PPP protestors inside Pegasus Hotel hid placards from security
One of the Security Officers at the Pegasus Hotel has admitted that there was “a kind of breach of security” at the hotel on Thursday when protestors ended up in the Savannah Suite where President David Granger was delivering a speech at the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) business luncheon.
Shawn Farnum, who was on duty at the time, told the media that the Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) members did not show any signs of wanting to cause a conflict when they first arrived at the hotel.
“The PPP candidates were here but we didn’t see any placards up. They come like casual customers of the hotel. Until the President came, then we realise they had their placards hidden away from us,” the security officer told the media.
“As long as we recognise persons will cause certain conflicts here, we would stop you before it goes further than what it is today,” Farnum added.
Moments after the President entered the Pegasus Hotel, the protestors who were sitting quietly in the waiting area, pulled out placards and marched towards the Savannah Suite shouting “you’re illegal!”, “respect the constitution!”
At that time, a large number of protestors had gathered at the entrance of the hotel’s compound where they blocked Government officials from entering.
The Opposition supporters were escorted off the premises by the Police.
However, shortly after the President began his speech by noting, “I think we have survived a bit of hooliganism,” a group of persons at the back of the room erupted in protests.
The group comprised of Opposition Parliamentarians, Juan Edghill, Nigel Dharamlall and others.
It should be noted that the GMSA luncheon was a ticketed event and the PPP officials were there under the guise of being guests.
Speaking with the media after the event, President of the Guyana Manufacturing Service Association (GMSA), Clinton Williams said: “We did not anticipate that the protest will be to this magnitude, to be frank.”
“We are a free country, people are allowed to protest in whatever manner they like once there is order and no disruption.”
Williams said given that there was disruption, the only thing that could have been done at that time was to escort the protestors out of the room.
Williams said the GMSA has been doing similar events since 2011 and political candidates are invited to each event to outline their plans for the business community.
Following the interruption, President Granger said “I hope the intellectual authors will be able to stop what they started,” before continuing his speech.
The Head of State said he will ensure a free and fair election void of any violence.