Calls widen for Georgetown Mayor to resign, spark protest- Mayor accuses Government of ignoring burning issue related to the New Market Street Vendors

Mayor of Georgetown, Ubraj Narine

Mayor of Georgetown, Ubraj Narine, is accusing the Government of diverting attention away from the pressing matter while facing calls for his resignation from the People’s Progressive Party over a question he posed in support of the rights of vendors who he said were being treated unfairly.

Protestors of the Government calling for Narine’s Resignation

On Monday night, as vendors along New Market Street in Georgetown were being forcibly removed by police officers and representatives from the Ministry of Public Works, the visibly frustrated Mayor questioned whether President Irfaan Ali was attempting to create a nation that was exclusively devoted to one religion.

He then surmised that President Ali’s refusal to consult him on issues involving the city of Georgetown was due to the fact that he was of a different religious background.

Narine denounced the actions of Juan Edghill, Minister of Public Works, who gave his approval for the sellers to be ejected from spaces they were occupying in front of the Georgetown Public Hospital.

In objection to the Mayor’s utterances, scores of PPP/C supporters demonstrated outside the Georgetown Mayor and City Council on Tuesday afternoon, demanding the immediate resignation of Narine. They said that the Mayor was trying to use his words to incite racial and religious animosity among Guyanese.

“Hate speech is a crime and I hope the Ethnic Relations Commission is watching and will respond accordingly. The Mayor has to resign now because we cannot tolerate this. Our country is growing exponentially, he cannot divide us through religion or race,” prominent activist, Don Singh told They Break News.

Activist, Don Singh

A group of supporters of the Mayor formed a protest line on the other side of the road and shouted that he should stay in his current position while the Government protestors continued to call for Narine to resign from his position.

Opposition Member of Parliament, Nima Flue-Bess, in favour of the Mayor strongly argued that he is innocent.

“The Mayor is not going anywhere. He rightfully stood up for the people as a leader, he did nothing wrong,” the MP asserted.

Opposition Member of Parliament, Nima Flue-Bess

Narine delivered a public apology after recognizing the effect his remarks had on some sections of society.

He emphasized, during a telephone interview with They Break News, that the Government should pay more attention to the problem than the remarks themselves.

“Our problem is how the Government is operating in the city. There is a Mayor, a Deputy Mayor and a Council, let us not divert the issue to religion at this point,” he said.

The Private Sector Commission has also joined calls for Narine to resign, while the Guyana Islamic Trust has described his statements as utterly irresponsible.


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