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Copyright ©2014 Parliament of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana.

Death and Death by Violent Means

Hits: 3411 | Published Date: 30 Jul, 2012
| Speech delivered at: 26th Sitting- Tenth Parliament
| Speech Delivered by : Hon. Joseph Hamilton, MP

Mr. Hamilton: Let me begin by saying the issue in Linden, regarding the killing of three persons on the Wismar-Mackenzie Bridge, is not politics for me or political rhetoric because I had family on the bridge. As I speak, I have siblings who live in Linden, part of my young life I lived in Linden, so the issue in Linden and the aftermath of the killing of the three persons are not politics or political rhetoric. It might be politics and political rhetoric for many political leaders, but the same way how the families of the three young men got word that they were killed, perhaps I and my family could have got those same words because, as Lindeners were protesting, as I said, I had families also in Linden who were protesting the hike of the electric tariff.
The motion as presented by the Hon. Leader of the Opposition, for me, I have no difficulty with the  first resolve clause and do not think that any Guyanese or any Member in the National Assembly would have a difficulty with it calling for the condemning of the killing of the three persons. The tragedy that we are debating and we are condemning - sometimes when there is  a situation we must pay attention as to how we got to the bridge and part of how we got to the bridge - in my humble opinion, is that  I recall during  the budget debate the National Assembly was held up for some hour and a half and we were told by the Speaker of the House that we were waiting for the negotiators to return, that is, negotiators from the PPP/C Government and negotiators from the main opposition party, APNU. When the negotiators returned I recall the Prime Minister standing up and he read a statement as to what was negotiated and what the state of the negotiations was. In the presentation he made he indicated that there was as discussion about the raising of the tariff in Linden and further he went on to state that the parties concern were in agreement, as regards the raising of the tariff. The only difficulty I recall him saying was the timing and how the tariff structure will go forward. The negotiators on the APNU side were sitting in this National Assembly and neither the Hon. Leader of the Opposition, nor Hon.  Member Mr. Carl Greenidge, or anyone of the other persons who were in the negotiation, stood up to say what the Prime Minister stated was untruth; that was not the state of the negotiations.
The statement indicated that the two parties which were discussing the matters surrounding the budget, old-age pension and the tariff and other issues, there was an agreement and, as I said, the Opposition did not object to the statement made by the Prime Minister.
The AFC, which was not in those negotiations, we will recall, took the position that it was betrayed and took the position that the Hon. Leader of the Opposition and APNU had sold out the Lindeners and from that day and that time all hell broke loose as regards the tariff. Before the Alliance For Change comments, especially by its Chairman, Mr. Ramjattan, hell was not taking place in Linden. It was after the AFC accused the APNU of selling out the people of Linden and indicating that they were betrayed because the opposition party, APNU, had sought to get involved in discussion with the budget matters with the AFC being involved.
Mr. Speaker, you would note that I hit a chord. Subsequent to Mr. Ramjattan comments, Mr. Granger and Hon. Member Dr. Roopnarine ran up to Linden to try to gain ground, tried to explain the position and the situation because the Lindeners were told that the Hon. Leader of the Opposition and APNU had sold them out.
What there is presently in Linden is a fight for the heart and soul of Linden and Region 10. There are two battles. One was completed last evening but there is another battle still reaching. The battle in Linden is the Alliance For Change trying to fight for the heart and soul and the votes that it had lost and APNU seeking to retain…     [Mrs. Backer: Is that the motion?]       Yes. It is the motion.
We must recognise that the situation in Linden goes beyond the tariff because, as you know, last night I saw two of the chief protagonists in Linden on the television and they took the position… [Mr. B. Williams: You and Odinga.]       No. One David Hinds and Frederick Kissoon and they took the position that the protest and the activities in Linden must be exported to Georgetown and all across the country. They took the position that we must push the Government in a position whereby there is a Government of national unity established and therefore it is not just about tariff. The issue is beyond that. That is the reason why in the presentation of the Hon. Leader of the Opposition he indicated that the motion is not all about politics. I submit that the second resolve clause is all about politics. The resolve clause calling for the head of the Minister of Home Affairs is all about politics.
This, as I see it, is an attempt to, after the protest comes to an end, and the protest must end, try to establish and set a limb in place for another protest. That is what this second resolve clause is all about. It is putting in stage an activity and that activity will be called “Rohee must go”. Mr. Speaker, this afternoon I stand here to say to you that last Wednesday we heard the chant that “Rohee must go.”
