“Sam don’t come because you are not welcomed here…”, demonstrators chanted yesterday as they blocked the entrance to the Bosai bauxite plant in Linden.
Sometime after two yesterday afternoon word got around that Prime Minister Samuel Hinds was expected to pay a visit to the bauxite company in Linden.
And by 3pm a group of fifty persons had converged at the Bosai North Gate entrance carrying placards, singing the solidarity song and chanting.
Some of the placards read: “Sam you not welcome in Linden. Must I prostitute myself to pay the bill. Sam where the 2,000 jobs y’all promise Linden. No jobs, no money, must our boys and girls turn to drugs to pay a light bill. Hinds say reform in electricity while Linden remains at 70% not working.”
They chanted: “Who must pay deh subsidy, Bosai. Pay or get out.” among others.
When contacted upon hearing of the protest, the office of the Linmine Secretariat and Bosai stated that Hinds was not expected in Linden yesterday.
However sources close to both entities confirmed that the Prime Minister, among other government officials, was invited to the commissioning of the Bosai No.14 kiln dust collector but the event was subsequently postponed.
Asked what was the reason for the postponement, the Bosai official said that the general manager of the company and some other senior officers were out of the country and requested that they be present for the commissioning.
The source and a press release from Bosai said that the commissioning is likely before August 1, 2012.
At the forefront of the protest were members of parliament Vanessa Kissoon and Renis Morian. Others in the protest included several business entrepreneurs, housewives, vendors, babies and school-age children.
For the approximately three hours that they spent demonstrating, vehicular traffic attempting to enter or leave the compound from the northern gate at Republic Avenue had to be redirected to the southern gate at Casuarina Drive, a five minutes drive.
Kissoon told Stabroek News that despite the fact that they learnt that the visit by Prime Minister Hinds had been postponed, “We want him to know that he is not to bother to come because he is not welcome here, we don’t want Sam Hinds here, his eyes pass people with the things he has been doing and getting on the TV saying, we don’t want Sam here.”
Meanwhile, several of the protestors stood firm on the position that the increase in the electricity tariff would mean doom for Linden.
One businessman said that prior to the increase his monthly bill ranged in the vicinity of $88,000. “Based on my calculation I would now have to be paying somewhere around three hundred thousand dollars monthly, where in heavens name can I afford that. With business in Linden I struggled to pay eighty-eight thousand, much less this now, can’t work,” the businessman said.
Several of the protestors who hail from the Mackenzie shore of Linden had in their possession a document from the Linden Electricity Company Inc. (LECI) captioned: “Re: New Electricity Rates for residents effective 1 July 2012”
It clearly laid out a table showing the cost for consumption from 50 to 500 kilowatts consumption per month, with the old charges and the new charges effective from July 1.
“These new rates will undoubtedly require you to conserve electricity and
put an end to wastage of
electricity,” the memo to residents stated and it was signed by Chief Executive Officer of Linmine/Executive Director Horace James.
James and Andrew Forsythe, the two heads, are scheduled to leave for China at the end of the week.
According to sources close to LECI the average consumption for domestic billing at Mackenzie on a monthly basis exceeds 500kwh.
Regional leaders have been urging residents not to pay the new charges when they would have received their July bill but rather the old charges.
Since the increase was announced residents have staged several protests in Linden and Georgetown. And today Red Thread and the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) are to stage a protest in Georgetown while leaders in Linden have applied for permission to stage another protest on Wednesday 18th July, which they say will see a total shutdown of the town for the duration of the protest.