‘No witch-hunting under a PPP Gov’t’ – Irfaan Ali
A People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Government will not embark on a ‘witching hunting’ exercise, said Presidential Candidate Irfaan Ali, in response to questions as to whether Police Commissioner Leslie James will be removed from his post if the PPP is sworn into office.
The Top Cop came in for heavy criticisms after he submitted a list of 172 persons to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) claiming that they were out of the country on March 2 – Elections Day.
It is the same list that was submitted by the incumbent APNU+AFC on the grounds that these persons were ticked off as having voted on elections day.
Even though many persons on the list came forward and proved that they were not out of Guyana when they voted at the polls, the Police Commissioner stood by his list and maintained that it is credible information.
“The list has been deemed to be flawed so he [Leslie James] has to look at his database too, his information system might be flawed and that’s a serious concern.
“We are not in a witch-hunting exercise, let me make that very clear. We are going to act professionally. The Commissioner has assured us that he and his team will continue to act professionally. We hold the Commissioner to his statement but we are not in a witch-hunting exercise about firing people and so,” Ali told reporters outside the Police Headquarters in Eve Leary shortly after he met with the Top Cop Wednesday morning.
He added, “We are moving forward in this country, in building a strong country that is inclusive… a country that is tolerant of different ideas, of different views and a country in which all Guyanese must be proud.”
The top brass of the PPP met with the Commissioner of Police where they discussed issues of “national importance”, chief among them is the protection of State assets and documents.
The meeting was held at the Commissioner’s Eve Leary, Georgetown office and included General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo, former Attorney General Anil Nandlall and Prime Ministerial Candidate Brigadier (Rt’d) Mark Phillips.
Ali said the PPP was assured by the Top Cop that systems are in place to safeguard State assets.
“You would recall that in 2015, there were Police Officers stationed at every Ministry and Department while the transition was taking place so we raise this with the Commissioner.”
Ali said there are photos circulating of documents and assets being moved.
The PPP also sought assurance about systems in place to protect citizens if there is any violence after a declaration is made of the March 2 winner of the elections.
Ali said many threats have been made on social media.
“The Commissioner has assured us that they’re actively monitoring the situation; they’re gathering intelligence, they’re securing information to deal with any such threats if it arise.
“I want the best for our country and I want to ensure the security forces have everything in place to protect the people of our country, to protect our assets, to protect the assets of individuals and protect the streets of our country.”
The recount of votes cast in all Regions showed that the PPP won the elections by 15,416 votes.
The GECOM is set to make a declaration soon.
The other issue raised during the meeting was the prevalence of racially hostile remarks on social media seeking to divide the nation.
According to Ali, the Top Cop said a list of “breaches” has been compiled and sent for legal advice.
“The Commissioner said they have systems in place; they’re actively monitoring what is happening and they’ve compiled a list of breaches and sent it for legal advice in relation to statements made on social media to incite people and so on.
“The funny thing is, a lot of these persons who are doing this – trying to divide the people racially – are people who are living outside of Guyana and who have no interest in coming back here but seem bent on creating mischief and I think it is time the Force deal with these persons in a condign manner,” Ali said.
The March 2, 2020 elections is the longest in Guyana’s history and more than three months later, GECOM is yet to declare a winner.