Some PNC members reject WPA’s ‘distasteful’ comments, disappointed in Norton’s silence
At least four senior members of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNC/R) have publicly distanced themselves from what they say are derogatory and distasteful statements made by member of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA), Rhonda Layne at a recent political engagement in Buxton, East Coast Demerara.
But equally, the PNC members, who share the APNU Opposition coalition with the WPA, are also disappointed at the silence of other opposition members including, Opposition Leader, Aubrey Norton.
In a statement issued on Saturday, opposition Members of Parliament (MP), Ganesh Mahipaul and Natasha Singh-Lewis along with Chairman for Region Four, Daniel Seeram and Georgetown Mayor, Ubraj Narine said the statements by Layne, although they did not name her directly, were hurtful to the East Indian community of Guyana.
“We wish to condemn the speaker’s remarks where it referred to East Indians coming from the slums of India and living in deplorable places like pipes.
“These remarks further insinuated that the alleged conditions under which East Indians lived in India made them undeserving of lands in Guyana.
“It is disappointing that none of the other speakers at the meeting sought to address or clarify that speaker’s statements.
“We call on all political leaders and representatives to speak out against all forms of bigotry and discrimination and to work towards a more inclusive and tolerant society,” the statement added.
This statement from the four senior PNC/R members ignored other comments made by another WPA member, Tacuma Ogenseye where he sought to suggest that Afro-Guyanese were being oppressed by the incumbent People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) government and that they should resist, particularly since the Guyana Police Force and the Guyana Defence Force are dominated by Afro-Guyanese.
The other speakers who shared the platform with Layne and Ogenseye were Norton, political activist, David Hinds and other members of the WPA.
Earlier on Saturday, President Dr. Irfaan Ali rallied collective condemnation for the provocative statements which seemed intended to get citizens to engage in public disorder in rejection of his democratically elected government.
Already, Chief-of-Staff and Chairman of the Defence Board, Brigadier Godfrey Bess, and Attorney General, Anil Nandlall have issued statements condemning the attempt to incite racial tensions and public disorder.
But Dr. Ali believes the comments by Ogunseye particularly should be more widely condemned and said there are religious leaders and members of civil society who have chosen to ignore it.
The problem with these particular persons is that they think their brand of racism is ok. All they want is power and even though when they get it, they completely abandon Afro-Guyanese…….they tell themselves that next time will be different. Afro-Guyanese have held the reins of power more than Indo-Guyanese and look where the Country ended up with them in charge? And yet this group wants it back.
These opposition members were condoning attacks against Indians all along. Why are they voicing discontent now?