The People’s National Congress Reform condemns the wanton shooting and brutal killing of innocent citizens of Linden yesterday, Wednesday 18th July 2012, by the PPP/C Government controlled elements of the Guyana Police Force while these citizens were exercising their guaranteed Constitutional rights by engaging in a peaceful demonstration at Linden. The Party conveys its deepest condolences to the wives, children and relatives of those killed and also expresses sympathy to the many who are now suffering from the injuries caused by the indiscriminate shooting. The Party also wishes to convey its appreciation to the medical personnel who are now rendering needed assistance to the injured.

The Citizens of Linden, through their legitimate representatives, have been calling on the PPP/C Administration to review the draconian increases in electricity rates that were arbitrarily introduced a few weeks ago. These increases are already causing severe hardships to the citizens of that community. The PPP/C, instead of yielding to sensible and responsible discussions with the legitimate representatives, choose to arrogantly display their power by proceeding with the increases and ignoring the pleas of the citizens, which included their few remaining supporters in that community. Stung by their colossal defeat at the polls in this Region, the PPP/C embarked on a campaign of harassment, discrimination, and undue punishment of the citizens of Linden. Their demonstrated lack of concern for the plight of the citizens of Region Ten, particularly, Linden, who have been suffering the effects of a depressed community with the absence of economic activity and job opportunities, must also be condemned.

The electricity tariff at Linden is not a privilege to its citizens, but a legitimate right earned by their forbears who struggled against odds in difficult conditions to build and develop the Bauxite Industry for more than a century. The deprivations that they were forced to suffer and the health hazards they endured, such as the toxic dust nuisance, were not borne by Guyanese elsewhere. The right to reasonable electricity rates was not, therefore, a concession, but a benefit earned after long and difficult negotiations by the leaders of that Community. The PPP/C Administration labors under the belief that they can arbitrarily remove this earned benefit of the people of Linden without consultation, discussion or negotiation. In this process they have sought to set strife between the citizens of Linden and other parts of Guyana through the misuse of the state media and the peddling of false information. The PNCR is certain, however, that the people of Guyana will not be deceived.

President Donald Ramotar and his Government have refused to respond to the proposal and request of the Chairman and other legitimate representatives of the people of Region Ten. The President has adamantly refused to respond to the requests of the Leader of the Opposition and Chairman of A.P.N.U. for an urgent intervention. Consequently, the people of Linden had every right, as guaranteed by the Constitution of Guyana, to peacefully express to the Government their concern over these draconian increases. The PNCR reiterates its solidarity and support for the people of Linden as they seek to resist the unconscionable imposition of higher tariffs. Any attempt by the PPP to criminalise peaceful protest must be rejected by all Guyanese. The solution to the Linden crisis lies in the creation of jobs, the end to discrimination, the involvement of the people of Linden in the making of decisions that impact their lives and the end to the vindictiveness that characterizes the Ramotar regime’s approach to Linden.

The misuse of the Guyana Police Force by the PPP/C Administration is not new. The PPP/C sent to Linden the same ranks that shot the A.P.N.U. marchers in December 2011 in Georgetown. It is abundantly clear that those ranks went to Linden to repeat what they did in Georgetown a few months ago: Shoot indiscriminately to kill and maim citizens in the expectation that this will solve the problem. The PNCR puts the PPP/C on notice that it will not stand idly by and allow these excesses to continue without redress.

The PNCR is calling on the Guyana Police Force to institute murder charges against the Commander of “E” and “F” Division for being responsible for giving the orders to murder innocent and unarmed civilians. This rogue policeman who is a good friend of Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Clement Rohee must be made to face the full impact of the law. This officer who spent all of his life at the Tactical Service Unit (TSU) is steeped in the art of the use of unlawful force. The choice to place him in Linden at this sensitive time is a clear indication that the Government intended to use lethal force and to murder Lindeners. It should be recalled that this officer, Mr. Hiken, was fingered in the torturing of soldiers.

The PNCR calls for the immediate resignation of the Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Clement Rohee. He is just as guilty as Mr. Hiken and should also be charged with murder. Reliable sources in the Guyana Police Force have confirmed that the Minister was giving direct instructions to this rogue cop and is, therefore, responsible for the murder of innocent citizens.

The PNCR notes the arrogance and virtual stupidity of Prime Minister, Mr. Samuel Hinds whose mismanagement of the electricity sector and his unwillingness to engage the stakeholders in Linden is responsible for the existing situation in Linden. Prime Minister, Mr. Samuel Hinds must take full responsibility for what is occurring in Linden.

The PNCR also demands the setting up of an impartial inquiry into yesterday’s murders. We demand that the control of the Guyana Police Force be returned to the Commissioner of Police and the immediate removal of the Minister of Home Affairs office from Police Headquarters, Eve Leary.

The Party also demands that the President and his Administration immediately suspend the unwarranted increases in electricity rates at Linden until responsible discussions and negotiations are held with the legitimate representatives of the citizens.

The PNCR calls on the people of Linden to maintain their resolve and not allow the recent incident to out the fires of their legitimate struggle for survival. The just struggle must continue until the PPP/C Administration comes to its senses and seriously addresses the current problems being faced by the citizens of Region Ten, particularly, Linden. The Party will also maintain its solidarity and support with A.P.N.U. in any and all initiatives taken at this time in defence of the rights of the citizens of Linden.

People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia
Georgetown, Guyana
Thursday 19th July, 2012

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