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1. Granger holds stakeholders forum in Linden – April 22, 2012 2. Linden should get TV licences immediately – Granger, April 30, 2012 3. Ramotar not getting the best advice – Granger, July 13, 2012 4. Granger calls again for economic recovery plan for Region 10 – July 16, 2012 5. Granger reiterates APNU‘s four-point plan for Linden – July 17, 2012 6. Granger renews calls for solution to Linden economic woes – July 17, 2012 7. APNU condemns police killings in Linden – July 19, 2012 8. In the wake of Linden deaths, Opposition blasts use of ―excessive force‖ – July 20, 2012 9. Deadly Linden protests … APNU, PNCR urge inquiry – July 20, 2012 10. Granger disappointed with police‘s handling of Linden unrest – July 22, 2012 11. Granger meets Diplomats over police killings in Linden – July 22, 2012 12. Rohee‘s appointment should be revoked – Granger, July 29, 2012 13. Politicians acknowledge slain Linden trio as ―martyrs‖ – August 2, 2012 14. Slain Lindeners laid to rest … Monument to be erected – Granger, August 2, 2012 15. Linden trio given moving farewell – August 2, 2012 16. Granger urges Lindeners to continue their fight – August 2, 2012 17. APNU eyes Caribbean jurists for Linden probe – August 3, 2012
18. Opposition Leader visits injured Lindeners – August 6, 2012
19. APNU hopeful Linden talks will be finalised by weekend – August 7, 2012 20. Granger pledges support for Linden – August 20, 2012 21. Lindeners start reconstruction of burnt school – August 20, 2012 22. Linden pact paves way for more TV stations in community – August 21, 2012
Granger reiterates APNU’s four-point plan for Linden Kaieteur News, July 17, 2012 Economic crisis in the Upper Demerara-Berbice Region. Speaking at a ‗four-corners‘ public meeting in Wismar on Saturday night, Brigadier Granger repeated his four-point plan to deal with the issue of the electricity tariff hike. He called on President Donald Ramotar to meet right away with the Regional Democratic Council and other stakeholders of Linden; to commit resources to implement a serious economic recovery programme; to introduce a menu of measures to address the environmental, broadcasting, health and other problems plaguing Region 10 and to cancel any increase to the electricity tariff in Linden. Brigadier Granger further called on the PPP/C administration to acknowledge that there is an economic crisis in the Region. He emphasized that A Partnership for National Unity will continue to show solidarity with Lindeners and will demand that the Central Government not proceed with the hike in electricity rates. APNU condemns police killings in Linden Stabroek News, July 19, 2012 C Springer A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) condemns the police killings in Linden and has written to the Speaker of the National Assembly requesting an emergency sitting of the Assembly to address the Linden crisis, it said in a press release today. The text if the press release reads: ―APNU unreservedly condemns the unprovoked police assault against unarmed, peaceful protesters. The partnership has extended condolences to the relatives of the three men who were shot dead in Linden on Wednesday 18 July. More than two dozen other persons were injured, some of them seriously. ―High level APNU representatives, including Brigadier David Granger, have seen victims of the police shooting and it is evident that both pellets and live ammunition had been used indiscriminately. There was no evidence that adequate warning was given to the protestors to disperse. It is clear that the Linden protest was a peaceful and lawful assembly and there was no attempt by the police to adhere to the principle of minimum force. APNU holds the PPPC administration wholly responsible for the murderous attacks on citizens exercising their fundamental constitutional rights. APNU calls on the President, Mr. Donald Ramotar, to immediately cease the security forces‘ aggressive operations against unarmed residents and to suspend the officer-in-charge and the ranks alleged to have been involved in the shooting. A Partnership for National Unity calls for an independent, judicial inquiry into the shooting and observes that, had the call for an inquiry into the December 6th shooting of unarmed protesters been heeded, this atrocity in Linden may have been avoided.
APNU reiterates that it will continue to show solidarity with Lindeners and will demand that the Central Government not proceed with the hike in electricity rates. ―In the present climate, APNU calls for restraint on all sides and urges Lindeners to maintain the focus of their peaceful legitimate protest. ―APNU condemns the government‘s use of the state-owned National Communications Network to inflame an already tense situation and calls on the President Donald Ramotar, who has Ministerial responsibility for Information, to urge responsibility and not exploit this tragedy for political advantage.‖ Granger disappointed with police’s handling of Linden unrest Guyana Times, July 22, 2012 In wake of the shooting to death of three Linden protesters, Opposition Leader David Granger on Wednesday met with members of the diplomatic corp to express his disappointment of the actions of the Guyana Police Force. Speaking with the ambassadors of the U.S., EU, Canadian and Britain, Granger said the unarmed Lindeners were peacefully protesting on the Mackenzie/Wismar Bridge on Wednesday, when the three men were killed and two dozen were injured. ―The Linden protest was a peaceful, lawful and civil assembly and the police response was aggressive, calculated and provocative.‖ A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) representatives Dr Rupert Roopnarine, Deborah Backer, Winston Felix and Joseph Harmon, who were also present, said ―both pellets and live ammunition had been used indiscriminately on the victims of the police shooting. The APNU team had also venting its concern at the obvious lack of preparation or lack of intention by the police to use minimum force by employing batons, shields and water cannon‖. The coalition reinforced its calls for an independent, judicial inquiry to be launched into the killings, noting too that Central Government should engage in face-to-face dialogue with the Region 10 administration. In response to these concerns expressed by the APNU, the diplomats offered to explore the possibility of soliciting assistance from international organisations and foreign countries to support an independent inquiry into the killings. Following the shootings on Wednesday night and the burning of buildings and vehicles, the diplomatic representatives had advocated for the leaders to initiate talks to work out their differences. In a release on Thursday, the diplomatic core was quoted as saying, ―We appeal to all parties and stakeholders to work together in a spirit of national unity to prevent any further violence and to resolve current tensions through an open and inclusive dialogue.‖ The diplomats had also expressed condolences to the families and friends of the three men who lost their lives and the protesters who suffered injuries as well.
Granger meets Diplomats over police killings in Linden Kaieteur News, July 22, 2012 Leader of the Opposition, Brigadier David Granger, met Western diplomats on Friday to brief them on Wednesday‘s killings in Linden. The diplomats – US Ambassador D. Brent Hardt, EU Ambassador Robert Kopecky, Canadian High Commissioner David Devine and British High Commissioner (acting) – were told that A Partnership for National Unity condemned the killing of three men and the shooting of more than two dozen other unarmed, peaceful protesters in Linden on Wednesday. The other APNU representatives, Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine, Ms. Deborah Backer, Mr. Winston Felix and Mr. Joseph Harmon, told the diplomats that both pellets and live ammunition had been used indiscriminately on the victims of the police shooting. The APNU team expressed its concern at the obvious lack of preparation, or lack of intention, by the police to use minimum force by employing batons, shields and the water cannon. The Linden protest was a peaceful, lawful and civil assembly and the police response was aggressive, calculated and provocative, they said. A Partnership for National Unity initiated the call for an independent, judicial inquiry into the killings and called for face-to-face dialogue between the central government and the regional administration. APNU welcomed offers by the diplomats to explore possibilities for assistance from international organisations and foreign countries to support an independent inquiry into the killings. Ramotar not getting the best advice – Granger Kaieteur News, July 13, 2012 - APNU pickets at OP over Linden electricity tariff hike By Gary Eleazar Brigadier (ret.) David Granger, Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition, would like President Donald Ramotar to urgently meet with, and engage the people of Linden on the issue of the electricity tariff hike. The Opposition has been arguing that any increase to the tariff in Linden has to be accompanied by a menu of measures to address the economic plight of the Region 10 community. Granger has upped the ante, in what he calls A Partnership for National Unity (APNU)‘s solidarity with the plight of Lindeners and yesterday staged a picketing exercise at the Office of the President (OP). Scores of APNU supporters lined the Vlissengen Road entrance of OP bearing placards, as well as an effigy meant to represent Lindener, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, in a coffin. Granger in a brief interview with this publication said that he does not want the matter to become a political one, given that the people of Linden ―can articulate for themselves.‖ He said that ―We are here to show solidarity with the people of
Linden….We are here to call on the Central Government to not proceed with the hike…We are here to call on the President, personally, to sit down and speak with the Regional Chairman and other officials of Region 10, so that a consensual solution can be found to this crisis.‖ According to Granger ―there is a crisis,‖ and he reminded that the people of Region 10 are all against the increase. ―We are here to demand that there should be urgent attention to the economic development of the entire region.‖ In seeking to express his optimism on a way forward, Granger says that he does not believe that all avenues have been exhausted. ―Ramotar should be flexible enough to sit down and speak with the Lindeners and people of Region 10, and listen to what they are saying.‖ The Opposition Leader says that he does not believe that President Ramotar ―is getting the best advice.‖ Granger says that he does not believe that the Head of State is aware of the seriousness of the crisis or ―the resistance of the people of Linden and Region 10.‖ ―There is an economic crisis in the Region….I am convinced that there is too much unemployment there…..There is too little industrial or manufacturing development. If Central Government changes its attitude, the money can be provided.‖ ―My advice to him (Ramotar) is to sit down with the people of Linden… this can be done within an hour….by Saturday morning we could be reading good news,‖ said Granger ―but he (Ramotar) needs to hear what the people of Linden are saying.‖ Granger was adamant that the problem facing Region 10 and Linden is ―not something superficial…it is fundamental to the welfare and wellbeing of the people of Linden and Region 10.‖ The APNU Leader suggested that should the President be flexible enough to ―just sit and speak with the representatives in the region he would get a different impression…There is more to the crisis than the President is being told.‖ He was clear to point out that in taking the course of action they are in solidarity with the region, ―we don‘t want to pretend to be brokers…it‘s a Central Government and Regional Government matter…we don‘t want to politicize it.‖ Granger was adamant that between the Central and Regional Government it can be addressed. ―I don‘t want political parties to make this a political issue and jump on the bandwagon shouting political slogans.‖ Granger calls again for economic recovery plan for Region 10 Stabroek News, July 16, 2012 Head of APNU David Granger has called again on the government to implement a comprehensive economic recovery plan for Region 10 and to cancel the power tariff hike which has been implemented as of July. His office issued the following statement today: ―Chairman of A Partnership for National Unity, Brigadier David Granger, has renewed the call for a solution to the economic crisis in the Upper Demerara-Berbice Region.
