Very brief background on the importance of Linden. Linden is the second city of Guyana. It is a center for bauxite mining and as the only road from Guyana to Brazil runs through Linden, the town is a market hub. The question we need to ask is if Linden is so important to Guyana’s economy why is there 70% unemployment in the town? The statement by Region 10 [Linden] Chairman Sharma Solomons, begins to answer this question. [See below]
The following message from the camp set up in Georgetown Guyana in solidarity with the people in Linden and freedom loving Guyanese
Lina Free says: On August 15th, 2012, a group of peace and freedom-loving Guyanese launched the People’s Parliament. People gathered in a spirit of revolutionary love to reason and brainstorm with fellow citizens about the problems facing our nation. Within 15 hours, agents of the police state arrived to break up the gathering. We were not blocking any road or walkway, not burning any tires, and not even holding any picket signs. We were simply talking with one another. The father of one of the boys killed in Linden a month ago (Shemroy Bouyea), a mother who has a son in the army there, people from Berbice, Linden, and Georgetown, lawyers, writers, vendors, security guards, the homeless, the mentally ill, the sad, discouraged and downpressed, the university professor, retirees, politicians, unemployed, revolutionaries young and old- we gathered in solidarity and love. They can dismantle the structure, but they cannot dismantle our minds. A LUTA CONTINUA!
List of demands from Linden
Region Ten Proposed Conditions for Normalcy
1. The withdrawal of the electricity tariff;
2. The resignation of the Minister of Home Affairs, Clement Rohee, together with the interdiction of the squad that participated in the attack of July 18, 2012 with a view of identifying those who must be charged for murder and attempted murder;
3. The establishment of a Technical Committee to examine the electricity sector in Linden and Region Ten to make recommendations to the National Assembly. This committee shall comprise of seven persons, three appointed by the government, three appointed by Region Ten and the Chairman agreed upon by the two parties;
4. The provision of funding for a committee to carry out a study and develop an economic program for the region. The participants for this committee will be arrived at by the RDC, Region Ten;5. The immediate appointment of the Regional Land Selection Committee based on the composition of representation on the RDC, which will see representation from the APNU, AFC and PPP. This will terminate the Office of the President’s imposition as to who are to be given lands in Region Ten;
6. The immediate return of the television operation in Linden which was a gift to the community (received in 1980) and seized by the PPP government after their ascension to office (1993);
7. The issue of the Terms of Reference for the Inquiry into the July 18, 2012 shooting of peaceful protestors, discussion must take place with the Region that has responsibility to address its citizens’ concern. It must involve all the Parliamentary groups together with the Region.
Region 10 Chairman Sharma Solomon statement on govt invasion, talks, demands etc
It is with much sorrow I learnt of the fore-dawn invasion of Linden, executed by the Joint Services at 2:00a.m, this morning. The reports that have reached me are heart-rending. I am saddened by these events which now oblige my presence on the ground. I am also disappointed by the insidious manner in which President Ramotar seeks
to intimidate and frustrate the efforts of this community of Linden to abandon its legitimate civil and human rights of seeking to represent their community’s concerns to the Central Government.
While the Region Ten delegation has entered into talks with Central Government in good faith and trust, all would agree that a military operation to preempt a fair and reasonable and amicable outcome of our current dilemma in Linden now threatens the atmosphere of negotiation, and begs for the urgent and speedy resolution of the problems confronting us.
I have spent the greater part of yesterday in Georgetown working on putting the finishing touches to the documents to be submitted to the President and his delegation in efforts to resolve the impasse. Thus, while intelligence has informed us the Armed Forces were planning an invasion into Linden, and we went public with the information on Wednesday, ours was the hope that good sense would prevail. It was our expectation that while negotiations were taking place, the government, as any other conscientious Party to these negotiations would respect the principle that such discussions would be done in an environment of mutual respect, and that they would resist any temptation to engage in any activity that would ultimately undermine our deliberations and, or incense the rather tense situation on the ground.
We want resolution to the plight of the Lindeners. We want the rights of Lindeners and the People of Region Ten to be respected. We want a return to normalcy, which we thought we were moving closer too. But, the Central Government, in its efforts to stymie the Linden Community legitimate exercise of its fundamental human and civil rights, has invoked the horrible specter of July 18th once again in the psyche of our residents by the introduction of the Armed Forces into the mix, unmindful of their previous criminal experience. It is apparent that restoration to normalcy, according to the Government, is a return to State terrorism of our community, of our residents, of Linden.
We are now even more concerned that there exists within the thinking of Central Government and the Armed Forces that they stand to benefit from this abominable behaviour. We ask the question —what next? Will leaders be attacked, harmed or gun down? But we say to them, while they are deploying their weapons of mass destruction, we will match such hostility and destruction with our resoluteness to remain steadfast in the face of challenges, until justice prevails. While we are weak from the standpoint that we have no weapons (which we do not need); nor the State on our side (which we need), we are convinced that we are stronger in the presence of our resilience and our quest for justice. For while the government has declared war on us, we have declared for Freedom!
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has declared on our side of justice and human rights. President Ramotar Government has declared that the IACHR are biased for supporting our legitimate aspirations and the exercise of our legitimate and fundamental rights. The Private Sector Commission has urged the Government to meet with our Administration, our Leaders and our residents in an effort to secure an early and acceptable resolution of this crisis. President Ramotar has declared that the Private Sector Commission does not run his office!
We are now compelled to believe that it is the strategy of the Office of the President to allow Lindeners and the wider society to suffer. We believe that they hope to benefit from an insidious and despicable public relations campaign intended to turn public opinion and support against us.
We take this opportunity to call on all Guyanese, particularly those who are directly and indirectly affected by the civil rights movement in Linden to bring pressure to bear on this government to respect the rights of the people of Linden/Region Ten. We remind this nation that our state of inter dependency makes it crucial for all parts to be in harmony and not just some. Each region, each sector of our economy, each group is best served when all is served. Your peace and comfort is assured by our peace and comfort. We urge you to safeguard your interest by ensuring that ours are satisfied by this government and that you do not allow the usual divide and rule practice by those who are responsible for denying Linden and causing Lindeners to embark on a Civil Rights Movement.
We experience the loss of lives and injuries on July 18, tear gas, pellets, and live ammunitions; now with the invasion at 2:00 this morning, tear gassing, and continued brutality that have forced, men, women and children out of their homes and onto the streets, will see us matching such violations with intensified steadfastness. This is a People’s Struggle for their Civil Rights. It encompasses persons from across the racial spectrum, religious beliefs and socio-economic status. It has within its midst those who are supporters of the APNU, AFC, PPP and the non-aligned. And we will keep it this way.
I was not born in the 1960s and what I know of the problems of that era is what has been told to me or what I have read. President Ramotar was of that era and I would like to say to him, Linden will not return to 1964, however much forces are trying to push us there. We are resolute in this struggle as a people who fervently believe that the Laws of this Land were also written for us and we too must have our rights respected, and a say in decision making that impact our selves. That the people of Region Ten too have the right to self determination and are also protected by the national motto One People, One Nation, One Destiny.