AG Nandlall slams Mayor Narine for vile, baseless statements

Calls on police to investigate and seek relevant legal advice

DPI Guyana, Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, S.C., M.P., has lambasted Georgetown Mayor, Ubraj Narine for his recent attacks on President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali and the government, deeming his statements as baseless, completely without factual foundation and wholly unwarranted.

The attorney general, who was addressing the matter during his weekly programme, ‘Issues in the News’, condemned in the ‘strongest possible terms, the statements by the mayor accusing President Ali and the administration of racism, religious intolerance, ethnic division and other allegations similar in nature.

“These are dangerous, these are highly antagonistic statements to make, these are sacrilegious statements, they are divisive statements and they are statement that will only excite racial hostilities and religious animosities in our country. They must therefore be rejected and those who make them condemned in the strongest possible fashion” the AG pointed out.

He noted that while Guyana is a multi-ethnic, multicultural and multi-racial society, its people live in harmony and there is tremendous religious tolerance.

“We may have had racial problems in the past that have been exacerbated by politicians, but we have never had religious bigotry and what the mayor is doing, is stoking a religious strife and we will not tolerate that, it is wrong, it goes against our constitutional rights and freedoms and it is a criminal offence…hopefully the police will look at the file, carry out the investigations, seek the relevant legal advice and be guided and advised accordingly.”

The minister made it clear that the government will not tolerate such reckless utterances in a democratic society.

“It is my duty as attorney general to condemn such hate speech or hate speeches in the strongest possible terms, as I do now, they have no place in a democratic, multicultural, multi-religious society and they have no place in the united and cohesive Guyana, which we are seeking to build as a government and as a people,” AG Nandlall stated.

Several religious organisations, the private sector, ministers of government and other bodies have strongly condemned the statements by the mayor. A protest was also organised in front of City Hall, Georgetown calling for his resignation.

Meanwhile, in addressing the root of the issue, the Attorney General highlighted the removal of the caravans, stalls and other impediments put out by vendors, who are illegally plying their trade along New Market Street is long overdue.

He said, “Unlawful encumbering of public streetways and parapets is a serious problem in our country. The Mayor and City Council is one of the state agencies that must clear public roadways, streetways, and parapets of encumbrances. We have a mayor and city council that is apparently authorising these criminal illegalities across the city.”

In addition to being unlawful, these encumbrances jeopardise public safety and create traffic hazards. This has precarious repercussions and poses a threat to ambulances, as well as persons seeking care at GPHC.

Additionally, fortifying the AG’s statements, the GPHC on Tuesday indicated that its concerns regarding these encumbrances date back to 2015. The statement outlined that the obstruction hinders easy access to the hospital, and poses a challenge to keeping the hospital’s environs clean.

The AG stated that, “Nobody will dispute that Georgetown has a garbage problem. This here is one of the reasons why we have to take a position as a people. Do we want to live in a country that looks like a shanty town? Or do we want a clean environment, an orderly city?

“Our government is committed to creating public order and to ensure that the public roadways, streetways and parapets are not blocked with these illegal encumbrances.”

While he agreed that vending can be the lone source of income for many, reiterating that the government is committed to preserving and improving livelihoods, AG Nandlall stressed the importance of plying the trade in accordance with the law.

Further, he noted that the removal of these obstructions will be replicated across the country in the interest of fostering public order.