Speaking at a public meeting a ‗four-corners‘ in the Wismar community on Saturday night, Brigadier Granger repeated his four-point plan to deal with the issue of the electricity tariff hike. He called on President Donald Ramotar: - to meet right away with the Regional Democratic Council and other stakeholders of Linden; - to commit resources to implement a serious economic recovery programme; - to introduce a menu of measures to address the environmental, broadcasting, health and other of problems plaguing Region 10; - to cancel any increase to the electricity tariff in Linden. Brigadier Granger called on the PPP/C administration to acknowledge that there is an economic crisis in the Region. He emphasized that A Partnership for National Unity will continue to show solidarity with Lindeners and will demand that the Central Government not proceed with the hike in electricity rates.‖ Granger renews calls for solution to Linden economic woes Guyana Times, July 17, 2012 A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) Chairman David Granger has renewed his call for a solution to what he deems an ―economic crisis‖ in the Upper Demerara-Berbice region.
APNU Chairman David Granger meets residents of Wismar
At a recent meeting held at ―Four-corners‖ in Wismar, Linden, Granger repeated his four-point plan to deal with the issue of the electricity tariff hike in the mining town. He called on President Donald Ramotar to meet with the Regional Democratic Council and other stakeholders of the mining community to commit resources to implement a serious recovery programme for the region, to introduce a menu of measures to address the environmental, broadcasting, health and other problems affecting Region 10 and to cancel any increase to the electricity tariff in Linden.
Granger told the residents that the APNU will continue to show solidarity with Lindeners and demand that central government not continue with the hike in electricity rates. Granger holds stakeholders forum in Linden Kaieteur News, April 22, 2012 … denies agreeing to any hike in electricity rates Leader of the Opposition, David Granger along with Rupert Roopnaraine last evening met with members of his party and major stakeholders in the mining town of Linden at a stakeholders meeting to clarify ‗certain misconceptions‘ that were being peddled about A Partnership for National Unity ―selling out‖ to the PPP with regards to the electricity tariffs proposed for the community. In an emotionally charged atmosphere, residents packed the Len conference room to hear from the ‗horse‘s mouth‘ whether APNU had indeed sold them out. Granger said that he made the trip to Linden after discussions with the Region Ten Chairman, Sharma Solomon and Regional members of Parliament Vanessa Kissoon and Rennison Morian. They had expressed concerns about the line taken by the PPP administration, particularly as expressed by the Prime Minister in the National Assembly on Thursday, in which he made a certain statement. Granger said that many people in Linden felt that the statement was prejudicial to their best interest, and subsequently voiced their concerns. He however noted that it is the policy of APNU to ensure that there is no attempt to increase the tariff of electricity without dealing with the fundamental problems affecting the people. ―So we had met with the PPP side to ensure that the interests of Lindeners and Region Ten residents generally were put on the table. ―So we did not agree to the proposal which is in the budget, for the increase in electricity rates. What we agreed to was the commencement of an economic programnme to relieve the poverty and other problems in Region Ten. And it is only after those problems are solved that we would pay attention to increasing rates. We made it quite clear that we were concerned with the welfare of the people in the region.‖ Granger said that he was pleased with the two sessions in Linden, one on NCN, and the other at the stakeholders conference, where he sought to clear the air. But some Lindeners are still skeptical and they voiced their concerns about many issues. Some said that they are prepared to take action with or without the support of the APNU. Many issues were raised, including the numerous promises with regard to economic development, which persons contend remain just promises. Mention was made of the promise to resuscitate the Alumina plant, and the still to be completed deep water harbour. During the heated discussions Regional Chairman Sharma Solomon said that Lindeners have themselves to blame for a lot of the problems they face, ―because we put our future
in the hands of people, when we should take our future in our own hands.‖ Solomon later confessed in an exclusive interview with Kaieteur News that he is cautiously optimistic about a freeze in the proposed tariff increase, and what will result from the presentation by the Minister of Finance. ―But I have been given the assurances by the leadership of the APNU that they have not committed themselves to bring further hardship to the people of Region Ten. And I think that is the core issue that we‘re discussing because an increase in tariffs will bring further hardship on the people. ―We‘ve advanced a position to them that this matter should be taken completely off the table, and to only be discussed further maybe in the next two years, after the preliminary issues that were already on the table, such as jobs and the monopoly on the TV station, and all the other issues would have been addressed in a fundamental way.‖ Since the reading of the budget presentation by Dr Ashni Singh, Lindeners have been becoming increasingly perturbed over the proposed electricity hike. Several protests were later staged with the most recent on Wednesday. Tempers flared as many persons had vowed to burn anything green, after reports circulated in the mining Town that APNU had conceded to the implementation of increased tariffs. Deadly Linden protests … APNU, PNCR urge inquiry, resignation of Rohee Kaieteur News, July 20, 2012 As the fallout continues from Wednesday‘s events at Linden that led to the death of three persons, a number of diplomatic missions in Guyana have called for dialogue to prevent further violence. According to a joint statement by the local Diplomatic Representatives of Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, the three countries regret the tragic loss of life. ―We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives or suffered injury. We appeal to all parties and stakeholders to work together in a spirit of national unity to prevent any further violence and to resolve current tensions through an open and inclusive dialogue.‖ Parliamentary Opposition, A Partnership For National Unity (APNU), and the People‘s National Congress Reform (PNCR) have also come out condemning the police shooting at civilians who were protesting a hike in the electricity rates for the Region 10 community. APNU yesterday described the incident as an unprovoked police assault against ―unarmed, peaceful protesters‖. More than two dozen persons were injured, some of them seriously, APNU reported. ―High level APNU representatives, including the Leader of the Opposition, Brigadier David Granger, have seen victims of the police shooting and it is evident that both pellets and live ammunition had been used indiscriminately.‖ APNU disputed a police claim that adequate warnings were given to the crowd of protestors who were blocking a bridge connecting Wismar and Mackenzie.
