Alliance For Change (AFC) executive member Nigel Hughes told Lindeners on Sunday that the party stands ready to join them in a public protest against BOSAI for its failure to address dust pollution after reneging on several promises and deadlines.
Hughes and several senior party members hosted a town meeting at Wismar to listen to residents’ concerns.
“The AFC is tired of Linden being treated as the step child of Guyana,” senior party member with responsibility for the environment Gerhard Ramsaroop said. “There has been repeated promises and deadlines that have passed. The AFC would want to see the details of the deal that they have with BOSAI because it seems that so much is just allowed to happen as they see fit.”
He noted that the party will take BOSAI to task on this issue as the company has a string of broken promises and commitments in its past. BOSAI has also failed to move ahead with plans for an alumina plant in the town and as such the party “will be pushing for the hydro plant at Amaila Falls to allow for the promise of the alumina plant to come through.”
Ramsaroop also said the fact that the company continues production despite the health risk to the community shows that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has had minimal involvement in the Lindeners’ dust plight, a pattern the AFC says it has detected in the agency’s approach to similar issues across the country. “We are also going to be asking EPA to fulfil its mandate. So we are going to be keeping the pressure up as it relates to these types of problems,” he said.
Meanwhile, several residents said they were fed up with the limited programmes offered by NCN, adding that by now private stations should have been granted licences to transmit their signal in the town.
Since the down-sizing of the bauxite industry during the phasing out of Linmine, the lone television station which at the time ran two channels, was placed under the ownership of the government-owned and controlled National Communications Network (NCN).
While Channel 13 was a gift to the community from the former Green Construction Company and Channel 8, both were subsequently taken over by the government. Under NCN management, Lindeners have been deprived of feeds of pre-recorded programmes from any other channels currently operating in Guyana and can only view programmes from its station. Recently, it added Channel 10 – the learning channel – to the Linden bandwidth.
In response, Hughes suggested that they might take similar action against the government for its monopoly of the Linden television industry. “We suggest that they should take a day, go down to the city square and protest, shut the city down, they must get television it’s a must, it’s not a gift”. Hughes insisted that residents should not sit any longer and wait on government to act; instead they should demand access at all costs.
Moses Nagamootoo who also attended the meeting said residents voiced concerns about poor quality water, poorly constructed and maintained roads and the high level of unemployment in the town.
Cathy Hughes and Freddie Kissoon were also part of the contingent that travelled to Linden on Sunday. After a Town Hall-style meeting at Wismar, the group went on a walkabout at One Mile where they interacted with residents about issues affecting them.