to the Payless Variety Store when they struck Wednesday. The building
was completely burnt while not much was saved from the next door Fullworths
Regent Street yesterday in stark contrast to what it's like on a regular shopping day.
At his store
yesterday, Mr. Persaud, in tears, was still shaking his head in disbelief at
what happened to his store. It had stood there for the past 32 years.
estimated his losses at more than $100M and said his property and goods were
don't know what I will do", he told the Chronicle.
next door, which kept clothes and haberdashery, was saved from the fire.
opened Bounty Meat Centre was spared from the fire. However, minor damage was
noticeable. During the day, workers were seen putting up plywood over the glass
show windows of the store.
At the Courts
store at Regent and Camp Streets, protective metal plates were placed across
show windows. The store was nearly burned down Wednesday evening when protesters
smashed one of the show windows and hurled an incendiary device into the store.
The small fire was quickly put out.
At the Bourda
Market, unlike Wednesday afternoon when almost all the stalls were locked up,
a few opened up yesterday.
Market, vendors were not out in their usual numbers.
Street, the entire block where State House is located was restricted to vehicular
traffic. State House is the official residence of President Bharrat Jagdeo.
were seen on the streets of Georgetown and at all hotels and rooming facilities
housing delegates to the 23rd CARICOM Heads of Government Conference.
says Bynoe not party member
THE main Opposition People's National Congress Reform (PNC/R) yesterday condemned Wednesday's storming of the Office of the President and the violent attack on citizens and business places which resulted from an unauthorised protest march in the city, led by a former top party member, Mr. Philip Bynoe.
At the regular
weekly press briefing at the party's Congress Place headquarters in Georgetown,
Chairman Mr. Robert Corbin said the protest march which began from Belladrum
West Coast Berbice, was organised by the People's Solidarity Movement. He said
the movement which comprises a number of concerned citizens from several villages
along the East Coast Demerara, was joined by PNC/R supporters in the protest
march that ended up in Georgetown, but unfortunately it was infiltrated by `criminal
march several persons were attacked and robbed and two of those who stormed
the Presidential Complex were shot dead by Police. The protesters also set on
fire two vehicles and burnt two Regent Street stores.
Bynoe is not a member of the PNC/R and is not permitted to represent the party's
interest when it comes to staging protest marches in the city.
knowing the structure of the party will know Bynoe is not a leader within the
party", he said.
to Corbin, the group had applied to the Commissioner of Police for permission
to conduct a protest march on Wednesday, but did not get a response. He said
the protesters who were already organised, went ahead and proceeded to the city.
that because law enforcement officers were not present to monitor the march,
the situation erupted into chaos.
the fact that our people are hurting, we cannot condone the death and destruction
that took place (Wednesday). We wish to convey our deepest sympathy to the families
of those who were killed, those injured, and who were beaten and had their business
places looted and destroyed", he said.
Mr. Desmond Hoyte who returned home Wednesday night after undergoing medical
check-ups in the U.S., said his party had planned to stage a four-day march
which was due to begin yesterday. However, the march did not go on because up
to yesterday, the Police had not responded to the application, he said.
of the CARICOM Summit being held in Georgetown, Hoyte said the Police would
see that as the ideal circumstance to justify refusal of permission for any
He said the PNC/R will march whether permitted or not.
of illegal protest to be charged
`That place is sacrosanct and should always be protected regardless of the costs. We would not allow that situation to be manifested again. The Office of the President must not be regarded as an ordinary office and I consider it an affront to this entire country for those elements to attempt, even attempt, to enter that building' - Police Commissioner Floyd McDonald
By Neil Marks
of the group of illegal protesters which attacked the Presidential Complex on
Wednesday, Phillip Bynoe, is to be charged, Police Commissioner Floyd McDonald
said yesterday, assuring such an action will not happen again.
acknowledge the right to protest peacefully, but we cannot and will not condone
any conduct deemed at disrupting the activities of this country", McDonald
declared at a news conference.
were shot dead after a group invaded the Office of the President in New Garden
Street, Georgetown, and the top cop said those who survived "are lucky
to be alive". Eight persons were wounded, while 17 were arrested, he said.
place is sacrosanct and should always be protected regardless of the costs.