―It is clear that the Linden protest was a peaceful and lawful assembly and there was no attempt by the police to adhere to the principle of minimum force.‖ APNU said that it holds the PPP/C administration wholly responsible for the ―murderous attacks‖ on citizens exercising their fundamental constitutional rights. ―APNU calls on the President, Mr. Donald Ramotar, to immediately cease the security forces‘ aggressive operations against unarmed residents and to suspend the officer-incharge and the ranks alleged to have been involved in the shooting.‖ Inquiry needed APNU, a coalition of 10 political parties that contested the November 28, 2011 General and Regional Elections, also called for an independent, judicial inquiry into the shooting, and drew reference to the December 6, 2011 shooting of unarmed protestors by police ―APNU reiterates that it will continue to show solidarity with Lindeners and will demand that the Central Government not proceed with the hike in electricity rates.‖ The alliance, in calling for restraint, urged Lindeners to maintain the focus of their peaceful legitimate protest. ―APNU condemns the Government‘s use of the state-owned National Communications Network (NCN) to inflame an already tense situation and calls on the President Donald Ramotar, who has Ministerial responsibility for Information, to urge responsibility, and not exploit this tragedy for political advantage.‖ The PNCR, which is one of the main parties in APNU, in echoing that alliance‘s sentiments, insisted that the tariff increases, implemented from July 1, are already causing severe hardships. It repeated accusations that the tariff increase was linked to the election loss of the region by the ruling PPP/C. President Donald Ramotar has adamantly refused to respond to the requests of the Leader of the Opposition and Chairman of APNU for an urgent intervention, the PNCR said. Job creation ―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 party called 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. The PNCR also called for the immediate resignation of the Minister of Home Affairs and criticized Prime Minister Samuel Hinds for mismanaging the electricity sector. ―The PNCR also demands the setting up of an impartial inquiry into yesterday (Wednesday)‘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.‖ Three persons were confirmed dead and several others were injured as Police opened fire in Linden on the
first day of a planned five-day protest against electricity rate hikes. In the wake of the deaths, Joint Services ranks have been sent to the town in efforts to maintain calm. Slain Lindeners laid to rest … Monument to be erected in their honour Granger Kaieteur News, August 2, 2012 By Jenelle Carter As sunrise greeted the mining town of Linden yesterday there was a somber mood, as what would have been an Emancipation celebration turned out to be the day the community buried three of their loved ones. By the end of the day it was established that a monument would be erected in their honour at the Wismar shore. At the break of dawn, the remains of Shemroy Bouyea, Ron Somerset and Allan Lewis left the mining town for the Square of the Revolution where they were met by a large gathering for a viewing. As the procession made its way back to Linden, the massive crowd thronged the Wismar/Mackenzie Bridge, the very site at which the men lost their lives. While there was very little police presence throughout the area from Amelia‘s Ward to Wismar, there was a relatively heavy army presence. Persons braved intermittent rainfall as they came out in their thousands to bid farewell to what many referred to as their ―fallen heroes‖ and ―martyrs‖. Dark clouds hung over the mining town through the afternoon‘s proceedings which began a little behind schedule at around 14:30 hours. Once the precession made its way to the Wismar Bridge the crowd grew rapidly, with almost everyone dressed in black, white and red in solidarity with the families of the three men who were shot dead by police on July 18 during a protest over the hike in electricity tariffs. As an arm of the People‘s National Congress made their way onto the Wismar shore they held hands singing popular hymns such as ―It is well with my soul‖ and ―Amazing grace‖. Among the special invitees and dignitaries present were Leader of the PNC/R, Retired Brigadier David Granger, Party Chairman Basil Williams, Alliance For Change Member Nigel Hughes, APNU‘s Dr. Rupert Roopnarine, PNC/R member Aubrey Norton, PNC/R Parliamentarian Vanessa Kissoon, Christopher Ram, Lincoln Lewis and Mayor Hamilton Green, among others. Pastor Ander Marks was the Chairperson for the stirring occasion which was at times interrupted by rain. The funeral service commenced, with soloist, Winston Caesar, singing an appropriate rendition for the occasion ‗Redemption song‘. While this was being sung, loud wailing could have been heard as the caskets bearing the men‘s remains arrived. Soon after, representatives from each of the bereaved families were allowed to read a scripture reading of their choice, followed by the large gathering being invited to sing the ever popular funeral rendition ‗What a friend we have in Jesus‘.
The most moving part of the sermon was at the point where the relatives of the slain men were called to eulogise them. Ivan Lewis‘s two sons, Rodwell and Orlando, reflected on their years being raised by their father whom they said was a very hard working man who always taught them to stand up for what they believe in. The young men recollected their childhood days with the man they now call their hero. They encouraged their fellow Lindeners not to sit by and let their father‘s death be in vain. Ron Somerset was described by his family as a ―very driven young man with a bright future ahead‖. Though orphaned, it was stressed that he was raised by relatives who did their best to ensure he had a sound education. Having completed his schooling in the mining town, Somerset was said to be very enthused about computers and versed in the Information Technology field. While not much was said of Shemroy Bouyea, he was well known in the community and though physically challenged, he was described as someone who was always willing to lend a helping hand to persons he came into contact with. The continued call for Justice Meanwhile, continued calls for justice echoed throughout the large gathering, and in varying ways by the persons paying tribute. In his most distinct tone, prominent Attorney-at-law Nigel Hughes stated emphatically, ―I will make one pledge; I pledge to you that this event will not pass unnoticed and I say to you, no justice no peace‖. Working People‘s Alliance Representative Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine started off by expressing his heartfelt condolences to the families. ―We came here today on Emancipation Day of all days to celebrate the life of three martyrs of the Guyana revolution, and those who celebrate indeed have something to celebrate, as July 18 was the day Lindeners were self-emancipated.‖ Roopnaraine lamented that the events of that day will always be remembered for those who ―fell to the guns of the sharpshooters‖. ―They have not died in vain. What we know about martyrdom is that the blood of martyrs only strengthens struggles, it doesn‘t weaken them. When the innocent blood fell on the ground that day it gave strength to people of Linden.‖ People‘s National Congress Reform Chairman Basil Williams reiterated the call for the people of Linden to stay strong and to continue the struggle. ―We will exhort all our energy to see that you get justice, and we don‘t just say justice, but we will ensure it, suffice to say for now, weeping may endure for the night, but joy cometh in the morning.‖ Monument Opposition Leader David Granger also made a revelation with respect to one way in which the dead would be honoured. ―We, the PNC/R, will build a monument (at the Wismar shore). This will be the mark where police brutality will stop. I was here and I saw the wounds on the bodies and I knew from my own military experience that it was deliberate and murder. We will continue until you get what you get what you deserve. We will not relent; we will not give up. We are working with civil society and your
leaders… those who will refine humanity and refine the dignity of Linden. The struggle of the martyrs will not be in vain.‖ Christopher Ram called for Guyanese to unite and put aside race when it comes to fighting for one‘s basic rights. ―I speak as a Guyanese of Indian descent to remind my fellow Indians to join in solidarity. What should matter to us is not the ethnicity, but the identity of those who give the order and those who pull the trigger. Let us not be silent.‖ Ram added that ―the perpetrators of the events of July 18‖ should be brought to justice, as Guyanese should learn to remove the ethnic lens when a community is in struggle. ―Let us see today as a another defining day in which we finally decide what our constitution permits us to do, and that is to forge a system of governance that promotes consorted efforts and broad-based participation in national decision-making in order to develop a viable economy and a harmonious community based on democratic values social, justice, fundamental rights and the rule of law.‖ Regional Chairman Sharma Solomon also reiterated the call for the struggle to continue until their demands are met. ―My brothers and sisters, today, we the people of Linden along with other concerned Guyanese are gathered here to send three of our heroes home. In their names Shemroy Bouyea, Ron Somerset, Allan Lewis, and the names of those who have been shot or suffered pain from July 18, 2012, we are going to renew our commitment to the movement for justice.‖ Solomon pointed to the fact that many tears have been shed and this was expected, since it is only human nature. ―But even as we cry and feel sadness we must remember that these young promising Lindeners Shemroy, Ron and Allan, laid down their lives for each of us, and Linden must honour their martyrdom beyond tears, sadness and speeches.‖ He called on Lindeners not to forget their heroes. ―The Linden 2012 Martyrs – Shemroy, Ron and Allan – must be memorialised in all that we do, their memories at the forefront of our movement. Unarmed, yet shot in their backs, chest and heart must drive us to demand justice for them and for Lindeners, we must continue to demand that this government treat Linden with respect.‖ ―As you grieve, do not forget that they are there to say to the Donald Ramotar administration and to the members of the Armed Forces that their violence will be met by determination to be free from oppression, marginalisation and an uncaring, brutish regime, that spawns, embraces, unleashes and protects murderers. ―We are here to send a message to all who believe that they can shoot us down like game in the forest. Know that Lindeners are prepared to turn the eyes of the world on Guyana. The blood of our brothers Shemroy, Ron and Allan and 20 others shot and injured has soaked the soil of Linden and they must be given justice.‖ ―We demand justice, we owe this to the memory of our Linden 2012 Martyrs, their loved ones, our children and future generations.‖ The Chairman also emphasised to Lindeners to stand as one and not be divided by race, class, political persuasion or any other diversity that they have no interest in. ―We have collective pain, collective suffering, and we are responding as a collective to
say that justice must be ours… Some say our movement for social, economic and political justice lacks guidance, that we have no leader.‖ As the Chairman closed his address to the gathering at nightfall, the procession having said a prayer made their way from the Wismar shore to the Bamia cemetery where the final rites were administered and the slain men laid to rest. As the procession made its way through the mining town, back to Bamia, persons manning the roadblock were seen quickly removing the blockades to allow the smooth flow of traffic, but replacing them soon after. In the wake of Linden deaths … Opposition blasts use of “excessive force” Kaieteur News, July 20, 2012 - Govt. orders removal of Commander, agrees to Commission of Inquiry “It is very clear to my mind that excessive force was used which is contrary to the training doctrines and the rules of engagement of the Guyana Police Force.”- Granger
President Donald Ramotar and a team of government officials in talks with opposition party members from A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance for Change (AFC) on the Linden situation.
By Leonard Gildarie As Linden remained tense yesterday following Wednesday‘s police shootings of Linden protestors that left three dead and several injured, government has agreed to establish a Commission of Inquiry. There was widespread condemnation yesterday of the shooting and an under-pressure government, through the Ministry of Home Affairs, last night announced that it has given orders for the removal of the Police Commander in the area. Yesterday, opposition parties joined calls that police used excessive force by firing on a group of protestors on the Kara Kara bridge Wednesday evening. Yesterday, President Donald Ramotar met with representatives of both A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For Change (AFC), where it was agreed for the special commission to investigate the shootings. But the opposition parties said that no clear concrete agreements were reached with the President and the Region 10 community remained ―ready and committed to continue their fight for justice‖.
