Guyana home affairs minister to stay

Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee.
Photo courtesy of GINA

The Guyana government says it has no intention of removing Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee in the wake of calls for him to step down over the recent deadly police shootings in Linden, Agricola and other incidents of police misconduct escalated into fiery protests recently.

Passions inflamed over what was deemed by Agricola residents as “special treatment” for a police officer charged with the September killing of an Agricola teenager spilled over into a day of fiery protests, looting and armed clashes with authorities that day.

In a press briefing earlier that day Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon said the government was not prepared to axe Rohee and he told the opposition parties in the words of legendary American boxer Mohammed Ali: Let’s get ready to rumble” in response to an ultimatum given by Nigel Hughes, chairman of the Alliance for Change opposition party, to President Donald Ramoutar to replace Rohee.

Angry supporters who had been picketing the court appearance of one of the accused, Constable Terrance Wallace, who is charged with shooting to death 17-year-old Shaquille Grant on Sept. 11, turned their protest on Dr. Luncheon, launching a protest outside his residence after the accused left the courts. Police are still looking for two other cops who are implicated the killing.

The protest escalated and according to police reports, a large number of persons gathered on the roadway and threw tires and other obstacles across both carriageways of the East Bank Demerara road at Agricola and set them on fire, causing traffic to come to a standstill.

Bricks and bottles were thrown at the police. The unruly crowd, some whom were armed with pieces of wood and cutlasses, blocked the Guyana Fire Service vehicles from getting to the location of the burning tires and other materials despite pleas from the Joint Services personnel.

Police had to use tear smoke to disperse the crowd. A car was also set on fire during the protest.

Thousands of commuters were left stranded on the East Bank public road between Agricola and McDoom after traffic was blocked for more than five hours.

Many motorists and passengers were reportedly robbed of their valuables.

Police managed to clear the streets after the Tactical Services Unit arrived on the scene.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall condemned the actions of the protestors and refuted claims that the protests were as a result of statements made by Luncheon.

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