The people of Region 10 last night gave a clear signal that they will no longer tolerate government’s backtracking on a number of commitments made in the August 21, 2012 agreement between the region and central government and want swift action on the television station among other elements.
At a public meeting that the region hosted, some 2,000 residents came out to hear from Regional Chairman Sharma Solomon and number of other persons, among them Chartered Accountant Christopher Ram, union stalwart Lincoln Lewis, Member of Parliament for APNU Vanessa Kissoon and former PNCR Member of Parliament Aubrey Norton.
Solomon, the last speaker to take to the stage, said that the region had not broken its engagement with the government but only asked for some time to meet and canvas the views of the people. He took umbrage at the statements of Presidential Advisor Gail Teixeira and others who called the leadership of the region “sinister” and their actions “ominous” for postponing a meeting scheduled for January 4 to a later date after the region had met the citizenry.
“Is it sinister to deny citizens what is rightfully theirs?” Solomon asked. “We will fight to ensure that people’s rights are respected,” he said.
“Before the end of the month you can look forward to those rights to be honoured. The agreement [on August 21, 2012] was signed in the blood of the three slain men [on July 18, 2012],” he said. “You the people of Linden and Region 10 will ensure that the agreement is fulfilled. Never again will anyone come into our community and kill our people. The international community will not allow it and you will not allow it,” Solomon told the gathering.
He said that the transmitter must come with the frequency for it to be functional. “They must give us the transmitter with the Channel 13 frequency,” he said; one must go with the other. He said that something had to be wrong for the people of Linden to accept that they had access only to one television station and emphasized that name-calling would not deter the people of the region from demanding what was rightfully theirs.
“As Guyanese, everyone should pay attention when the rights of Guyanese are violated. Are we going to have our television station people?” he asked, to which the crowd of over 2,000 people shouted “yes!” in response.
He said that it was the desire of the people of the region to seek a better life for themselves and for the generations to come. The RDC had made over 150 visits to various communities, he told the meeting, seeking to hear from people what it was that they wanted. “We at the RDC will ensure that we fulfil our mandate for achieving whatever we set our sights on,” he said.
With regard to the technical review committee – one of the four elements of the agreement – Solomon said that government fears that the work of this committee will lead to the exposing of the true cost of power and that persons on the coast are bearing the cost of inefficiencies in the Guyana Power and Light grid.
In his speech to the residents, Norton said that Teixeira was being “ridiculous” in making statements on television about what government’s position is with regard to the television station for the region.
She had said on a recent television show that the government would facilitate “as far as possible” the region’s application for a television licence. “Nowhere in the agreement does it speak of as far as possible,” said Norton.
He said too that the region will not accept any nominee for committee chairman who is controlled by the PPP.
Norton said also that the region needs to get back to the land and be self sustaining, eating what it produces.
Kissoon said that the entire agreement must be fully implemented and said that had the government done what they had committed to doing in the agreement then there would have been no need for a meeting to be convened. “We want to get back to work.
We are asking that the government respect out right to develop our economic prospects,” she said.