ERC still probing PM, minister’s call for protests, “war break”

January 12, 2020

first_imgThe Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) is still investigating the recent calls made by Finance Minister Winston Jordan and Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo for protests and “war break” at the Government outreach held in Bartica, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) some weeks ago.Finance Minister Winston JordanPrime Minister Moses NagamootooChairman of the Ethnic Relations Commission, Dr John SmithThe high-ranking Government officials made those comments following the Caribbean Court of Justice’s ruling that the No-Confidence Motion filed by the Opposition was validly passed, thus toppling the Government. During the meeting, which was held in Bartica the same day as the Court’s ruling, the ministers pointed out that the David Granger-led administration is not prepared to call elections unless House-to-House registration is carried out, regardless of what the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) or anyone says. It was then that the ministers called for protests with Finance Minister Winston Jordan taking a step further saying “war break”. These statements led to the Opposition – Peoples Progressive Party – filing complaints with both the Police and the ERC.On Wednesday, Chairman of the Commission, Dr John Smith, explained to Guyana Times that such complaints are usually forwarded to a special unit to conduct the probe.“What normally happens when these complaints come in and they have been quite a number, we pass them on to one of the units we have— Investigative Unit— and they do the investigation and then they report back to the commission,” he said.However, the Chairman was unable to say exactly when the probe will be completed but assured that the report by the Opposition is being acted upon.“It’s been sent to the unit. I can’t remember if the investigation is complete because I don’t want to give you the wrong information but it has been sent and action is being taken on that matter; that I can say with certainty,” the ERC Chairman said.Further, he explained that the Investigative Unit usually goes to the part of the country where such statements were made to investigate thoroughly.About two weeks ago, the Chairman acknowledged that the body was in receipt of the letter and it was forwarded to the Investigation Unit. After the evaluation is completed, commissioners will make their input to determine the final outcome.Asked whether the Commission had expressed concerns over the series of events, Smith noted that it is too early to determine since the letter was sent just a couple of days ago.One-line responsesOver the weekend, former Chief Whip for the Opposition, Gail Teixeira, said she has since received one-line responses from the ERC and Police with regards to her complaint made in relation to the troubling statements by members of the Government.Teixeira told this publication, “I just got one-line acknowledgement letters saying they would be looking into the matters from both the ERC and Commissioner of Police”.“War break”During an outreach in Bartica last month, Minister Jordan called on supporters to go out and protest for House-to-House registration, noting that if that doesn’t happen, then there would be “war break”.This is despite the fact that this exercise is likely to further delay the elections that were constitutionally due since March 21 of this year.“Comrades, be on the ready! Because we will be able to call you out to picket for House-to-House registration. No registration, no elections”!“And CCJ or no CCJ, they can’t tell us that we must tinker with that list to call an improper election. Elections must be free, fair, and proper,” the Minister said in gross disregard for the ruling of the highest Court in the region.Jordan added, “From today Comrades, war break. Because we got to go to elections before the end of this year, hopefully. I say hopefully because we can only go to elections when GECOM says it’s ready. So don’t let anyone tell you anything”.“And I’m putting the Police on notice. Mischief will be afoot between now and when the elections are called. You have to be on your guard and your lookout. Your intelligence has to be upgraded. Because already there is talk about bringing people on the street,” he said.Nevertheless, similar sentiments were also expressed by Prime Minister Nagamootoo who declared that there would be “trouble” without House-to-House registration and urged street protests.last_img

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