Carl Parker and other members of the PNCR subsequently returned to the building
Carl Parker, a member of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), was on Wednesday charged with the offences of threatening behaviour and damage to property.
The charges stem from his recent confrontation with a contractor over his party’s alleged illegal occupation of a State-owned property (building and land) in Lethem, Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo).
Despite being sent several notices by the government to vacate the property, the PNCR has refused to remove from the building which it occupies for political purposes. The property falls under the purview of the Regional Democratic Council (RDC).
A statement from Police Headquarters said that Parker, a 59-year-old unemployed man of Lethem Agriculture Zone, Hiowa Creek in Central Rupununi, appeared at the Lethem Magistrate’s Court. It is alleged that he used threatening behaviour towards Dale Kennedy, a 51-year-old contractor of Tabatinga, Lethem on Saturday, March 4, at Lethem.
The charge was laid contrary to Section 141 (a) of the Summary Jurisdiction Law (Offences) Act. After pleading not guilty, Parker, the former Regional Executive Officer (REO) of Region Nine, was released on self-bail by Principal Magistrate Allan Wilson.
In addition, Parker, along with Godfrey Williams, called “Cut Mouth”, a 55-year-old miner of Tabatinga, was also charged with malicious damage to property committed on the Government on March 4. That charge was laid contrary to Section 160 of the Criminal Law (Offences) Act. They were both granted $30,000 bail each after denying this charge. Both matters have been adjourned until March 23.
However, the PNCR, on Wednesday, issued a statement expressing the party’s displeasure over the charges. “The PNCR strongly condemns the arrest and the charging by the Lethem Police of Carl Parker and other of its regional party officials”.
According to the political party, the arrests and fictitious charges are in connection with the criminal destruction of its Lethem office by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) REO Karl Singh and the efforts by Parker and others to legitimately defend the property rights of the party.
Furthermore, the party has vowed to oppose these latest PPP manoeuvres legally and politically.
The Government property is located opposite Boston Street in Lethem, Central Rupununi. According to a statement from the Police, Region Nine’s current REO, Karl Singh, made a Police complaint about Parker and associates obstructing the region’s work on the building.Parker is accused of attempting to chase away a contractor, Dale Kennedy who was working on the building under a contract from the regional administration.
“On March 1, 2023, at about 23:50 hrs, Police ranks in Regional Division #9, acting on information, went to the Government building where they met (REO Singh) and six men. The REO indicated to the ranks that he had given the six men permission to enter the building and take off the roof since the building belongs to the Region and it was tendered for infrastructure work to be done.
“The contractor completed the task of taking off the roof at about 01:25 hrs on March 2. At about 02:30 hours that morning, a motor pickup bearing licence plate # GRR 1100, driven by Carl Parker, and minibus bearing licence plate #BYY 755, driven by George Nicholson, arrived at the area where they started to ‘video’ the building. The contractor Dale Kennedy and two of his workers were inside the building at the time,” the Police explained in the statement.
It is further alleged that members of the PNCR subsequently came and broke off the locks for the property. The REO also said the Opposition party was served with notices to vacate the building on several occasions.
This publication understands that for decades, the PNCR has been occupying the building in question as its Lethem office – for political purposes – despite the property being owned by the State under the purview of the RDC.
The Government has, since last year, repeatedly notified the Aubrey Norton-led party to vacate the premises, since it has intentions to use the site to construct a health facility to serve the people of Region Nine. And with the PNCR refusing to comply, the Government has moved to demolish the building.
After a thorough probe into REO Singh’s report, the Police forwarded a file to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) which recommended that the pair be charged.