President doesn’t agree with call for Rohee to resign
President Donald Ramotar does not agree with the call for Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee to resign over the killing by police of three protesters at Linden on Wednesday.
In the aftermath of the killings and unrest in Linden, there have been some calls for Rohee to be sacked. Some have also pointed to the fact that in December last year, police had also been accused of using excessive force in an opposition demonstration which left a number of persons nursing pellet wounds.
GINA said that at a press conference today, Ramotar said on the issue of calls for the resignation of Rohee over the Linden situation, “I don’t agree with the call for the Home Affairs Minister to resign… he was not on the ground and was not directing anything. I don’t agree with their call.”
Statement by President Donald Ramotar today
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press
I have invited you this afternoon to brief you on the developments in Linden and my engagements with national and regional stakeholders.
My administration on the night of July 18th released a statement to the nation expressing its regret at the loss of life and property, and the injured on the said night.
On July 19th, l held a specially convened meeting of the Cabinet to brief my administration on the developments in Linden, and engaged representatives of the Business community in Linden; the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. D. Granger, and his delegation from the A.P.N.U. and the Speaker of the National Assembly and Leader of the AFC, Mr. R. Trotman and his delegation from the A.F.C.; and Mr. Sharma Solomon, Chairman of the Regional Democratic Council and Geographic M.P. Ms. Vanessa Kissoon of Administrative Region 10.
My administration wishes to reiterate that it is deeply concerned about the level of unrest which has accelerated over the last 2 days and regrets the loss of life and property. The entire township of Linden has been destabilized by these events.
In fact, the entire Region has been also affected with the communities of Kwakwani and Ituni being unable to access emergency medical care, fuel and food as has the interior regions of Region 7, 8, and 9.
Our statement on the night of July 18th committed the administration to a full investigation once some order was restored. That position remains and in fact, l shall be appointing a Commission of Enquiry to examine the events in Linden including the unfortunate loss of three lives.
In the discussions with the opposition parties, the government and the A.P.N.U agreed to draft the terms of reference for this Commission and two leaders were designated from the two sides to work on the draft terms of reference. The meeting also agreed to conclude the TORs by August 2, 2012 with the objective of establishing a Commission of Enquiry.
I am pleased to inform you that all stakeholders endorsed this approach.
Consistent with law enforcement norms, once there is a death during the performance of an officer’s duty, he or she is removed. In this case, the Commanding Officer of E and F Division has been removed. This also coincides with the desires of the stakeholders.
I have instructed the Minister of Health, Dr. Ramsaran to pay close and personal attention to the health care delivery system in Region 10 with regards to Linden and persons who were injured during the protests as well as persons with totally unrelated emergency medical needs in Linden and the outlying areas who would need to be removed from the area but due to blocked roads etc cannot.
I have instructed the Minister of Public Works, Mr. Robeson Benn, to bring in heavy duty equipment to clear the roads of debris and logs so as to ensure that there is egress and ingress to, from and through the township of Linden.
I have instructed that serious efforts are made to restore and maintain water and electricity.
These developments have placed great and additional stress on the mining community which must pass through Linden as well as the Interior Regions of 7, 8, 9 which rely on passage through Linden to transport fuel, food and goods to and from the coastal belt.
I wish to stress that these developments are harming the investment and business environment of that Region, the Linden township and the entire country. BOSAI employs 500 people and it has been closed for the last few days and the company has informed that it is re-considering further expansion of their business. I have been in discussion with Mr. Walker of Toucan Connections, the call centre in Linden, today which also has been likewise affected and which could lose its overseas contracts if this situation continues.
The domestic business sector in Linden is also being affected as many workers are afraid to come to work and prefer to stay in the safety of their homes.
In my discussions with the Regional Chairman, Mr. Solomon, l have stressed that Linden will suffer a great setback due to these developments.
I also wish to emphasize that the Linden community is being and has been terribly and deliberately misinformed by some extremists and well-known political activists with regard to the recently introduced tariff increases.
What the government offered on April 19th 2012 in its engagements with the A.P.N.U. and which was agreed to and then subsequently rejected remains on the table. We spoke of gradualism and selectivity then and we are prepared to discuss this proposal once again.
My administration is repeating its willingness to engage with all stakeholders in order to find the best approach to bring Linden over a specified time to the same rates as with the rest of the country.
However, and l am underlining this, that fruitful discussions cannot be held in the atmosphere that currently prevails but we are ready to discuss all of these matters once normalcy is restored.