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|On the Linden situation - Combination of political adventurous and criminal elements at work -President Ramotar|
|Sunday, 12 August 2012 21:03|
PRESIDENT Donald Ramotar said what is going on in Linden at the moment is political distortion and maneuvers using all kinds of elements to destabilise the situation in the mining town.
The Head of State said that the it is a combination of political adventurous and criminal elements, who are out to make money off people who wish to pass through the area to go about their business in the mining locations. As a result the President has renewed his calls for the security forces to clear the roads of all blockades so that there can be free movement and passage through the community.
The President’s comments were made while addressing the launching of the eighth Berbice Expo and Trade Fair at the Albion Sports Complex in Berbice last Friday.
Mr. Ramotar said that while the administration is aware and regrets that the situation got worse with the slaying of three young men, he said that this should not be seen a reason for persons to take advantage of the situation as is clearly being done and fuelled by “a force’.
The Guyanese leader said that “the Force” is contributing to the destruction of the community and is damaging its reputation as a place and destination for private sector development and more so national development and investments.
Mr. Ramotar said that what has been ongoing on Linden for the past three weeks, are persons who have been blocking roads and extorting monies from miners, affecting economic development of people in the mining sector and the forestry sector. He added that the private sector in mining is also affected by the actions of this small group.
The President stressed that it is the same “force’ that has been misrepresenting the facts and distorting information as it relates to the electricity situation in Linden. He noted that the genesis of the Linden electricity issues started when the production of alumina ceased some years ago thus Linden was no longer enjoying “actual” cheap electricity since that was possible due to the excess heat from then alumina production hence the government was forced to subsidised the electricity for the community to prevent any sudden hardship on the residents there.
The President said that the cost for all that cheap electricity that the community receives is now being subsided by the government and that when the PPP came into office in 1992 it needed to find resources to restart the bauxite operations and as such decided to take over the two hospitals that were being run by the bauxite company as well as the generation of electricity. He said that situation has over the years become unsustainable. He said that with the cheap electricity rates the community enjoyed, it effectively discouraged conservation in the usage of electricity.
The Head of State said that while the administration realises that the argument is being made about the economic situation in Linden it is not the only community with economic problems. The President made mention of Saint Ignatius in the Rupununi where residents are even poorer than those in Linden but still pay their electricity bills. He said that it was because of the economic situation the government made it clear from the inception that the tariff increase was going to be increased gradually and even provided the option of reducing the initial amount if the residents had indicated that it was too high to start with.
Mr. Ramotar also slammed “the force’ for launching a campaign that is aimed at criticising the operations of the Berbice River Bridge and the amount that vehicles are being asked to pay to cross the bridge. He said that the same people behind the campaign fail to remember, the hours it took to cross the Berbice River with the steamer as compared to the minutes they are now taking with the bridge in place.
He said that it was the government that had to find the money fund the bridge because of the failure of the international community to fund the project adding that the government worked out a model where there was combination of the private sector and government participation and institution to make the project a reality.
According to President Ramotar, the bridge administration came up with a model of determining the cost to cross the bridge and the calculation was simple. He said that bridge officials calculated the cost of five persons in a car to cross with the ferry and that was used by the company to come up with the price.
The President said that the Bridge has now allowed for the development in Region Six (East Berbice/Corentyne) to be comparable with that of Georgetown. He said that it contributed to development of communications and transportation in the region.
Mr. Ramotar also spoke to the US$200 M that was invested by the government to build a new and modern sugar factory at Skeldon. The Head of State said that while he will admit that there are problems with the factory at the moment, those will be fixed sooner than later and it will be able to deliver and become a flagship in Region Six.
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