The AFC has since indicated that it is not happy with the fact that there is no consensus on an international input into the commission. According to the Home Affairs Ministry last evening, it has requested of the Commissioner of Police (ag) a ―full, comprehensive, and immediate report on the matter‖. ―The Ministry of Home Affairs wishes to emphasize that the events which took place at the McKenzie-Wismar Bridge was strictly a Police operation with no direct or indirect involvement of the Ministry of Home Affairs.‖ The Ministry said it understands that work has already begun on the said report. ―However, much depends on the speedy arrival of the bodies of the deceased in Georgetown to allow for the post mortems to be conducted by the competent medical authorities.‖ Commander’s removal The Ministry said it fully supports the call and the decision by the Administration to establish a Commission of Inquiry (COI), with an international dimension yet to be determined. ―As an integral part of the Administration, the Ministry of Home Affairs stands ready to cooperate with the Commission when it is established and in keeping with the agreed Terms of Reference.‖ The statement also said that the Minister of Home Affairs has issued general and specific directions to the Commissioner of Police (ag) to effect immediate changes at the command level at E & F Police Division, of which Linden is an integral part. The Ministry also warned that the Joint Services will continue with their patrols in an effort to maintain an environment of peace and calm and good order at Linden. During a press conference yesterday, APNU‘s leader, Brigadier David Granger described the shooting as the worst tragedy for the year. ―It is very clear to my mind that excessive force was used which is contrary to the training doctrines and the rules of engagement of the Guyana Police Force.‖ Also at the media conference were APNU‘s Rupert Roopnaraine, Joseph Harmon, Winston Felix, Vanessa Kissoon and Region 10 Chairman, Sharma Solomon. ―Moves are now underway to draft the terms of reference under which would direct the operations of the COI…this process could be completed as early as today,‖ Harmon asserted. Granger said that while APNU members were part of the ―peaceful‖ protesting on Wednesday, it was all an exercise by Linden citizens and involved representatives from the religious and business sectors of that Region 10 area. He blasted the State media for sowing mischief by suggesting that the actions were APNU and AFC. $37M water cannon On the use of force by police, Granger, a former army chief, insisted that there are clear instructions about its use which should allow protesting citizens an opportunity to obey. There are no immediate injuries to police ranks that would necessitate the shootings at the protestors. The fact that several persons had metal fragments from live rounds removed from their bodies suggested a situation of wanton, excessive force, the Opposition Leader said.
Winston Felix, a former Commissioner of Police, also blasted the police and questioned why the much-touted $37M water cannon was not taken to Linden even though police had been given ample notice of the intentions by Lindeners to protest. In addition to that, the absence of batons and shields to control the crowds was also questioned, with emphasis being placed on how prepared the ―riot‖ police really were. It was pointed out that the evidence of ―graduated force‖ from warnings to tear gas to rubber bullets was definitely absent, as well as police administration, and the opposition opined that the lawmen now ―have blood on their hands‖. According to Dr. Roopnaraine, the meeting with the President dealt specifically with security and not too much on the tariff issue. However, a proposal to have a moratorium on the rates hike did not meet with immediate agreement by the Presidential party. The Region 10 Chairman Sharma Solomon was of the belief that the shootings of protestors were acts of aggression by the police. ―Based on the rules of engagement, there was no minimum use of force (here), but the use of maximum force.‖ Premeditated shooting He claimed that the shootings were premeditated since Lindeners were being threatened by the police and their homes being ―scoped out‖ prior to the start of the protest on Wednesday. He said that he and Vanessa Kissoon met with President Ramotar and his team separately yesterday where demands were also made for the immediate removal of ‗E and F ‗Commander Clifton Hicken, and an independent and international inquiry, to have a clear understanding of events surrounding the shooting. ―This is not a struggle against the people of Linden but a struggle by the people of Linden.‖ Solomon argued that it is not unwillingness by Lindeners to pay a rate hike in electricity but an inability to pay. During the meeting with the President, the Region 10 Chairman also discussed improvements for Linden, including issues of employment, economic measures like the Linden/Lethem road, and reforms to electricity. Last night, Linden was set to hold a candlelight vigil with preparations to bury its dead. Solomon was of the opinion that the shootings were tantamount to a ―massacre‖ and ―premeditated‖. Yesterday, the AFC in a release on the meeting with the President, said that having due regard for the safety and security of all citizens and especially those in Linden at this difficult time, it entered the discussion in good faith to restore normalcy to Linden and to address immediate steps to investigate the killings. The party said it tabled four recommendations which included the appointment of an Independent Commission of Inquiry with international agency representation and involvement and a ―Good Officer‖ to manage the process.
Rohee’s resignation? It also included the immediate removal of Commander Hicken and ranks involved in the incident, the resignation of the Minister of Home Affairs, Clement Rohee, and a moratorium on the imposition of the rate hike pending a review by a panel of experts. ―This review should include an assessment of the operational costs of BOSAI as well as the impact of these rate hikes on the poorest by way of a means test. The panel‘s report should be presented to all stakeholders within 6-8 weeks.‖ According to the AFC, the people of Guyana have lost all confidence in the police. ―It was clear to the AFC that the government was not willing to take on board any of these measures, referring instead to the establishment of a group that would produce Terms of Reference for an inquiry but not guaranteeing international input.‖ The AFC noted that this approach it considered to be another ―talk shop‖ that could lead nowhere. ―It was clear that the other two parties seemed willing to get into ‗bilateral arrangements‘ on this issue.‖ The AFC said that there were attempts to turn Wednesday‘s events into a political football with racial underpinnings. ―These senseless killings have placed a further stain on Guyana that is no less severe than earlier killings at Lusignan, Bartica, Lindo Creek and the killing of Yohance Douglas, if we are to recall just a few.‖ Yesterday also, the Office of the President said the recent tragedy in Linden, Region 10, has created much anguish and led to a determination by the Office of the President to uncover the details of the incident. ―The impact of the loss of lives and injuries to others, the destruction of private and public property, and, the trauma being experienced by the community has led President Donald Ramotar to engage in a series of meetings with stakeholders.‖ OP said it remains committed to have a full investigation. The AFC was represented at the meeting by Raphael Trotman, Speaker of the National Assembly; Cathy Hughes, Nigel Hughes and Gerhard Ramsaroop. APNU was represented by Granger, Roopnaraine, Harmon and Felix. Present at the ―tripartite‖ meeting for the government were President Ramotar, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, Dr. Roger Luncheon, Gail Teixeira, and Ministers Clement Rohee and Robeson Benn. Rohee’s appointment should be revoked – Granger Kaieteur News, July 29, 2012 Leader of the Opposition Brigadier David Granger led the debate on a motion of noconfidence in Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee in the National Assembly on Wednesday night. Granger‘s motion arose out of the killing of three unarmed persons – Shemroy Bouyea of Wismar Housing Scheme, Ivan Lewis of Wismar Housing Scheme and Ron Somerset of Amelia‘s Ward – who were killed by the police at Mackenzie, Linden during a peaceful protest on Wednesday July 18, last. Granger stated that the National Assembly, in accordance with the doctrine of ministerial responsibility, requires that every Minister be held accountable and be made
to accept responsibility for the performance and behaviour of his or her Ministry. He argued, therefore, that if the Police Force performs in a manner so egregiously incompetent that the Administration is likely to be brought into ridicule or contempt, the Minister must resign if his conduct undermines public confidence in his ability to hold high office with competence. Granger pointed out that the Minister of Home Affairs himself said: ―tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons could have been used to restore order; however, live rounds is a deadly response that is not catered for nowhere [sic] in the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), in a situation such as this….‖ This statement was an admission that the police acted in contravention of police training doctrine, with particular reference to the control of crowds, Granger said. The Minister of Home Affairs decided to use his authority only after the shooting. This was clear from a Ministry statement which read, inter alia: ―… the Minister of Home Affairs has, within the meaning of the Police Act Ch 16:01, issued general and specific directions to the Commissioner of Police (ag) to effect immediate changes at the command level at E & F Police Division of which Linden is an integral part.‖ Granger therefore called on the National Assembly to condemn the killing of three persons and the injury to several others by the Guyana Police Force in Linden and to express its complete lack of confidence in the ability of the Minister of Home Affairs to discharge his responsibility for public security. He called for the immediate revocation of Rohee‘s appointment as a Minister of the government and his dismissal from office. Politicians acknowledge slain Linden trio as “martyrs” Kaieteur News, August 2, 2012 Hundreds gathered yesterday in the shadows of the 1763 Monument at the Square of the Revolution in the city to pay their respects to the three men who were shot and killed at Linden during a protest staged over electricity tariff hikes in the mining town. The Square of the Revolution was the site chosen to commence what would eventually be an entire day of solemn observances which would conclude in Linden. African drumming, passionate speeches from various members of the joint opposition, and finally a viewing of the bodies served somewhat as a funeral service for those who were unable to travel to Linden for the official ceremony and final rites. Present at the Square of the Revolution were numerous Lindeners who were also injured during the shooting. One victim, Michael Roberts, recounted his experience to the large gathering. He eloquently recalled the incident that almost ended fatally for him. The man, who gave his alias as ―Culture Man‖ disclosed that he was shot in the jaw and the bullet exited through his mouth. The description brought a gasp from the crowd. The proceedings were cheered by A Partnership for National Unity (APNU)‘s Lurlene Nestor. Speeches and condolences were offered by Opposition Leader David Granger, Dr. David Hinds, Basil Williams, Nigel Hughes, Moses Nagamootoo and Fredrick Kissoon.
