Trades union congress' criticism of police baseless
-Office of the President
Stabroek News
April 19, 2002

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The Office of the President has slammed the Guyana Trades Union Congress' (GTUC) recent statement, criticising the police, calling it unjustified and unprovoked.

Information Liaison to the President, Robert Persaud, said in a statement that the GTUC should support the fight against crime and the maintenance of law and order.

"If the GTUC is so concerned about democracy and good governance, why has it remained silent on the PNC/R putting the dialogue (between President Bharrat Jagdeo and Opposition Leader Desmond Hoyte) on pause, and threats of extra-parliamentary actions?" Persaud asked.

He said it seemed as if the GTUC's statement was merely its contribution to the anti-police campaign, which he contended was inspired by the PNC/R.

"The GTUC and [its general secretary Lincoln] Lewis are silent when policemen are assaulted and executed, law-abiding citizens beaten and robbed, and public and private properties are vandalised," he said in the statement.

Persaud said the credibility of Lewis' accounts of what transpired at Buxton was questionable and recalled that during the public service strike in 1999 the GTUC general secretary alleged certain actions by the police which could not be verified to date.

Lewis had stated at a press conference this week that the police used brutal force in dealing with the situation at Buxton.

"Lewis once again ignores the trauma and fear deliberately caused by his political cohorts who have emboldened those with criminal intent," Persaud stated.

He stated that if Lewis was truly interested in workers' welfare and the development of Guyana he should spend some time on healing the divided labour movement by restoring democracy, accountability and transparency in the GTUC.

"The GTUC must unequivocally, condemn the anti-police campaign and the terroristic behaviour of the PNC/R and its operatives," the statement read.

Lewis had blamed the government for the state of insecurity being felt by citizens following an upsurge in crime.

Lewis also deplored the way the police treated citizens in some communities.