Berbice protests run risk of ‘descending into lawlessness’ – Security Minister


With residents on the West Coast of Berbice pushing back against a joint services operation to clear the roads of debris, Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn is appealing for calm lest the protest actions which have continued for three days descend into lawlessness.

Already the Police are dealing with reports of attacks on motorists and commuters, the burning and damaging of personal property of innocent passersby.

Minister Benn said the Police is now forced to investigate a number of illegals acts including robberies committed by those involved in protesting the murders of teen cousins Isaiah and Joel Henry.

“Persons have to desist from unlawful practices…we now have a joint services operation to restore calm and order to the affected areas,” Benn said.

Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn

The joint services operation includes members of the Guyana Defence Force, the Guyana Police Force and the Guyana Fire Service.

“Unfortunately, there are repeated incidents where motorists and others are attacked and their property damaged and robberies of those persons and other unlawful and unruly incidents which in occurring do not bring calm to situation and runs the risk of bringing the general descent into lawlessness,” the Security Minister.

Residents of No. 1 Road, Corentyne, Berbice protesting and burning debris on the roadway [Photo: Malisa Player Harry]
The Minister urged the Guyana Police Force along with all law-abiding persons to lend support and execute the task of restoring order so that commuters are safe and normal activities can be conducted in safety.

“I note with regret the statements from some leading political persons and some agitators who are characterizing the incident of the death itself without any evidence that it racially motivated and even worse that certain villages have to take steps to protect themselves in a vigilante mode,” Benn further stated.

On Monday former President David Granger and Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon told the protesting residents that their actions were a “correct response” to what has happened to the two boys.

Granger in his address called on residents to form a “self-defence society” to fight injustice.

Benn said he finds it unsettling and unfortunate that these statements were made.

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