Granger in his address asserted that the day was not one that should facilitate politics or talks about the hike in electricity tariffs. ―It is a day to mourn the death of our slain brothers.‖ He urged for the day to also be peaceful and for the crowd to acknowledge Emancipation Day while focusing on the country‘s loss. David Hinds encouraged the gathering to become organized. He expressed the notion that ―if organized, the masses can achieve way more and will be well on their way towards justice.‖ Hinds said that for that to be achieved, ―all must be involved‖ even the churches; and together ―we will fight for our rights.‖ Alliance For Change executive member Moses Nagamootoo excited the crowd as he delivered his remarks. He was adamant that the Minister of Home Affairs, Clement Rohee ―must go,‖ to which those gathered roared their approval. He cited previous incidents of failure on Rohee‘s behalf which included the December 6, incident where a number of protesters were shot with rubber bullets during a ―peaceful‖ protest. Among these were a number of APNU executives including Attorney at Law James Bond, Lurlene Nestor and former army Chief Edward Collins. Nagamootoo reminded the gathering of the Enmore Martyrs who lost their lives in the fight for better working conditions. He said that the dead Linden trio must also be remembered in that way ―as martyrs.‖ Attorney at Law and AFC executive Nigel Hughes charged the gathering not to give up the fight until justice is served. Hughes alluded to an old song composed and performed by Peter Tosh which included the lines ―everyone is crying out for peace, but none of them are crying out for justice….I don‘t want no peace, I need equal rights and justice.‖ The prominent attorney said that on Guyana‘s road to its final destination, ―we must stop at a place called justice without this we can go nowhere.‖ Hughes emphasized that for far too long Guyanese have been sitting and taking too much from the seemingly callous government and it is ―time for us to take a stand‖. Social activist Frederick Kissoon received the most energetic responses during his 10-minute delivery. He focused mainly on the importance of not allowing the deaths of the three men to go in vain. As the bodies arrived, there was a rush to view the remains. The three white coffins were almost pushed off of their trolleys. Even the politicians‘ calls for order, at the initial arrival of the body, were of no avail. Eventually, an orderly procedure for viewing was put into place as Mayor Hamilton Green took the microphone and provided guidance. The deceased were all dressed in red and black. The coffins were placed under a large tent. Quite a few Buxtonians also gathered and erected a banner to show that Buxton is in solidarity with Linden. Also present with a banner of sympathy was Red Thread. There was a vast presence of politicians from the Joint Opposition. However no government official was present.
Granger pledges support for Linden Stabroek News, August 20, 2012 Leader of the PNCR David Granger has pledged his party‘s continued support for the people of Linden and Region 10 in their quest for social and economic justice and a higher quality of life, while expressing disappointment that one month on there is no justice for the slain three in Linden. A press release from the party last evening said that Granger committed his party to start donations with 36 sacks of cement for the rebuilding of the One Mile Wismar Primary School and commended the initiative by the residents to rebuild the institution destroyed by arsonists. ―The PNCR also lauds the hundreds of residents who started making on-the-spot financial donations and pledges to assist in rebuilding the school,‖ the release said. According to the press release, Granger said that Linden was an example to the rest of the nation on how grass roots democracy really works and congratulated residents on their steadfastness and sacrifice they demonstrated during the crisis. Granger travelled to Linden on Saturday to participate in a commemorative ceremony in observance of the passing of one month since the July 18, 2012 police killings of Ron Somerset, Allen Lewis and Shemroy Bouyea. ―The PNCR Leader expressed disappointment that, one month after; no one has been arrested or charged with the killings. The PNCR pledged to continue to stand with the families and victims of the July 18 atrocities until justice is served,‖ the release said. Linden should get TV licences immediately – Granger Stabroek News, April 30, 2012 By Gaulbert Sutherland APNU Leader, David Granger says the government should grant TV licences for Linden ―immediately‖ even in the absence of a Broadcasting Authority. ―We don‘t have to wait on any broadcasting authority,‖ he told Stabroek News yesterday. ―It‘s a technical matter.‖ Government last year approved 11 radio licences in the absence of a Broadcasting Authority and was criticized for doing so rather than setting up the body to deal with the applications. Former television station proprietor Tony Vieira, also a former PNCR Member of Parliament has argued that the award of licences by former President Bharrat Jagdeo should be considered null and void as it violated an agreement with the late former President Desmond Hoyte for awards to be made only after a National Broadcasting Authority was established. The Guyana Media Proprietors Association called the process used to allocate the licences ―unworkable‖ and devoid of transparency Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon had said that the president, in the absence of the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority, had the responsibility for issuing the licences.
Contacted yesterday, AFC Chairman, Khemraj Ramjattan said that the Broadcasting Authority should be set up before any new licences are granted. It should be set up immediately, he stressed. TV licences for Linden was one of the conditions outlined by APNU when the coalition met with government officials prior to the passage of the 2012 budget last week to discuss issues including the imminent increase in electricity tariffs for Linden. Following the talks, Prime Minister Sam Hinds issued a statement in which he said ―In relation to television stations seen in Georgetown and the coast being available in Linden and across our country, our government will shortly be granting on application additional `over the air‘ broadcast licences, all over Guyana including Linden‖. APNU later said that it was out of concern for residents of Linden that the coalition insisted that certain outstanding measures be put in place in the shortest possible time. These include, among others, the establishment of micro-financing business facilities through the reactivation of the Linden Enterprise Network (LEN); the liberalisation of radio and television broadcasting, and the installation of systems to bring an end to the bauxite dust nuisance within a specific time-frame. It has been argued that by agreeing with the government that television service would be expanded in Linden, APNU and Granger have given the green light to the radio licences that were hurriedly assigned by former President Jagdeo last year. Granger stressed yesterday that no agreement has been reached and the granting of TV licences was not a bargaining chip. He said that they made it clear that Region Ten could not sustain a hike in tariffs without any change in the economic status of the region and the conditions APNU outlined were aimed at tackling this issue. ―This was not an agreement,‖ he said. ―We insisted that certain things be put in place before the spike of electricity rates.‖ It was not a trade-off, he insisted. Asked whether in light of their call that the licences be granted immediately, he believed that the approval of the TV licences should be done in the same manner as was done with the radio licences or through a national broadcasting authority, Granger demurred. He said that it should be done immediately. He later said that they do not have to wait on the broadcasting authority. Ramjattan said that the Authority should be set up before any licences are granted. An independent, qualified body, he said, will make the decisions ―based on applications that will actually merit the grant‖ unlike what was done previously by the government. The Authority should be established immediately, he said. However, if the government goes ahead and grants the licences in the absence of such a body, the AFC will make their criticisms based on what they see but would prefer that an institutional body, insulated from ―the politicization of the decision‖ be set up to deal with the granting of the licences, he added.
