Big turnout at Square for viewing of slain Lindeners
A moving funeral service and viewing took place at the Square of the Revolution today for Shemroy Bouyea, Allan Lewis and Ron Somerset – the three shooting victims of the Linden electricity uprising as about 2,000 persons paid their respects and called for justice.
Amid African drumming and music befitting Freedom Day, and overlooked by the Cuffy monument, three hearses bearing the bodies of the slain men who were shot and killed by Police departed the Square of the Revolution after lunch for Linden where a service will be held at the Wismar-Mackenzie bridge – the location where they died on July 18 when they were part of a protest demanding that Government withdraw a proposal for higher electricity tariffs.
The cortege arrived at the Square at about 11:15 am and initially there was a lot of pushing to get a view of the bodies. This later quieted down and persons filed past in an orderly manner to view the men.
“We hold the PPP and the Minister responsible. We don’t need a commission of inquiry [to tell us that],” said Leader of the Opposition David Granger at the funeral service.
“Let it be a day of determination to ensure that there is no more killing. Let us have a government that protects the lives of its citizens,” Granger, also the Leader of the PNCR, said, “Let it be a day of solidarity for the people of Linden,” he said in his brief presentation.
Representing the Alliance For Change (AFC), attorney at law Nigel Hughes said, “It is up to us to ensure their lives do not go in vain.” Noting that there was no arrest, no court appearance, no trial and conviction for the men for whatever their crime was, “they were executed by the state for no just cause whatsoever.” He asked the administration, “To those in power I ask if a criminal [were to] break into your home and slaughter your family, would you want a commission of inquiry before those persons are brought to justice?”
He then cried out, “No peace, no justice. No justice no peace.”
One man who was shot and wounded in the face on July 18 – Michael Roberts – said “just hold the struggle.” He reminded the gathering of mourners of a song by the late reggae superstar Dennis Brown, which has in it the words “who gave the order to shoot in South Africa, it must be a damn dictator.” He noted that while the song was written during the period of oppression in South Africa during which time Mandela was imprisoned, he noted that its lyrics were apt today. He further noted the irony that the events of July 18 were on the same day as Mandela’s birth anniversary.
The many persons on the Square of the Revolution dressed in a mix of African clothing and black, red, white for a funereal look.