- resumes picket outside Top Cop’s office
ranks about to erect barriers during the picketing exercise.
General Secretary of the Guyana Trades Union Congress,
Norris Witter, said that the land outside the office of the
Police Commissioner is not holy ground and unless that is
changed, he will continue to protest there.
Yesterday, Witter and Mark Benschop returned to the area where
they were arrested last week and resumed their protest against
what they are claiming to be a violation of several
“It has not been gazetted that where we stand here at the
moment is holy ground, and if it is holy ground then it has to
be Henry Greene’s holy ground.
“Until such time that there is a proclamation that says
this ground is holy ground and every citizen in this land,
including President Jagdeo, should not step on this ground, we
shall continue to come here and picket,” Witter told the
Absent yesterday was General Secretary of the Caribbean
Congress of Labour Lincoln Lewis who was also arrested during
a recent protest outside Police Headquarters, Eve Leary.
Lewis is out of the jurisdiction and is expected to be back in
Guyana to face court charges along with Witter and Benschop
stemming from last week’s demonstration.
According to Witter, the fight to restore the rights of
persons that were taken away will not be won easily.
He stressed that he, along with his fellow protestors, is
prepared for the long haul, even if it means being thrown back
into the Brickdam lock-ups where they previously spent a night
before being released on $10,000 station bail. “We recognise
that sacrifices will have to be made and if needs be, that we
have to go back to the hell hole in prison, we shall go there.
We are committed and we have a conviction to ensure the rights
of the Guyanese people are restored,” the GTUC General
During the protest, several ranks swooped down on the area and
there was the feeling that the picketers, who this time around
were wearing peaceful picket armbands, would have been
However, after several minutes this newspaper observed the
ranks moving away from the two picketers and taking up
positions beyond barriers hastily erected on Young Street.
According to Benschop, an officer within the ranks informed
them that they would be arrested if they did not remove.
However, the picketers stood their ground and the officer
appeared to have been instructed otherwise.
Witter explained that while it may seem that they are only
picketing to get their message across a lot of other work is
being done behind the scenes.
“The entire international community has been sensitized,
they are aware of this issue and they are in communication
with us on a daily basis,” Witter said.
Among the agencies keeping abreast with the development are
the International Labour Organization, the International Trade
Union Confederation of Labour, the Trade Union Confederation
of the Americas and a number of support groups in the
Caribbean, North America and the United Kingdom.
“So if they believe that they can drive fear into us, we
shall not be intimidated. We know that we are right, God knows
that we are right and we will continue to do what is right,”
Additionally, Benschop has dispatched a letter to US President
Barack Obama, the UN Secretary General and several Congressmen
outlining the plight of citizens in Guyana.
July 24, 2009