We would not allow that situation to be manifested again. The Office of the
President must not be regarded as an ordinary office and I consider it an affront
to this entire country for those elements to attempt, even attempt, to enter
that building", McDonald told reporters.
said it is apparent that the tent that was erected for about a month now in
front of Prime Minister Sam Hinds' residence on Main Street, Georgetown, served
as a staging ground for Wednesday's protest action.
the tent on Wednesday evening, as members of the group threatened persons at
the nearby Main Street Plaza Hotel and "were bold enough" to threaten
to burn down the building.
that stage, the Police couldn't sit idly by, so we moved and dismantled the
tent," he said.
denied claims by persons who were under the tent that Policemen beat, kicked
and harassed senior citizens while dismantling the camp.
that at around 16:00 hrs a sizeable number of those who were protesting gathered
at the site "to eat". This could be confirmed by the numerous food
boxes left scattered after the tent was removed Wednesday night.
told the Chronicle that some of the "young men" started threatening
foreign guests of the hotel. "We ain't want y'all in we country",
she recalled the rugged-looking youngsters saying.
that as soon as law enforcement ranks turned up at the site, members of the
group ran under the tent and started singing "gospels".
retreated from the area, but the protesters again started taunting the hotel's
guests, the eyewitness said, reporting that one young man came out with a gasolene
tank in one hand and a shiny object in the other and threatened to burn down
gon burn y'all out tonight, we gon burn y'all down to the ground", she
remembered the protesters saying to persons at the hotel.
after, she said members of the Police Tactical Services Unit returned to the
site and dismantled the tent, but they did not touch any of the protesters,
as some of the women later claimed on television.
march organised by Bynoe was illegal as the permission he sought from the Police
persons were beaten and robbed along the route of the protest that kicked off
from the East Coast Demerara village of Golden Grove. Notably, McDonald said
that two of the vehicles used in the protest action were registered in the name
of the Linden Power Company with which Bynoe is affiliated.
Commissioner said that the march to the city was not stopped as the Police were
mindful of "much more harm" than was eventually done on Wednesday.
permission was not granted for it as the Police wished to concentrate its energies
on the CARICOM summit and because of previous statements by Bynoe and other
McDonald did not name the other politicians, but spoke of statements they made to remove the Government and others such as "bad boy against bad boy" and "shoot and shoot back". He said these comments were misleading and triggered the "nonsensical conduct by those protesters".
|Portrait: CARICOM Heads of Government posed yesterday for the official summit portrait on the lawns of State House following a luncheon hosted by President Bharrat Jagdeo (seated third from right) on the occasion of the Twenty-third Meeting of the Conference of CARICOM Heads of Government. Seated from left are Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr Keith Mitchell; President of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide; CARICOM Secretary-General, Dr Edwin Carrington; President Jagdeo; Deputy Barbados Prime Minister Billie Miller and Prime Minister of Jamaica, PJ Patterson. From left (standing) are Suriname President, Ronald Venetiaan; Prime Minister of St Lucia, Dr Kenny Anthony; Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves; Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Patrick Manning; Chief Minister of the Turks and Caicos Islands (an associate member), Derek Taylor and Prime Minister of Belize, Said Musa. Missing from the photo are Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Lester Bird; Prime Minister of the Bahamas, Perry Christie and Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis, Dr Denzil Douglas. Dominica and Montserrat are not represented at the Heads of Government summit. (Photo by Ken Moore)|
who stormed the Payless Variety store on Regent Street and set it afire, also
did not spare the firemen and policemen at the scene.
reported that one fireman was pulled off from a Fire Service vehicle and soundly
beaten and policemen had to go to his rescue.
One policeman on the East Coast Demerara was beaten with a baseball bat and robbed of $18,000.
"He wasn't armed, luckily (for the protestors) he wasn't armed", McDonald stated, also reporting that two other policemen received serious injuries.
As the fire
razed the Payless store and caught on to the Fullworth's store, some of the
protesters went to the bus parks, "robbing people and creating mayhem",
the Commissioner reported.
had to go to the rescue of some 15 workers who were trapped inside a building
on Regent Street by the protesters.
the evening, two buildings - Courts Furniture Store on Regent Street and the
Caribbean Chemicals building on South Road were set afire by incendiary devices
hurled into them. The fires were extinguished and no major damage resulted.
said the Police will continue to maintain vigilance on the streets, noting that
so far security arrangements for the CARICOM summit have run smoothly.
would not allow them (the protesters) to do what they like in this city or any
other part of this country. Because this country belongs to all Guyanese and
no one group should think that it has the right to inconvenience anyone in this
society. We will maintain our vigilance and we would ensure that peace and tranquility
is maintained," the Police chief stated.
Meanwhile, McDonald said that the Opposition People's National Congress Reform (PNC/R) has not been granted permission to hold any protest action. The party had applied for permission for marches yesterday right on to Sunday.
