Caribbean News

Guyana Police detain chairperson of main opposition party

GEORGETOWN, Guyana – The chairman of the main opposition People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), Volda Lawrence, has been detained by police as investigations continue into the disputed March 2 regional and general elections.

Attorney Nigel Hughes, said that his client, a former health minister, is being detained at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Headquarters at Eve Leary, Georgetown.

He said she had turned up at the Criminal Investigations Department on Tuesday morning for questioning but the investigating officers were a no show at the agreed time for the interrogation.

Hughes told reporters that the officer who was on duty explained that the politician will have to remain in custody until she is questioned.

“The officers invited her to be here for 11’o clock (local time) and they are not here and she has been arrested…she was asked to hand over license, which I have, we are unable to say when they will question her, when they are charging her.

“Miss Lawrence indicated that she believes this is part of an orchestrated plan to detain her,” Hughes said, telling reporters “there is nothing more I could say at the moment except the fact that the investigating officer is not here and I have no  indication as to when anything further will be taken.

Hughes said he hopes that the treatment to his client will not be similar to what had been meted out to the Deputy Chief Election Officer, Roxanne Myers, who was held for 72 hours before she was eventually taken to the Court and charged after invoking her right to remain silent. “

Hughes said the detention of any person for questioning by the Police should only be in a case where there is a concern that the person might interfere with evidence in the case or may be a flight risk. He said his client has always made herself available to the police.

On August 24, Lawrence was placed on GUY$100,000 (One Guyana dollar=US$0.004 cents)  bail in relation to a private criminal charge filed against her by PPP/C member and current Minister of Culture Youth and Sport Charles Ramson Jr.

The coalition, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance for Change (AFC) has accused the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government for using the police force to unleash psychological warfare against the opposition.

Lawrence detention comes less than 24 hours after the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, was on granted GUY$300,000 bail after he appeared in court on new charges arising from the disputed elections.

Lowenfield has been charged with three counts of misconduct in public office and three charges in relation to forgery. He was granted GUY$50,000 bail on each of the charges. He will return to court on October 23.

Hughes said it appears as though the charges being filed against the Chief Election Officer and the Deputy Chief Election Officer are to be used as a way of removing them from the Guyana Elections Commission.

Last month, a case of fraud against Lowenfield was adjourned to October 26 even as one of his attorneys, Neil Boston, insisted that his client had no case to answer and would be seeking a dismissal when the matter is called

Lowenfield is facing charges of misconduct in public office, conspiracy to commit a felony, and fraud arising from the country’s local and general elections that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) said was won by the main opposition PPP/C after a national recount had been undertaken and supervised by a three-member Caribbean Community observer team.

CMC

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