Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn today urged members of the Disciplined Services to remain professional and maintain peace, as he condemned recent statements by Working People’s Alliance (WPA) Executive Member, Tacuma Ogunseye, who in referencing to the ethnic make-up of the Joint Services, urged that Guyanese rise up against their oppressors.
In delivering the keynote address during the opening ceremony of the Guyana Prison Service’s Senior Officers Conference at the Guyana Police Force’s Training Centre, Minister Benn said in light of the recent statements, members of the Discipline Services might be having doubts about their roles, but they must remain part of the plan to increase the peace and the security of Guyana.
“We’ve had the experience; We’ve had experience, and I don’t think I have to go beyond perhaps the 2002 jailbreak, which resulted in grief still in the country. I think in relation to that, we had a death of a prison officer and serious injuries to one lady, who died last year. But it resulted in untold suffering in communities, unrest, disorder, and dysfunctionality, which in many instances still resides today, because for some people, the political discourse must only reside in division, in breaking up, in insults, in disrespect for ourselves, and this Guyana that we have,” the Home Affairs Minister said.
On the side-lines of the Prison Officers’ Conference, Minister Benn warned that should the statements made by Mr Ogunseye and other members of the WPA found to be seditious, they will be held accountable.
“These calling outs, which they have made, these insinuations, these suggestions, these open calls to misadventure and distress, I want to condemn them in the strongest terms, and in condemning in the strongest terms, I am saying while we are having legal reviews of them, they appear to me to be frankly seditious, and if they are found to be seditious the law will take its course,” the Home Affairs Minister said.
Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton, in breaking his silence over the controversial statements, said while the words uttered by the WPA official were “badly chosen,” the statement came from a place of frustration due to the current state of affairs in Guyana.
But Minister Benn said in a democratic society such as Guyana, there are resorts in the Parliament and the Judicial System.
“We cannot have persons, who would want to call out in a democratic environment, where there is a Parliament, where there are courts. There are resorts in the Parliament, there are resorts in the Legal System, if any person or any organization feels aggrieved rationally with perceptions in relation to governance and what is the make-up of things, how things are being worked at, there is representation in the Parliament, and there is also, the courts, the legal system,” he said.
The Home Affairs Minister said the Government will not allow persons to “vicariously” call one set of people to attack another set of people, or to suggest persons who have arms in a formal Discipline Service to turn those weapons against the State or their fellow Guyanese.