Hill Foot resident charged and released on self bail over highway protest

Hill Foot resident charged and released on self bail over highway protest

Six of the residents of Hill Foot on the Soesdyke/Linden Highway who were arrested last week during the fiery protests, have been released from custody.

However, another resident was charged with disorderly behavior. He was granted self bail by the Court.

The residents launched a protest last week after some of their homes were bulldozed by a private developer who reportedly owns the land where they were squatting.

Opposition Member of Parliament and Attorney-at-Law, Amanza Walton-Desir bemoaned the treatment meted out to the residents during the protests. She said many of them were taken into custody by the Police and released days later, without any charges or explanations from law enforcement.

“It is very unfortunate that they would have kept these residents in custody for in excess of 72 hours, and then when we turned up here this morning, charges were preferred only against one individual. So, the police have not yet charged the other five persons,” MP Walton-Desir told reporters.

MP Walton-Desir said it is also unclear whether charges will be laid against other residents who took part in the protests.

“The female in their midst, she was kept in custody with a male that she does not know. And she was forced to sleep in a cell with an unknown male for two nights. Something is wrong with this system, something is fundamentally wrong with the system, and I think we have to take stock, we really have to take stock. It seems as though it is open season on poor people,” the Opposition MP said.

Last week, the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) condemned the use of force by the Guyana Police Force to break up the protest by the residents.

Disheartened by the treatment meted to the residents with the aid of the State, the Human Rights body questioned the motive of the actions by the Police.

The Government has been silent on the issue, while describing it as a private matter. The Opposition MP said the Government has been showing no concern for the displaced residents.

“I think there is overwhelming evidence that this is a government that really has no concern for poor people in Guyana, and unless you fall into that category of friends, family and favourites, as we say, justice is not yours. I went to the Timehri Station on Friday afternoon, and I was told flat out by the officers in charge that I couldn’t see these people, they couldn’t give me an idea as to what they were being held on, and I am a Lawyer, and a Member of Parliament, and so could you imagine, the ordinary man, what they must face at the hands of a system that doesn’t seem to accommodate people who don’t have means,” she said.

The demolition was carried out by the private developer after he was granted an order by the Court, allowing him full access to the land.

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