PRESS STATEMENT

On anniversary of January 12, 1998 PNC street violence;
PPP Alerts Nation to PNCR Renewed Politicisation of Crime

The People’s Progressive Party recalls the incidents of January 12, 1998 orchestrated by the opposition PNC in which dozens of people were beaten, robbed and harassed by organized mobs on the streets of Georgetown and elsewhere.
Most of the persons who were attacked, beaten and robbed were of Indo-Guyanese origin.
The political motives of these attacks were quite evident coming immediately after a High Court ruling that affirmed the PPP/Civic’s victory in the 1997 elections. The elections were declared free and fair by local and international observers, including the Caricom Observer Group and the Carter Centre.
Notwithstanding the fact that the election results were upheld by the Court and had the endorsement of the international community, the PNC still persisted with its spurious allegations of irregularities in the conduct of the elections.
It is incidents like these that often leave a bitter taste in the minds of Guyanese, the vast majority of whom are law abiding and want to live in a state of peace and cordiality with their fellow human beings, regardless of skin colour or political affiliation.
The PPP is confident that the efforts of those who seek to divide the peoples of this country along racial lines will fail and that the Guyanese people will unite around the core and cherished values of unity in diversity.
The PNC cannot escape responsibility for the attacks and robbery inflicted on innocent Guyanese as they sought to go about their business in the city of Georgetown and on the East Coast of Demerara. It is such irresponsible and reckless behaviour on the part of the main opposition that set the stage for criminal elements to perpetrate their diabolic acts on other peace-loving Guyanese. It is no secret that thugs and other criminal elements sought cover under the so-called “protest marches” oganised by the PNC, creating in the process mayhem and a state of lawlessness. Such misguided actions only serve to undermine the rule of law and disrupt the peace and tranquility of the society as a whole.
The PPP calls on the PNC to seriously reconsider the damage it has inflicted on this nation by virtue of refusing the expressed will of the people at free and fair elections. The social and economic costs of such actions are incalculable in terms of contraction of business activities, job losses, poisoning of the investment climate and not to mention the deep scars inflicted on the social fabric of the Guyanese society. In the final analysis, it is the people of Guyana regardless of ethnicity or political affiliation that are made to suffer as a consequence of such actions.
It is the considered view of the PPP that the time is long overdue for the PNC to make a clean break with its current mode of adversarial politics and seek to embrace an approach in which the interests of the Guyanese people are placed above narrow partisan interests. In this regard, the Party notes with concern the renewed efforts of the PNC leadership to politicize the crime situation by making wild and unsubstantiated allegations of wrongdoings by senior officials of the Government.

January 12, 2004