The Guyana Media Proprietors Association has called the process used to allocate radio licences ―unworkable‖ and devoid of transparency. It had called for the urgent establishment of a Broadcast Authority, whose responsibility will include the analysis of applications and recommendation for the issuance of such licences, saying that continued recalcitrance unnecessarily retards the country‘s movement to institutions essential to good governance. ―Such a Commission (Authority) will go a long way to ameliorating the many aggrieved citizens left in obfuscatory darkness and remove criticisms that critical national resources are dispensed mainly on the basis of patronage and that political allegiance is the chief determinant in the distribution of the nation‘s resources,‖ the Association had said in a statement. ―We continue to view with consternation the unacceptable practice of the Office of the President solely discharging that function of administering the granting of licences and we are aware of the discontent that ensues,‖ the statement said. Granger calls again for economic recovery plan for Region 10 Stabroek News, July 16, 2012 Head of APNU David Granger has called again on the government to implement a comprehensive economic recovery plan for Region 10 and to cancel the power tariff hike which has been implemented as of July. His office issued the following statement today: ―Chairman of A Partnership for National Unity, Brigadier David Granger, has renewed the call for a solution to the economic crisis in the Upper Demerara-Berbice Region. Speaking at a public meeting a ‗four-corners‘ in the Wismar community on Saturday night, Brigadier Granger repeated his four-point plan to deal with the issue of the electricity tariff hike. He called on President Donald Ramotar: - to meet right away with the Regional Democratic Council and other stakeholders of Linden; - to commit resources to implement a serious economic recovery programme; - to introduce a menu of measures to address the environmental, broadcasting, health and other of problems plaguing Region 10; - to cancel any increase to the electricity tariff in Linden. Brigadier Granger called on the PPP/C administration to acknowledge that there is an economic crisis in the Region. He emphasized that A Partnership for National Unity will continue to show solidarity with Lindeners and will demand that the Central Government not proceed with the hike in electricity rates.‖
Opposition Leader visits injured Lindeners Stabroek News, August 6, 2012 Dexter Scotland and Michael Roberts that those responsible for the injuries which they sustained on July 18 when police opened fire on protestors would be brought to justice. According to a release from the party, Granger, who was elected leader of the party last weekend, visited the two men at the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPH) where they are recovering from injuries sustained after police opened fire on a group of protestors, killing three men in the process. Roberts sustained a gunshot injury to his jaw while Scotland was shot in his face. The release stated that both men recounted the events of the day to the Opposition Leader. Roberts related that persons were eating and listening to music at the time of the incident and he stated that there was no disorder at the time. He identified the shooters as ―Black clothes― police officers who were operating from the Mackenzie side of the Demerara River. According to the party, Granger assured the men that the party along with its umbrella group, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) would continue to work towards ensuring that those responsible for the incident be brought to justice. He said that he was relieved that the men‘s condition was improving and he promised that no stone would be left unturned in the quest to bring the guilty to justice. Linden pact paves way for more TV stations in community Guyana Times, August 21, 2012 The nomination of University of Guyana civil engineering lecturer Sherwood Lowe as a member of the National Broadcasting Authority by the People‘s National Congress Reform leader, David Granger was prompted by the Linden crisis. ―The nomination was prompted by the urgency of the Linden crisis… to ensure one of the fundamental constitutional rights of the Lindeners, the right to receive information,‖ Granger said. Lowe‘s nomination would pave the way for the full constitution of the authority as well as the granting of licences for private radio and television stations, particularly in Linden. He told Guyana Times on Sunday that the nomination was done despite the party‘s objection to certain sections of the Broadcast Bill. The PNCR had objected to the legislation that allows for the establishment of the Broadcasting Authority.
But according to Granger, by nominating Lowe, the party has not cancelled its objection to the bill. He said: ―We have not removed our objections to certain parts of the bill – we will deal with that when the House resumes in October… the matter isn‘t closed. We can deal with that by the normal legislation process.‖ The passage of the Broadcast Bill last year allowed for the review of some 55 radio licence applications. The bill was passed in the National Assembly despite the absence of the entire opposition. Former Opposition Leader Robert Corbin had argued that the bill contravened the tenet of consultation. He also said the bill violated the spirit of a joint committee set up by then President Bharrat Jagdeo and the late Desmond Hoyte as well as a subsequent agreement signed between Jagdeo and Corbin himself. The move by Granger will now allow Region 10 to re-acquire and operate a television transmitter and dish that were gifted to the community by Green Construction some years ago. As part of the agreements made between central government and the administration of Region 10, the very dish and transmitter will be given to the Region 10 Democratic Council. ―The dish and transmitter should be transferred to the region within 14 days of the signing of this agreement.‖ It was also agreed that the administration of Region 10 will apply for a broadcasting licence and the government will facilitate the granting of that licence in keeping with the country‘s laws. Region 10 Chairman Sharma Solomon told Guyana Times on Sunday that the agreement now paves the way for the local stations to expand their signal to reach the mining town. ―Yes, it means that;… government was waiting on the opposition to submit its nominee… so it means more signal… we will retain what we would have lost… more television signal would be allowed to come to Linden,‖ Solomon explained. Lindeners start reconstruction of burnt school Guyana Times, August 20, 2012 The reconstruction of the One Mile Primary School in Linden, which was set ablaze by arsonists last week, began on Sunday when hundreds converged at the burnt out site to dedicate their time and resources toward the initiative. This mega community effort comes one week after the school was torched. Since the blaze which left many in tears, Lindeners have pledged to rebuild the school. With the use of a front-end-loader donated by Bosai Minerals Group Guyana Incorporated (BMGGI), the burnt out site began to clear of all unwanted debris while men, women and even children who were armed with spades and hammers, manually dismantled the remains of the school. A Partnership For National Unity (APNU) Region 10 parliamentary representative Vanessa Kissoon told Guyana Times that the massive turn out signals that Linden is prepared to rebuild its future as she alluded to periods of the unrest when three persons
were killed, scores injured and many affected by tear gas that was thrown in the vicinity of their homes. ―The residents have shown that they are determined to rebuild our future block by block… they have a front-end loader donated by BOSAI men and women with spade… persons have sledge hammers to break down the walls and other parts and fetching blocks.‖ While the team of residents has only managed to commence the clearing of the site, this publication understands that there has been tremendous support, with persons pledging materials and finance as well. ―Persons have pledged to donate blocks and finance… in aid of the rebuilding our future and the residents are committed to making this a success.‖ Currently, the regional leaders are establishing a work schedule that will depict the working hours. It is the hope of some residents that flood lamps will be erected around the site so that persons can work during the night. ―We are committed to rebuilding the school and we will do just that, the future of pupils of One Mile Primary will be bright,‖ Kissoon reiterated. Peoples National Congress Reform (PNCR) David Granger has also pledged his party‘s continued support for the people of Linden and Region 10 in their quest for social and economic justice, and a higher quality of life. Granger committed his party to start donations with 36 sacks of cement. He commended residents on their initiative to rebuild the school by self-help. The PNCR leader also applauded hundreds of residents who started making on-the-spot financial donations and pledges to assist in rebuilding the school. The PNCR leader said that Linden was an example to the rest of the nation on how grassroots democracy really works, and congratulated residents for their steadfastness and sacrifice during the crisis. Granger travelled to Linden on Saturday to participate in a commemorative ceremony in observance of the July 18 killing of three Lindeners – Ron Sommerset, Allen Lewis and Shemroy Bouyea, allegedly by police. The PNCR leader expressed his party‘s disappointment that, after one month, no one had been arrested or charged with the killing. The PNCR pledged to continue to stand with the families and victims of the July 18 atrocity until justice is served. American-based Guyanese Gullianna Jacobs contributed US$200 while Herminie Humphrey, a Lindener-based in Canada handed over a substantial among of funds; monies garnered from her ―Linden brothers and sisters‖ in Canada. Systems have been put in place for the more than 800 students and teachers to be accommodated at other schools at the commencement of the new academic year 2012/2013.
Agreement Meanwhile, Regional Chairman Sharma Solomon on Saturday publicly announced that Region 10 and the Donald Ramotar administration will today sign an agreement that will lead Linden down a victorious path, but noted that the struggle is not yet over. The parties have been able to agree upon four areas that have proven to be turbulent during the unrest. Those include the revision of the electricity tariffs, the economic package, independent television station and the land selection committee. ―We will trust this regime (the government) to address the needs of the people of Region 10 based on agreement because you the people will see to it, the people of Linden/Region 10 will hold this regime and your nationals leaders accountable for its delivery. You will hold civic society accountable for ensuring that government delivers on its promises,‖ the regional chairman stated. ―No retreat, no surrender‖ he shouted as he addressed a gathering on the western end of the Mackenzie/Wismar Bridge to mark the first month since the killing of the three Lindeners during the unrest. APNU hopeful Linden talks will be finalised by weekend Guyana Times, August 7, 2012 – adopting non-cooperation approach to Rohee The A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) on Tuesday said it is hopeful that negotiations with central government on issues on Linden will be resolved by weekend. At the party‘s weekly press briefing, APNU member Dr Rupert Roopnaraine, who is involved in the negotiations with government on the Linden issue, said, ―We are closer to a resolution of this crisis than we have ever been – it should not go beyond this weekend.‖ He emphasised the coalition is committed to ensuring that a resolution is had at the earliest possible time. He said several businesses are suffering as a result of the process, as many persons are forced to sleep in their vehicles. ―Persons are encamped‖ he said, and as a result, the necessary accommodations must be made to have the mining town of Linden return to a state of normalcy as has been demanded by President Donald Ramotar. ―The longer the situation at Linden is allowed to go on, the longer it will take to lower the level of ―degeneracy‖. He said too that APNU does not need a lecture on the suffering of the people of Linden, and those directly affected by the town‘s shut down, and is hopeful that by weekend, some compromise can be reached. While telling reporters that he is not permitted to disclose the essentials of the negotiations, the parliamentarian said that there are only two clauses left to be agreed upon by the parties. ―There is very little left to be resolved,‖ he said, noting that there
may be a clause or two left for resolution. Dr Roopnaraine, Linden community leaders, Regional Chairman Sharma Solomon and APNU MP Vanessa Kissoon met with President Ramotar and his team of advisors on Monday. That meeting lasted for five hours. According to APNU Chairman David Granger, the Linden issue must not be made out as a political one, as it is the voices of the people of Linden that are being heard and not the voice of any one political party. He claimed that ―this is a citizens‘ protest‖. Granger said too that the opposition by the people of Linden to the hike in electricity tariffs is not a new one, stating that protests were held years before when then President Bharrat Jagdeo had sought to impose the hike in electricity rates. ―The attitude of Lindeners against electricity tariff started long before April 2012,‖ he said. He continued: ―We have always regarded the issue as one of citizen‘s resistance to the tariffs,‖ the APNU chairman said, adding that the partnership will not act as the spokesperson for the people of Linden, as they have a voice, and have noted their concerns publicly. He believes that had the ruling People‘s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) representatives responded to the cries of the people of Linden, then the situation would not have escalated to its current state. Non-cooperation The coalition announced too that it will not cooperate with Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee in the National Assembly following a no-confidence motion carried by the House; a move government said is toothless. The motion has called for Rohee to be removed from his post as home affairs minister. Granger said there will be no cooperation with Rohee in the National Assembly given government‘s position on the motion carried. ―We‘ve already written to the foreign embassies in Guyana, I‘m sending them copies of the National Assembly resolution and we will continue to work with the NGOs in Guyana to bring pressure on Mr Rohee,‖ he said. The opposition leader acknowledged that talks would have to be had with the Alliance For Change (AFC) on whether the non- cooperation would fall in the form of no support for bills and motions put before the House by the said minister. The APNU tabled a motion, stating it has no-confidence in the home affairs minister following the shooting to death of the Linden trio, during a protest against the hike in electricity rates there. The partnership backed by the AFC, said Rohee had ministerial responsibility for the law enforcement ranks who were involved in the act of shooting the protestors, though he was not on the scene at the time of the shooting.