THE station wagon which was set afire at the junction of New Garden and Regent Streets.
At the time
of the lunchtime attack on the Presidential Complex, President Bharrat Jagdeo
was attending the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Civil Society Encounter at the
Ocean View Convention Centre, Liliendaal, East Coast Demerara.
POLICE on patrol on Regent Street yesterday.
of the President reported that the guards at the gate were assaulted and the
group of criminal elements stormed into the compound. Warning shots and continuous
appeals from the security ranks on duty failed to prevent the invasion, it said.
A MEMBER of the Police Tactical Services Unit instructs the arrested group who stormed the Presidential Complex.
forced their way into several offices, concentrating on the Accounts Department.
The Office of the President said several staff members and work-study students
were threatened, held at knifepoint and robbed.
The group then began to carry out an indiscriminate destruction of equipment, furniture and parts of the offices.
guards then discharged rounds during which a man and a woman were shot dead.
A black handle knife was discovered in the waist of the deceased man, Police
THE Accounts Department of the Presidential Complex after it was stormed by the group of protestors.
who suffered gunshot wounds had to be treated at the Georgetown Public Hospital,
the Ministry of Health reported. Five of them were admitted to the hospital.
were: Germaine Fraser, 25, of Beterverwagting; Orland Caesar, 25, also of Beterverwagting;
Tracy Hopkinson, 29, of Plaisance; Ralph Caesar, 30, of Linden; Mark Lewis,
29, of Golden Grove; Bryan London, 19, of Paradise; Andy Williams, 32, of West
Ruimveldt; Kelvin Nicholson of Melanie; Clint Fletcher, 32, of Linden.
In a statement,
Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy lamented that the health sector was
again severely challenged as a large number of persons from the unruly protest
had to be treated by the hospital, while still taking care of genuinely sick
wagon' was overturned and set on fire by protestors at the junction of Regent
and New Garden Streets.
Street, several huge stones and other debris were thrown on the road.
thereafter, Police reported that a group of protestors broke down the door of
the Payless Variety and Gift Store on Regent Street, looted and then lit the
store afire. A car parked outside of the store, which belonged to the store's
owner, was also turned over and shoved on the pavement in front of the store.
It caught afire as the blaze spread.
soon caught on the Fullworths General Store next door. The store was gutted,
except for the front half of the bottom and middle flats of the store. However,
only a small quantity of goods from the ground floor was spared.
were complaints that the Fire Service was slow to arrive on the scene, their
actions, aided by others, helped to avert damage to other stores, including
the newly opened Bounty Meat Centre.
Police said the driver of a fire tender which was proceeding to the scene of the fires was assaulted and some of his gear stolen while a wheel of the vehicle was punctured.
The gutted Payless Variety and Gift Store as the fire spreads to the Fullworths General Store.
the fired razed on, panic gripped Regent Street as the overhead electric wires
started sparking and persons ran in fright in all directions.
they are forced to do every time there is a protest, Regent Street stores shut
their doors. Shutters were rolled up, iron doors were slammed in and plyboards,
where not already, were quickly put on to protect glass show windows.
Up to dusk, some stores were still busy putting protective measures in place.
Invaders: Some of the protesters who invaded the Office of the President (OP) yesterday
being led out of the compound to be taken away by the police. Two protesters were shot dead in the Accounts Section of OP after threatening staff there. (Office of the President photo)
14:00 hrs Police said, a vehicle owned by a Professional Distribution Investments
was attacked and looted while on Oronoque Street during which a quantity of
cash and cigarettes were stolen.
that the driver, salesman and another occupant fled the scene and the vehicle
was later towed away by its owners.
and taxi parks were also virtually cleared as the events unfolded. At least
one taxi service cancelled its services for a while. When it resumed service,
its customers were mainly those who wanted to be taken out of town.
led by Bynoe, who has publicly indicated his alignment to the PNC/R, moved off
at around 06:55 hrs from Golden Grove, East Coast Demerara.
the string of criminal activities started three hours before, when a fire was
lit on the Victoria Public Road by criminal elements, Police said. The fire
was extinguished by the Police.
after, Police said another fire was lit on the Golden Grove public road by "criminal
elements" from a crowd of about 50 persons who, "while enjoying the
spectacle of their unlawful actions", chanted "More fire, more fire".
This fire, too, was extinguished by the Police.
Belfield public road, a blockage was erected, "again by criminal elements"
who placed the shell of a motor car across the road, Police said. The blockage
was removed by Police.
