Death and Death by Violent Means2804 30 Jul, 2012
Mr. Neendkumar: I believe in the Olympic movement and today being the third day of the thirtieth Olympiad I think that we should stand by what the Olympic movement believes in, and that is in peace – no fighting, no war.
I am quite certain that comrades know that we grew up in the struggle in this country and we have the passion to say things the way they are said. I have marched with Mr. Trotman from Buxton Railway Line to Georgetown. I have seen many struggles. A tear came to my eyes when Mr. Rodney was killed and I could talk about the Enmore martyrs and what the father of the nation was inspired by, but I choose to stick by the peaceful way today.
I am deeply disappointed and I am grieving from the loss of innocent lives during Wednesday, 18th July, 2012, protest by Lindeners that turned deadly. The genesis of the process came about because of the administration’s effort to put the entire country’s electricity consumers on an equal and appropriate tariff paid by all Guyanese. The Hon. Prime Minister, Mr. Samuel Hinds, had collaborated with the leader of APNU, Mr. David Granger and Dr. Roopnarine to craft a letter which was read in this National Assembly during the deliberations about an arrangement to begin the reduction of the subsidy for Linden. Both of them supported the Prime Minister’s position on the issue.
Leader of the Opposition [Brigadier (Ret’d) Granger]: On a Point of Order, did the Hon. Member say that we supported something?
Mr. Speaker: Is it that you supported the motion?
Brigadier (Ret’d) Granger: Did we support something the Prime Minister did?
Mr. Speaker: Please put the context of that statement, Mr. Neendkumar. Is it by silence, non-objection?
Mr. Neendkumar: Nobody corrected it when the Prime Minister read the statement. The Prime Minister showed both of them the statement. The Prime Minister read it and none of them stood up to correct it. [Ms. Ally: Who is “them”?] It is the Hon. Members.
Mr. Speaker: I think by “them” he meant the parties in the Opposition.
Mr. Neendkumar: Despite the criticisms levelled against the Government about the increased electricity tariff to Linden, Lindeners and the Government could have negotiated and a compromise could have been arrived at that, which would have been mutually acceptable to all. We could have had a compromise. I want to assure all of the people of Linden that President Donald Ramotar and his Government are working assiduously to resolve the situation in Linden. The truth will be revealed and all Guyanese will learn about the circumstances surrounding the shooting of the protestors. It was indeed unfortunate; however, those who are really responsible must be brought to justice. I want to join with the Prime Minister and call on the Commission of Inquiry, when it is set up, to get on with its work so that all Guyanese will sooner than later be aware of the truth.
Today, while we mourn the loss of three lives, we also have to live the reality that the burning of Linden Mining Enterprise (LINMINE) Secretariat is a tremendous loss to the bauxite industry. All the research and the rich documented history of the industry have all been lost. In this process I am quite certain that the situation and the economic situation in Linden will suffer. The burning of the excavator and backhoe, which have being used to lay the pipes for residents of Linden to receive potable water, was a disgrace. The persons who did this must be aware that they are responsible for the further sufferings of Lindeners. The burning and wanton burning of the PPP’s office in Linden was vindictive. In this modern world there was no need for that to take place. The truth will be a revelation. It was all cheap politics.
President Ramotar and his Government are working to design the actual process to:
(i) Be adopted by both sides towards ending the electricity subsidy to Linden and
(ii) Planning of the Commission of Inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the shooting to death of persons during the protest
We, the Members in this honourable House, must be fully cognizant of the fact that the meetings with the Government and the Opposition and stakeholders in Region 10 are cordial; the consultation and dialogue are also encouraging. I am not happy to let the people of Linden know that the call centre at Linden, which was the first of its kind in this country, is not operating. The facility provided bread and butter for more than one hundred and twenty-five young people. I urge that good sense prevail so that this centre can start operating very soon. BOSAI is not functioning, as usual. RUSAL is under unnecessary pressure, its workers cannot function easily. The agricultural and forestry sections are unable to function, to say the least.
Under all these very unfortunate circumstances the people in Linden are under very severe pressure. Their homes are without basic items to prepare meals for their families; children cannot get medical attention. We must understand that our citizens of Linden are under severe pressure and now is not the time for people to play politics. Let us sit and have dialogue. Let us solve the problem now.
A properly constituted Commission of Inquiry must also examine the relationship between the Minister of Home Affairs and the Guyana Police Force. In this regard, an examination and an interpretation of Section 7 of the Police Act, Chapter 16:01, is a prerequisite. At an engagement between the President and the joint Opposition it was agreed that the Commission of Inquiry will be established; that the term of reference will be jointly crafted to ensure that it is broad enough to cover the relevant facets of the incident; that the Commissioners will consensually be selected; that the time within which the Commission will commence and conclude its tasks will be agreed upon; that it will be financed through a supplementary request which will be laid in the National Assembly and supported by all of the parties.
Mr. Clement Rohee is a senior Minister in this country. He is a man of high moral integrity, hence, no one should be allowed to pre-empt, prejudice or undermine the processes of the Commission of Inquiry. I call on all of us in this Assembly and all honest and peace loving fellow Guyanese to let us work together for Guyana where we could live in peace and harmony.
I honestly feel that in view of all the dialogues and deliberations between the Government and the Opposition we should support the motion as amended by the Hon. Prime Minister.
Thank you. [Applause]
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