APNU eyes Caribbean jurists for Linden probe Guyana Times, August 3, 2012 – says contentious ToR will be reworked By Ariana Gordon The A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) is currently exploring the possibilities of having ―Caribbean jurists‖ sit on the commission of inquiry that is to be established to uncover what transpired on July 18, 2012 when three Lindeners were killed and several others injured by police.
David Granger Speaking with the media on Thursday night, Opposition Leader David Granger said there are many ―competent‖ Caribbean jurists that can possibly sit on the commission and as a result, that is being explored. His comments follow the public announcement by Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall on the Terms of Reference (ToR) at the National Assembly. The combined opposition (the Alliance For Change (AFC) and APNU) have expressed concern over the TOR being made public in what has been described by critics as an ―unprincipled manner‖. ToR to be amended The agreed Terms of Reference are to be reworked given that the there has been no agreement yet on the composition of the commission, the duration of the probe to be undertaken by its members and from where the persons would be sourced. APNU‘s Joe Harmon told the media that while the Terms of Reference presented to the House will form part of the final draft, they can be amended to accommodate the missing details. ―It is a final draft submitted by the parties, APNU contributed to the document. The
AFC, I understood, sent a draft document to Dr Luncheon on the 30th and that formed part of the document that came up today.‖ Harmon added that the ToR is not a signed document, and as such, represents the consensus up to a particular period. ―ToR is not a signed document, it represents the position as of today. ToR can always be amended as we go along, because things can be added and things can be taken out,‖ he added. Asked about the duration of the probe, he said ―… those are things that have to be addressed still – the actual composition, where these people are going to come from. I believe Dr Luncheon would have something more to say on that, because ultimately, it is a question for the government to deal with: cost of the commission of inquiry and payment of the commissioners irrespective of where they come from.‖ Harmon disclosed, however, that contact has been made with persons outside of Guyana, within Caricom, and further afield to constitute the commission. AFC’s recommendations on ToR The AFC had indicated its reservations about the ToR presented to the National Assembly on Thursday. In a statement on Friday, that party noted that ―it is unfortunate that the government and APNU seem not to have reached agreement on the Terms of Reference for such an inquiry.‖ As a result, the party has issued recommendations that should be incorporated into the ToR. The inquiry, the party said, should investigate: whether Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) were in force at the time of the fatal shooting; if the SOPs were consistent with international SOPs for the use of force and crowd control; whether the SOPs were adhered to by law enforcement at the time of the fatal shooting; in the event that there was a breach of the SOPs, was it a result of systematic failures; if anyone issued orders to use deadly force; in the event no orders to use force were issued, who utilised deadly force against the protesters; whether any justification existed for the use of deadly force; how the injured at the time of and after the shooting were treated; and the procedures for investigation, if any were initiated, of the incident. Additionally, the draft proposal includes an investigation of the events which directly led to the loss of property as a result of fires; and an inquiry to make recommendations on the improvement of the SOPs of the Guyana Police Force in the area of crowd control and treatment of the wounded.The party reiterated its commitment to work with the government and other concerned parties to move forward with the inquiry. The agreed ToR will guide the commission of inquiry to identify what unit was employed at the scene at the bridge, and its composition; what training was given to the unit individually or collectively in preparation for the crowd control operation; whether the shooting to death of the three persons was done by the police detachment on the bridge; who gave the orders to fire and whether the police had justification for the use of lethal force on the scene; instructions given to the conduct of the GPF detachment in
carrying out its law enforcement functions on Wednesday, July 18, at the scene of the Mackenzie/Wismar Bridge; what, if any, general or specific, instructions did the home affairs minister give to the police force to maintain law and order in Linden, immediately before, during and immediately after the events on Wednesday, July 18, 2012; and inquire into the actual cause of death of the three deceased. Additionally, the ToR indicates that the commission must inquire into the nature of the violence and destruction, that immediately followed the July 18 shooting; a report on the role and involvement, if any, of political organisations and any forces in organising, mobilising, and promoting the protest action from the commencement and immediately after the shooting on July 18, 2012; make recommendations which will assist the Guyana Police Force in potentially discharging their responsibility in the maintenance of law and order in the community of Linden and similar communities without endangering their safety and that of civilians; and make recommendations for compensations for personal injuries, damage and loss to victims of the July 18 events. Linden trio given moving farewell Guyana Times, August 2, 2012
Opposition Leader David Granger addressing mourners at Square of the Revolution
Hundreds of tearful Georgetown residents turned up at the Square of the Revolution on Wednesday to pay homage to the three protesters, Shemroy Bouyea, Allan Lewis and Ron Somerset, who were killed in the line of protest on the first day of the mining town unrest. Prior to the arrival of the three bodies from Linden, several political dignitaries were allowed to address the emotional congregation. Alliance For Change (AFC) executive member, Moses Nagamootoo said the three fallen Lindeners expect that ―we must continue in the struggle for justice‖, contending ―their deaths must not go in vain‖. He called on the mourners, more so, Guyanese to embrace
each other with dignity because the men expect nonetheless. ―We must not be divided by racism and political affiliations, but as one people, we must strive for the better treatment of humanity,‖ Nagamootoo charged, adding that ―Linden must embrace Georgetown; sugar workers must embrace rice farmers for concord and liberation, only in such forces would our nation move on.‖ The outspoken Nagamootoo assured the relatives of the dead men that their lives were not lost in vain, because the entire nation mourns with them. According to him, his party is prepared, willingly and relentlessly to move from stage to stage with the families of those killed to demand justice. Opposition Leader David Granger took to the podium and first expressed his condolences to the families of the three Lindeners killed. ―We cannot celebrate while Linden and the rest of the country are bleeding, ―he said, as he urged persons not to use the occasion to score political points. ―This is not a day to talk about election, electricity tariffs, but it is a day to talk about human dignity; this is a day to talk about the selfrespect of human beings and what happened exactly two weeks ago on on July 18 was most of all the disrespect of human lives,‖ he said, adding ―You cannot say my people that three people have been killed and no one is responsible.‖ Granger concluded by saying that the day should be referred to as the ―Day of Determination‖, and what happened in Linden should be the last as he urged the sorrowful crowd to always keep in mind the relatives of the dead protesters. Nigel Hughes, also of the AFC, said Lindeners are crying out for justice, thus they will not cease in their endeavour until their demands are met. ―No peace, no justice and no justice, no peace‖ he bellowed, urging Lindeners not to give up their demands. Working People‘s Alliance member Dr David Hinds called on the gathering to forget about the politics, and organise, for it is only then ―we can stand in true harmony‖. He urged all Guyanese to not use this occasion to riot, but as a force to liberate them. On this note, he called on the people to use their bodies as barricades and stand up to continually demand justice and equality. One of the protesters, Michael Roberts, who was shot, also addressed the mourners. The grieving man, who spoke with grate discomfort because of the gunshot wound he received to his face, requested that a monument be erected in remembrance of those who lost their lives, and the many who were injured on July 18, in the mining town. The wounded Roberts noted that on that fatal day, the people of Linden were protesting peaceful, and claimed that no form of violence was used against the law enforcement ranks. ―Minutes before the shooting, I had called my wife promising her that I would pick her up from work and then we were going to stand and watch what was taking place. We were at a fence when shots started to fire, we then ran in to Bosai utility compound, and one of the guy who was with us I see got shot in his back and I run around to render assistance, but after I saw the police, I decided I am going to run and there I was shot
from behind where the bullet existed through my mouth.‖ Throughout the semi-formal proceedings, close relatives and acquaintances of the three dead men wept silently as they were consoled. Almost immediately after the viewing of the bodies, which were laid in three white caskets with red and black custom made flags, they were taken to Linden for further viewing and burial. It is said that a motorcade followed the bodies to the mining town. Granger urges Lindeners to continue their fight Guyana Times, August 2, 2012 Hundreds gathered on the western end of the Mackenzie-Wismar Bridge at Linden on Wednesday to witness the funeral of Allan Lewis, Shimroy Boyea and Ron Somerset, the trio who were killed by policemen on July 18 during the Linden protest. The bodies of the trio, after being taken to the Square of the Revolution at Georgetown, were moved to Linden, firstly to their respective homes, and thence to the bridge where they spent their final hours alive, for another funeral service. In attendance was A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) Chairman David Granger, APNU Member of Parliament Vanessa Kissoon, Regional Chairman Sharma Solomon and Nigel Hughes of the Alliance For Change (AFC), among others. Tensions rose in an already solemn atmosphere as the leaders, who were allotted only two minutes each spoke mainly of getting justice for those killed. Solomon and Kissoon called for a monument to be erected at the western end of the bridge in their memory, a suggestion that was supported by Granger. ―We in the PNCR will build a monument right here at the western shore for the ‗Linden martyrs‘, and we will not forget. For this will be the mark where police brutality will stop; this will be the mark, a monument in Linden that we will not forget what happened on the 18th of July. I was there on the night of the July 18. I was there on the night of the July 18; I went to visit the Linden hospital and I saw the three bodies, and I knew right away from my own military experience that that was murder,‖ he stated, as the already emotional gathering clapped and shouted in agreement. Following the shooting to death of the trio, the combined opposition (APNU and AFC) had passed a no- confidence motion in Parliament against Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee, and has called for the dismissal and prosecution of Commander Clifton Hickens, and the other officers who fired. Minister Rohee has since denied claims that he passed orders for the officers on the ground to use live rounds on protestors on the tragic day.
