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|Gov’t fulfil commitment to August 2 completion of TORs -- despite opposition lagging behind|
|Sunday, 05 August 2012 21:16|
-says Region 10 Chairman needs to be honest with Lindeners
THE Guyana Government has fulfilled its commitment to have the Terms of Reference (TORs) completed by August 2 to enable the Commission of Inquiry to commence its work into the deaths of the three Linden protestors.
But despite this, opposition members have been dragging their feet on the issue and have to date not completed their part, according to Presidential Advisor on Governance, Gail Teixeira, during a panel discussion, “Issues in the News” on the National Communications Network (NCN) Saturday. Minister of Legal Affairs and Attorney General Anil Nandlall was also on the panel.
On the issue of the Commission of Inquiry, Ms. Teixeira stated that while the government and A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) agreed to have an international presence, but not an international commission, the AFC has since voiced its disapproval.
Thus far, the government has presented the TORs for the technical team which will look at the electricity matters and tariffs in Linden, as well as the economic initiative, to opposition members and Linden representatives to be reviewed.
“Both the draft ideas were sent for Linden, but to date, we have not received their contributions in relation to those drafts, nor have they put forth their own,” she said.
Among the many areas, the TORs would see a review of existing provision and consumption of electricity, including its history; consideration of alternative arrangements to provide electricity; a proposition of schedule stage of increase in tariff over a period of three years in a six month step and advantages and disadvantages of integration into the grid.
According to Teixeira, while proposals in the agriculture, services, natural resources and community development sectors were submitted by the government for development in the mining town, no response has since been forthcoming from the opposition members.
“It is almost two weeks that we have discussed this with the opposition and Linden representatives…they did not commit to doing that, they said they needed more time. We have kept to our commitments, unlike them,” Teixeira pointed out.
The private sector, since the initiation of the protest, has played an integral role in arranging the meeting, but was yet treated in an undignified manner by members of the opposition and Linden epresentatives and was asked to leave the sit-in.
Teixiera remains adamant that the regional chairman is not being too honest with the people of Linden, on discussions and commitments made by President Donald Ramotar. He has since reneged on a promise to have regional stakeholders present during meetings on the way forward.
“Mr. Solomon was clearly told by the president to bring the regional stakeholders, business, religious and women groups, and he walked with exactly the same team at the next meeting; and when asked where were the regional stakeholders, he said he didn’t quite understand the request,” she pointed out.
“The regional chairman also claimed that he had no knowledge about the president visiting Linden on Saturday, July 28, but yet he was the one that called me and advised us not to let the President come because of the manner in which the protestors were behaving,” she said.
A similar meeting is planned for August 6 at 16:00hrs and the Head of State and government remains hopeful that this time the regional stakeholders will be present, so that the full discussion will be reported to the Linden community.
Nandlall stated that the TORs have undergone detailed scrutiny before a final formulation, and maintains that the government would opt for locals to be on the Commission of Inquiry, due to the fact that there are sufficient numbers of qualified personnel in Guyana.
However, while the Supreme Court library has already been identified as the venue for the inquiry, the commission members have not yet been identified as the AFC remains insistent on having an international presence.
“They are speaking to the press more than they are speaking to us. We are reading their interpretation and actions as they unfold as inconsistent as they are with our engagements…we are gathering all their no answers on their part based upon their publications. They are the ones who were critical of us that we are moving at a slow pace and when we presented the Terms of Reference, they said they didn’t know anything about it,” he said.
Minister Nandlall maintained that the government’s aim is to have the Linden protest issues resolved in an amicable way, as the region doesn’t operate in isolation.
Since the July 18 event, endless efforts have been made to resolve the issue without success, and the planned visit by the Head of State visit to Region 10 to have it sorted out once and for all, and despite public announcements of his intention, the visit was thwarted as protestors refused to clear the roads.
“Unfortunately, there are extremists who are blocking the road and collecting toll; all these things are illegal. Every person under the constitution has a right to move freely...we have one State, Government and Police Force, and laws that apply to all equally. The fact that they are using the situation to cut off vital supplies is unfortunate,” he said.
This move by disgruntled protestors, according to Nandlall, is threatening the survival of many Lindeners in riverine areas, as vital supplies have since been cut off.
Speaking on the recent discovery by the Guyana Police Force which stated that the pellets from the shotgun were not those used by the police, Teixeira stated that the move to say that the police were responsible, before the Commission of Inquiry has commenced, was intended to create mayhem.
She stated that since the July 18 tragic event, the National Assembly has played the judge, jury and executioner and has since called for the removal of the Home Affairs Minister.
“Whilst we have people from the AFC and APNU who are saying that the police did it and they don’t trust the police, at the same time we can’t trust them to do an inquiry either, so the Commission of Inquiry is to be put it into the hands of persons who are trusted by all sides,” she said.
The Chief Whip, in her closing remarks, also described the opposition’s no confidence move as “absolutely duplicitous.’
|Last Updated on Sunday, 05 August 2012 21:18|
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