Leader of the Guyana Bauxite and General Workers Union (GBGWU) Leslie Gonsalves said over the last two decades Region 10 has borne the wrath of the PPP government because of its political choices, but like all Guyanese, they have a right to chart their own course
He was speaking on Tuesday to a sizeable crowd assembled at the Linden/Georgetown minibus park for the annual May Day rally.
Led by the Linmine Corps of Drums, and accompanied by traffic ranks, residents marched in the traditional Labour Day parade that started at Sunflower Street and Burnham Drive in Wismar and ended at the bus park in Republic Avenue where they gathered for a packed two-hour programme that included short messages from Linden regional and business officials and a number of workers groups and unions.
Gonsalves who delivered the feature address, touched on issues such as electricity, bauxite, NCN and the general economy of Linden.
“Region 10 has been the battering ram for the PPP for the last 20 years and this is so because of who we are and the political choices we make,” he said. “… But I say to you brothers and sisters we are Guyanese first, second the residents of Region 10 and third supporters of various parties, all of which allows us the right to chart our course and determine our destiny. Yet some want to treat us like second class citizens and punish us for who we are and who we associate with,” he added. Gonsalves then noted that “time up” for the PPP/C which had showered its wrath on Linden and denied residents the right to make their own political and economic decisions.
According to Gonsalves, the PPP-led government had rejected a plan to improve the performance of bauxite operations while it was under the management of Linmine. It then took a decision to privatize electricity to Texas Ohio Energy which saw the removal of the use of the steam turbines and diesel generators which were removed and put to use in another community outside the region. “All the economic actions taken on the assets and resources of Linden and the people of Linden were done without consultation with the people and their representatives,” Gonsalves said.
The GBGWU leader also said that the proposed increase in electricity tariffs in the 2012 National Budget is “PPP punishment to Region 10 for not giving them the victory they boasted they would have on November 28th, and intended to put us into further economic deprivation.” He also spoke at length against the proposed incorporating of the Linden Utility Services Co-op Society Limited into the national grid saying that the entity is a co-op society with more than 4000 members and operates the business of electricity supply and maintenance on the Wismar shore which had been denied a distribution licence five times.
Regarding the issuing of television station licences in the community Gonsalves said, “We are fed up with the propaganda drivel that comes from NCN, which thinks it is a political outfit in as much as it is funded by us.” He added that, “We are fed up with them determining what we see and what we hear, how much they will cuss out our leaders and have us see and listen to their insults.”
The union head called on BOSAI to deliver on its pledge to resolve dust emissions in the community. “BOSAI you have given a commitment to settle this problem by July and we are holding you accountable to deliver, we demand an end to the skulduggery and crookery at our expense.” After the formal presentations residents gathered to socialise at a ‘big tent’ gathering.