Well today, Monday, as I speak, the chant is, “Rohee must stay!” because the Resolve clause is attempting to open a political door. It is attempting to, as I said, create different conditions as articulated by one Dr. David Hinds and Mr. Freddy Kissoon. They want this to graduate into something further than Linden, away from Linden, encompassing the whole country and seeking to either have a government of national unity or as some commentators on the opposite side have said, “We are attempting to seek to bring the Government down.”
Mrs. Backer: Mr. Speaker, on a Point of Order, is Mr. Hamilton, who is well known to be on record in this House as supporting a government of national unity, now saying that he no longer supports such...
Mr. Speaker: That is not a Point of Order. That is a matter that could be rebutted by the speaker coming next. You can send your notes to Ms. Selman to rebut Mr. Hamilton.
Mr. Hamilton: Mr. Speaker, what is happening is that apparently I am striking the right chords. That is creating the excitement.
As I said, the Hon. Attorney General dealt with the constitutional and legal aspect of the matter. I am attempting to paint the big political picture and the big political picture is not just Rohee, the big political picture goes beyond the Hon. Minister of Home Affairs.
I recall in the early stages, the next day or so after the killings of the three persons on the Bridge, that the call was not just for the Hon. Minister of Home Affairs to go, but also for the Prime Minister to go.
Hon. Member Mr. Felix spoke earlier about the fact that he is going beyond the present situation in Linden and he is paying attention to the series of failures of Minister Rohee. If one came from space, he or she would think that the Hon. Member Mr. Felix was not situated anywhere around these failures. If one arrived through satellite in Guyana, lived nowhere in this universe, he or she would believe that the man, Hon. Winston Felix, who was speaking, was not situated anywhere in the failures that he was articulating. The fact is that during most of the period the Hon. Winston Felix talked about the failures, he was the Commissioner of Police under the Hon. Clement Rohee.
Mr. Felix: I proceeded on leave on the 24th July, 2006. I think the elections were held in either July or August. I was not there. My last Hon. Minister and really Hon. Minister was Ms. Gail Teixeira.
Mr. Speaker: On a Point of Clarification, I believe it is under Standing Order No. 38 that a Member is allowed to clarify. You did give a litany of what you said; I believe you used the phrase “a litany of failures”. You spoke of Lindo Creek. You spoke of Lusignan. You spoke of Bartica. You spoke of the mutilation of the young man, Twyon Thomas, at Leonora. Did all of those occur after you demitted office, Mr. Felix?
Mr. Felix: That is correct.
Mr. Speaker: Hon. Members, take note that all of the matters Mr. Felix spoke about in his litany of failures, as he described them, occurred after he demitted office as Commissioner of Police.
Ms. Kissoon: Mr. Speaker, before the Hon. Member continues, he gave information that the confusion broke out in Linden after the announcement by the Prime Minister of an agreement. However, I would like this Hon. House to know that on Wednesday 18th April, 2012 before this announcement or statement was made by the Prime Minister, there was a shut down in Linden and before that there were public meetings and protests after the Minister of Finance announced the increase. I would like to make this clear to the Hon. House.
Mr. Speaker: That I allow as well as a Point of Clarification that the unease did not commence post the pronouncement by the Hon. Prime Minister. Thank you. Proceed Mr. Hamilton.
Mr. Hamilton: Mr. Speaker, as I was saying, the motion as presented, the first Resolve Clause, I have no difficulty with. It is the second Resolve Clause that I have a difficulty with because of the political nature. This is because, as I said earlier, is all about politics. It is seeking not just to deal with Minister Rohee; it is seeking to deal with the Government and it goes beyond the issue that presently is in Linden as regards the tariff.
I indicated that the genesis of the situation in Linden started after an intervention by the Alliance For Change (AFC) and most especially Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan. As we look forward beyond today and tomorrow in Linden and in Region 10 as to what we will do, I would want to think that one of the Resolve Clauses would have been how the National Assembly...what recommendations we can bring forward, how we can support the discussions as regards the economic development of Linden, as regards the issue, as the President indicated, the team of persons to study the implementation of the tariff and such like. I cannot and will not support the second Resolve Clause because it is all about politics. It is all about getting to an end as articulated by one David Hinds and Freddy Kissoon. They are very much involved in the activities in Linden; they are giving leadership in Linden.
I support the first Resolve Clause and taking it as I see it I say that I am strongly opposed to the second Resolve Clause. Thank you very much.

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