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Rise Hairouna promises continuing protests

Rise Hairouna promises continuing protests
Protestors on the picket line say that they are speaking out against social injustices

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Protest action continued in Kingstown for a second consecutive week even as charges were laid against those allegedly associated with the Cornelius John shooting incident.

Rise Hairouna, organisers of the protests, have taken to the streets to speak out against social injustices they have recognised in St Vincent and the Grenadines, with one of the main focuses being John’s shooting.

Government Senator Ashelle Morgan, and Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Karim Nelson, were charged in association with complaints made by John, a resident of Diamond, while John himself has been also charged in relation to complaints made by his wife.

It was announced this week that Morgan, who is also the Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly, has been granted one month’s leave pending the outcome of the matter.

But even with these recent developments, protesters are still calling for justice to be served. 

“She asked for a month off from sitting in Parliament. Now man come on, should she have to ask for that? Should she?

Where are the persons we have put in place to oversee these things and ensure that Vincentians get the justice that we require?” Nikeisha Williams, the spokesperson for Rise Hairouna said from the picket line on Tuesday.

“And then you’re going to charge this woman with everything else but trespassing? Was she there invited? She was not invited on the man’s property so what is this nonsense that the DPP has put out there?”

Since the matter was made public where it is alleged that the senator threatened John after he was shot, persons have been calling for Morgan’s removal from the House and for charges to be laid.

Williams told the media that the group was initially satisfied when they heard that charges had in fact been laid against the senator, but that satisfaction waned when they learned of the charges she received.

“We would’ve consulted with our legal team who explained to us, just exactly the route in which the DPP is about to take and this person, they would have some privy to this because they are lawyers. They’ve been in the courtroom for umpteenth years, so they know, they are aware of the route that these things often take,” she said.

Morgan was charged with assault with the intent to commit wounding in respect of a complaint by Cornelius John, while Nelson, the Deputy DPP, was charged with wounding and unlawful discharge of firearm in respect of complaints made also by Cornelius John.

A flyer promoting this week’s protest notes that the senator “must be charged the same as Karim because she acted in concert”.

It also listed criminal trespassing and grievous bodily harm as charges the group believes should be laid against Nelson, Morgan and a third unnamed individual who is said to have also been on John’s property at the time of the incident.

“So, we are not satisfied, we are not satisfied with the man, who allegedly, they’re alleging that he threatened his wife but she was not there. When questioned before, she said she and her husband had no row, so what exactly are you talking about? All of a sudden, you did have a row? When did that happen? So, was she lying then or was she lying now?,” Williams asked.

“We would love to know how this is going to go and we are not taking any chances. We want justice for Mr John and that is the only thing we seek at this moment, but there are many of the issues which we are standing against here today.”

The Rise Hairouna’s spokesperson said she believes that the repercussions of this matter have the potential to set a dangerous precedent, which Vincentians cannot allow to happen.

She said the aim of the protests is to educate the masses and let the government know that it is not an issue that will go away because “there are Vincentians who still care about justice and equality in St Vincent and the Grenadines”.

Williams said Rise Hairouna has intentions of going out into different communities, meeting and having a conversation with the people about the issues affecting the country.

She also said protests will continue for as long as it takes for justice to be served in this matter, and the other issues of social injustice are addressed.

It is likely that a protest will take place on Tuesday, July 6 during the next sitting of Parliament which was initially set for June 29.