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|President says… LINDEN VISIT STILL ON CARDS, BUT RESTORATION OF ORDER A PREREQUISITE|
|Sunday, 12 August 2012 00:15|
PRESIDENT Donald Ramotar has not reneged on his promise to meet with residents of the bauxite town in Region 10 that is today the scene of animosity, antagonism and destruction since opposition-backed protest actions against the imposed electricity tariff hike
almost one month ago turned ugly.
“I was always ready to go to Linden,” President Ramotar told Chief Executive Officer (ag) of NCN Michael Gordon in an exclusive interview at State House yesterday.
The visit was scheduled for July 28 but had to be postponed after protestors defied orders by the Joint Services for calm and efforts to clear the thoroughfare of logs, and other objects used as blockades.
A meeting was scheduled on the lawns of the Watooka House that day that would have engendered meaningful and candid dialogue that some argued would have brought an end to the ongoing tension in Linden.
“I did not go to Linden because I thought that it is very important to have the roadway free so that people can move back and forth freely to do their business before I go into Linden myself,” President Ramotar explained in the interview.
The blockades by protestors had spawned demands for exorbitant fees as protestors held commuters to ransom, robberies and vandalism of motor vehicles transporting fuel and other products to other villages and communities beyond.
Communities in Regions 7,8 and 9 are bemoaning the curtailed supply of goods and services while fuel prices have been inflated. Stakeholders in the mining sector are also crying out and the private sector is calling for a swift resolution to the problem.
Some elected leaders of Amerindian villages were delayed at Linden on their journey to the National Toshaos Council (NTC) meeting and were forced to make a detour from their usual travel route after being denied passage.
“I am ready to go to the Lindeners as soon as the roads are clear and every Guyanese can use the roads and to go about their business in a free way,” President Ramotar stated.
Members of the security forces in the area acting on orders to clear the passage in their continued efforts to restore order in the town but, during their most recent attempt on August 10, fires were set to more buildings in retaliation.
Many are of the view that factions foreign to Linden are infiltrating the protest, with their reprehensible acts to keep the ruling government under duress.
The President pointed blame to sections of the media and opposition politicians for propagating misinformation on the issue.
“The leader of the opposition got up in Parliament… and made a statement about teargas being used at Linden and firing… and then there was another set of news from Demerara Waves, internet radio and the social media jumping into the situation,” President Ramotar said.
The opposition political parties have only recently joined the call for calm in Linden after being silent for quite some time on the issue, but were highly critical of the government, leading many to question whether they are for or against what is being played out.
The death of three and the destruction of property when police and protestors clashed on July 18 prompted a commission of inquiry into the incidents.The terms of reference for the inquiry have been agreed at talks between the government and the leadership of the Region 10 administration and opposition political party members.
The government undertook to put on hold its proposal for a phased implementation of the electricity tariff hike and the appointment of a committee to review all dimensions of this issue and to recommend options for a resolution of the problem.
The President feels that residents of the town are not privy to such facts and that the absence of wise leadership and the involvement of all stakeholders have further exacerbated the problem.
|Last Updated on Sunday, 12 August 2012 00:16|
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