During the march to Georgetown, which apparently grew in size from village to village, Police said, two citizens, one from Good Hope and the other from Success, were among those robbed "by criminal elements" who were in the illegal procession led by Bynoe.
that in the first incident, a 42-year-old woman of Success was robbed of her
gold chain and pendant valued at $16,000. The woman was a passenger on a mini-bus
which was proceeding slowly along the Coldingen Public Road when another woman
approached her and snatched the chain and pendant she was wearing around her
neck. The robber reportedly dissapeared back into the procession, Police said.
In the other
incident, which occurred at about 09:25 hrs, a 32-year-old man of Success Village
was robbed of his bicycle valued at $8,000. Police said four men from the procession
went into his yard, beat him and his wife, then rode out the yard with the bicycle.
The attackers threw his wife on the ground after the beating.
that during the protests, ten incidents of robbery with violence were perpetrated
on commuters and cash and other valuables stolen by criminal elements armed
with knives, sticks and metal bars.
the group of persons who had for weeks been encamped outside the residence of
the Prime Minister on Main Street, Georgetown, were no longer in sight last
dismantled the camp and took the materials to the Brickdam Police Station.
who were in the camp were seen headed to the environs of Stabroek Market after
the camp was dismantled.
The removal of the tent left the area in a filthy state, with numerous disposable food boxes and other material scattered about, changing the face of an otherwise beautiful thoroughfare that is Main Street.
of the President says
Attack was step by PNC/R to remove elected government
THE Office of the President (OP) said it views with the greatest concern the attack on the Presidential Complex yesterday and blamed it on the main Opposition People's National Congress Reform (PNC/R).
OP condemns the blatant attack on the Presidential Complex and notes that the
invaders, holding staffers at knifepoint, were actually demanding access to
the first floor Confidential Secretariat of the President", OP said in
the attack unprecendented and said it must be seen as a step by the PNC/R to
assassinate President Bharrat Jagdeo and remove the elected PPP/C Government
The OP said
"it wishes to state again that some Guyanese are being misled by the Opposition
PNC/R and are being encouraged to rise up against the State."
that yesterday's march and demonstartion was organised by the PNC/R and that
it was illegal, as the Police Force did not provide permission.
should also be noted that the Opposition PNC/R has signalled its intentions
to continue its reckless assault on constitutional authority, private property
and innocent Guyanese by applying for permission for more marches in Georgetown
on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday of this week", OP stated.
said the Government is calling on Guyanese to soberly reflect on these developments,
coming as they do in the context of the conduct of the PNC/R towards the elected
PPP/C Government is also again calling on the Opposition PNC/R to renounce its
resort to terrorism and recommit themselves to dialogue with the Government",
the OP stated.
Opposition PNC/R must know the local, regional and international implications
of attempting to overthrow an elected government", the statement said.
condemns invasion of Presidential Complex
THE governing People's Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) has condemned yesterday's invasion of the Presidential Complex by protestors, dubbing it an attack by the opposition to destabilise the Government and disturb the current CARICOM summit in Georgetown.
put the blame on the main Opposition People's National Congress Reform (PNC/R)
for yesterday's violent attacks in downtown Georgetown, which saw several incidents
of banditry, the setting ablaze of two Regent Street stores, and the attack
on the Presidential Complex, in which the officer in charge of the Presidential
Guards there was wounded.
activist Phillip Bynoe led the invading gang who recently launched a racist
attack on the current administration and squatted in front of the Prime Minister's
residence. It must be noted that the PNC/R leaders Robert Corbin and Vincent
Alexander had also been mobilising for (yesterday's) illegal activities",
the PPP/C stated.
unrest in Georgetown resulting from the PNC/R organised illegal march and protest
on the East Coast of Demerara and Georgetown is consistent with a pattern of
destabilisation acts unleashed by that party following its defeat at successive
elections since October 1992, when democracy was returned to the country after
an absence of 28 years", the PPP/C said in a statement.
that the PNC/R has consistently claimed that the elections were rigged despite
the fact that all were declared free and fair by local, regional and international
observer groups, and charged that the PNC/R is unprepared to accept the verdict
of the Guyanese people.
(the PNC's) 28 years of dictatorial rule is still fresh in the minds of Guyanese.
And now that party seeks to subvert democracy from the Opposition", the
"The PPP/Civic therefore calls on democratic forces in Guyana and the world over, more particularly our CARICOM friends, to condemn these acts of terrorism and banditry unleashed by the PNC/R against the people of Guyana", the party stated.
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