An international independent commission of enquiry will be held into the killings since ballistic tests conducted on the bodies confirmed that the trio were killed with live rounds. The APNU leader further encouraged Lindeners, who have since continued the protests against the electricity hike to this day by shutting down the town through the blocking of major access roads and business closures, to continue in the struggle. ―Brothers and sisters of Linden, Guyana today extends solidarity with you, Guyana extends sympathy to you… we will continue to struggle with you, the struggle must continue,‖ Granger urged. Trade unionist Lincoln Lewis and former PNCR Parliamentarian Aubrey Norton also addressed the gathering. After the address by the leaders, there was much confusion when the time came for the bodies to be viewed as everyone pushed to get a glimpse of the slain trio. The caskets were shut numerous times as family members pleaded with the large gathering to maintain order so that everyone can be afforded the opportunity to get a glimpse. Many wailed in sorrow after viewing the bodies. Many were outraged at the attitude of some of the onlookers who viewed the bodies for long periods, and prevented others from viewing. ―This is pure confusion‖, remarked another onlooker, who did not get a glimpse of the bodies which were hurriedly taken away to the Bamia Cemetary for internment since it was already nightfall. Meanwhile, roads in the mining town were cleared by demonstrators to facilitate smooth traffic for the funeral procession.
Day of mourning planned for Linden dead
Guyana Times, July 24, 2012 Today has been designated by the opposition coalition, the A Partnership For National Unity (APNU) ―Day of Mourning‖ for the victims of the Linden protest last week. The event is being held one week after two teenagers and a middle aged man were shot dead during clashes with police during a demonstration over a hike in electricity tariff at the Mackenzie/Wismar Bridge last Wednesday.
The shooting also left around 20 persons nursing gunshot wounds. In honour of the victims, and to express solidarity with the grieving families and friends, the APNU is expected to stage a rally at the Square of the Revolution along with a picketing exercise in front the Office of the President. To bring the curtains down, on the ―Day of Mourning‖, a candle light vigil is slated for this evening at the Square of the Revolution. The coalition is calling on all Guyanese to participate in the activity. Opposition Leader David Granger when questioned about permission to utilise the Square of the Revolution, said a request was made, but noted that it was not necessary. The Square of the Revolution is a public place and ―we don‘t have to get permission to assemble in a public place, we are not protesting — that is our right.‖ He stressed that the gathering at the Square of the Revolution is not a protest, but a simple rally and candle light vigil. The Guyana Police Force has since indicated that approval was granted for the People‘s National Congress Reform (PNCR) to stage a march today. The march will move off from the Arch of Brickdam, and proceed west along Brickdam, culminating the Saint Stanislaus College. The APNU has also used the opportunity to advocate for an ―urgent solution to the economic, political and security crisis plaguing Region 10, Upper Demerara-Upper Berbice‖, noting that government should commit resources to implement a serious regional economic recovery programme. It further stated that the ―government of Guyana should introduce a menu of measures to address the environmental, broadcasting, health and other problems plaguing the region‖. In a release to the press, the APNU pointed out that ―President Donald Ramotar should continue to meet and remain in communication with the regional democratic council and other stakeholders of Linden.‖ Demands were also made for the government of Guyana to cancel ―any increase to the electricity tariff in Linden‖. Although the president has consented to an independent commission of inquiry into the killing and injury of persons on Wednesday, July 18, the coalitions continues to emphasise the need for an independent commission of inquiry, noting too that compensation must be paid to families of the deceased, and to the victims of the shooting, while calling for the minister of home affairs to resign as well. Meanwhile, the Alliance For Change (AFC) is calling on the rest of Guyana in particular the sugar belt workers along the coast to show solidarity. ―When the sugar workers were on strike in recognition of their union, when people on the coast were protesting for the dismissal of the charges against Arnold Rampersaud, the people of Linden marched to Georgetown to give solidarity to Arnold Rampersaud and to the PPP, and they marched in Linden and collected funds and ration to help in solidarity with the sugar workers in their prolonged, historical struggle.‖
He said all should condemn acts that result in citizens being killed and crippled for exercising their democratic right, noting that it is time Guyanese stand up for what is just. The Amerindian Action Movement of Guyana (TAAMOG) is the most recent organisation that has broken its silence on the deadly and violent protest. TAAMOG said it regrets the loss of the three protesters in the mining town of Linden during a struggle to bring an end to the increase in electricity tariffs. That entity is pleading with the town to allow peace to prevail. ―TAAMOG is appealing for calm, peace and the restoration of normalcy at Linden so that responsible leadership can take its course to determine a positive way forward for the people of Linden. The organisation is positive that the prolong demonstration is affecting not only Linden, but Guyana as a whole, noting that there is a shortage of food, medical supplies and fuel in certain areas. ―TAAMOG is highly concerned that the blockages of roads by the demonstrators will severely affecting the livelihood of Amerindian communities in Region 10, including Regions Seven, Eight and Nine.‖
Leaders agree on inquiry for Linden killings
Guyana Times, July 20, 2012 By Ariana Gordon Government and the two opposition parliamentary parties have agreed to set up a commission of inquiry to probe the killing of three protesters and the wounding of several in Linden on Wednesday. However, there are differences over who will conduct the probe as the opposition wants an international expert to be involved, something which the government is resisting. Government said it is committed to ―uncover the details of the incident‖. Following the meeting of the three parliamentary parties, government said ―the recent tragedy in Linden, Region 10, has created much anguish and led to a determination by the Office of the President to uncover the details of the incident‖, and as such a ―full investigation‖ will be launched. A statement prepared by the OP said that the ―impact of the loss of lives and injuries to others, the destruction of private and public property, and the trauma being experienced by the community‖ has forced the president to have several meetings with stakeholders. A special meeting of Cabinet was held also to discuss the matter. Opposition Leader David Granger, at what was described as an emergency press briefing held shortly after the conclusion of the meeting with the president and his team, described the occurrences at Linden on Wednesday evening as ―the worst tragedy‖ of the entire year. Granger, who on Wednesday visited the mining community following the
killings, said excessive force was used on protesting residents who were unarmed by ranks of the Guyana Police Force on the Mackenzie-Wismar Bridge. He said the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) sought a meeting with the People‘s Progressive Party and the Alliance For Change to discuss the way forward as it relates to the situation in Linden. According to Granger, at the meeting held at approximately 13:30h at the OP, the president and his team were charged to have an independent commission of inquiry set up to investigate the killing of the three residents of Linden. ―We insisted that the persons involved in the killings, as well as the officer in command of the detachment that was involved in the killing‖ be removed. The opposition leader added that the president was charged to meet with Region 10 Chairman Sharma Solomon and other representatives from the mining town to hear their concerns about the hike in electricity tariffs and security situation. ―We have written to Speaker of the National Assembly to ask for the urgent sitting of the House to discuss the killings which we regard as an urgent matter of public business,‖ Granger told the media. He stressed that the protest by Lindeners was a citizen‘s protest that saw several organisations, including religious organisations, taking part. Asked whether the APNU had representatives at the protest, Granger replied: ―APNU did not have an official presence as part of the protest. Whether there were APNU members present, that is another matter, because, as you know, there is widespread support for APNU in the area. The protest was, at all times, regarded as a civil protest against the imposition of the electricity tariffs. It was organised on a civic basis not on a political party basis.‖