Kara Kara Bridge still blocked @ 6:35 am Monday.
Security forces are called in after residents begin to collect items from the burnt out LINMINE Main Office building. Assistant Commissioner Gavin Primo is on site and reasoning with the persons gathered to facilitate an amicable end to the issue.
Residents disperse peacefully from the Main Office. Security forces were called in after residents begin to collect items from the burnt out LINMINE Main Office building. Assistant Commissioner Gavin Primo is on site and reasoning with the persons gathered to facilitate an amicable end to the issue.
Travel between Linden and Georgetown is being facilitated by buses and cars operating about 200 metres from the Millie's Hideout turn on the highway. The average charge applied for this service is $1,500, up from the usual cost of $900 but there are reports of some drivers charging as much as $3,000.
ATM machines at banks in Linden empty of cash, no money transfer services operating, Post Office remains closed.
Since the start of the Linden protest I have heard repeatedly from people who live on the coast or are from the coast that Lindeners are lazy, don't want to take responsibility, unreasonable, unconscionable, among other things all because they refused, objected to the proposed hike in their electricity rate. Most of these coastlanders, as they are referred to by our indigenous people, missed the mark for this protest. To be a bit more rigid and to use a more familiar American political term, "they just don't get".
One member from the group 'Anything Guyanese' has articulated her point on this subject very well and I must agree with her that this 'struggle' by Lindeners is a bread and butter one. To understand this clearly is to determine/examine the nexus for the protest. Was the protest a political one? No it wasn't. Every resident of Linden, be it a PPP supporter, a AFC supporter or an APNU supporter all joined together and made one statement, as demonstrated by their numbers and show of solidarity, that they will not accept the proposed hike in electricity rates. So it is not political. The protests from all accounts were born from the residents inability to pay the rate increase due to economic hardship for which this mining community has endured for more than 20 years. So the current view of Lindeners is if we had more we would gladly pay more.
There is a growing counter argument to this position that Lindeners hold. Coastlanders have said that they pay a much higher rate than Lindeners and they see no reason(s) why Lindeners cannot pay the same rate they are paying. That is a fair statement to make. However, the economic opportunities available on the coast does not exist in Linden and other hinterland areas and this is the single fact that many are not taking on board
They must understand that the town of Linden was built around the Bauxite company and when the Bauxite company took a dive in production, whether it was due to poor management or politics, it was the residents of Linden who suffered and not those in Georgetown who played politics with this company and its industry.
Let us get one more thing straight; in Guyana it is not the regions that control their development but the State (Government) that does. So it is incumbent on the government to help the people of Linden to prosperity when their sole employer (The Bauxite Company) is incapable of contributing, through employment, to their basic livelihood. This neglect by this and past administrations is not mirrored in other single employment communities, example the Sugar Industry. Unlike the Sugar Industry there have been no large scale attempts to diversify this industry or provide incentives to other industries to invest in this community and to provide jobs. Citizens cannot build a business on their own as was argued by President Obama. He said, "they need the help of their government", and I will extend this further to say citizens cannot generate wealth on their own they need the help of their government to do so. This is true when it comes to the situation in Linden. There is no wealth generating opportunities in Linden so it is hard for me to show empathy for coastlanders' counter-argument when it is clear that the people cannot afford it.
After making the above point I was greeted with lunacy, as will be evident in the comments that follow this status, that Lindeners buy fancy clothes, go partying, etc. can you believe these changing positions? I addressed these comments by providing a known example, especially to those who live in the diaspora, about the reaction to gas prices in the US when there is an increase at the pump of 20cents or above.
There is no one telling citizens to transfer their clothes and entertainment monies to paying for higher gas or calling them names like those mentioned in the opening paragraph. Rather the government, who has no control on the price of gasoline, is petitioned to do something about soaring prices at the pump. Despite all the money Americans may have they cannot afford to pay US$4 to US$5 per gallon of gas, the price a poor nation like Guyana pays. Lindeners are being faced with a similar situation with respect to electricity rate hike proposed by the Guyana Government and all they are saying they cannot afford to pay it.
Finally, not because the coastlanders pay a much higher rate per kWH of electricity means that Lindeners should follow suit and do the same. If coastlanders wants to sit down and allow the government to force them to pay more for something they can't afford I say Kudos to them. However, they should not allow their docile approach to be seen as a principle stand when they themselves can't afford to pay the rate the government is proposing for Lindeners. I know they can't because the theft of electricity is higher on the coast than anywhere else. Even businesses on the coast steal electricity as was reported recently in the news.
As a I said before this is a bread and butter issue and people need to know what they can afford to pay. Lindeners have a principle stand and a just cause for opposing this hike and they are doing a stellar job, in my opinion, in representing themselves, with the Regional Chairman at the head, I think, as it should be.
I refrained from posting before, but the electrical power, which was uninterrupted all day, has gone off and back on twice in the past five minutes...
President Ramotaur addressing the nation on the protests at Linden. I will NOT be providing a synopsis of his speech, sorry, I leave that to others. However, if I note any inaccuracies or issues of concern in my own estimation, I will post same.
President's address ends with no attempt to address government's intended actions to bring closure to this impasse, no statement of intent to visit Linden in response to this major call by protestors and no commitment on any of the resident's demands. He did however express regret at the loss of life on Wednesday July 18th, 2012.