Guyana: Opposition Member Surrenders To Police

(CMC) – The executive member of the opposition Working People’s Alliance (WPA), Tacuma Ogunseye on Friday surrendered to police less than 24 hours after a wanted bulletin had been issued for him in relation to incitement allegations.

Ogunseye was accompanied by attorneys Nigel Hughes and Darren Wade.

“The WPA see ourselves as defending the dignity of our country and defending the legacy of Walter Rodney and regardless of what they throw at me I am prepared to fight back,” Ogunseye told reporters outside the Georgetown Headquarters of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

The police had claimed in the wanted bulletin on Thursday that Ogunseye, 71, is wanted for several serious offences, including attempting to excite hostility or ill-will on the grounds of race, contrary to section three of the Racial Hostility Act.

The Police said that the incident occurred on March 9 at Buxton Public Road, East Coast Demerara.

Ogunseye had during the public meeting made several claims about the ruling People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) using the Guyana Police Force (GPF)  and the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) in the past to “execute” persons of African descent. He further stated that the treatment of people in this ethnic group is unjust and must be acted upon as early as possible.

“The first objective is to get the African team in a state of battle readiness… the Afro-Guyanese police and soldiers… would stand with Afro-Guyanese in resisting mainly Indo-Guyanese supporting the PPP/C,” he had said.

WPA executive member, Dr David Hinds, told a news conference on Thursday that the PPP/C general secretary and Vice-President Bharrat Jagdeo as well as Attorney General Anil Nandlall were influencing police action against Ogunseye.

“We intend to make the charges against Ogunseye a test of whether this government is a democratic government committed to all the tenets of democracy or is it a government that is prepared to govern by fear by muzzling those who come out in the open space and speak and trying to bully the opposition,” he said.

Nandall had called for a full investigation into Ogunseye’s statement, noting that it amounts to several criminal offences, including but not limited to, sedition, seditious libel, inciting riotous behaviour and exciting racial hostility in order to create a breakdown of law and order within the State of Guyana.