PM, other Gov’t officials attempt to engage Berbice residents
Prime Minister Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips, Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn, Minister of Human Services and Social Security Dr Vindhya Persaud and other officials of the Government on Tuesday afternoon travelled to Region Five where they attempted to engage residents but were met with resistance.
Benn in a short address to residents who were protesting at Belladrum, West Coast Berbice pleaded with them to restore peace in the communities.
“I’m appealing to you all as adults who know better…that we do the things that will restore peace in the communities,” the Minister said.
He told the residents that the Police will continue to do their work and then “we can have a clear opportunity to find out what happened and to bring to justice those who perpetrated the crime.”
Referring to protest actions and rioting over the past two days which has left several injured, the Minister said: “we cannot pile crime on crime.”
The Prime Minister and the other officials are still making efforts to reach the residents and as they were prevented from entering certain villages, the Joint Services formed a human barricade around them.
Protest broke out at several villages across Regions Five and Six calling for justice for 16-year-old Isaiah and 18-year-old Joel Henry whose mutilated bodies were found at Cotton Tree, West Coast Berbice on Sunday.
Minister Benn told the residents that the Government will ensure the matter is resolved without fear or favour.
The protesters in response said, “if there is no justice, there will be no peace.”
“The greater crime is this is something that is systematically going on,” one man added.
Minister Persaud told those gathered that she condemns what happened to the teens.
“I am here and I am condemning it and I have never stopped condemning it,” the Minister assured.
The decision to visit the communities was made after the officials sought advice from the Joints Services.
At a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Brigadier Godfrey Bess said: “Government officials decided and requested to go on the ground to meet with protestors and appease the crowd and let them know the seriousness the government treats the issue.”