OP faces protest over ‘divide and rule’ Linden power hike

Some of the protesters yesterday

By Mandy Thompson

Around 50 persons yesterday protested in front of the Office of the President (OP) to express solidarity with Lindeners over a hike in the cost of electricity, which organisers said was evidence of a divide and rule strategy by government.

The protest, organised by Red Thread and the WPA, also saw calls for President Donald Ramotar to address the issue and make the playing field for electricity billing level.

APNU protesting: Leader of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) David Granger, (first in front row from right) stood in front of the Office of the President yesterday as he protested against the increased electricity tariff in Linden.

Just after 11:30am, a group of protesters, who included Opposition Leader David Granger, WPA Executive David Hinds and Georgetown Mayor Hamilton Green, gathered in front of OP holding placards with various slogans that reflected their disappointment at the treatment of Linden. In particular, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds—who has responsibility for the electricity sector—was singled out by some of the protesters, who carried placards bearing writings such as “Sam Hinds is a sell out”, “Out of that small small money u want pensioners pay more for light”, and “Shame PM Sam Hinds.”

Red Thread member Karen De Souza told Stabroek News yesterday at the protest that the recent electricity hike in Linden is a divide and rule move by the government. She said, “we cannot buy into the argument that electricity should be raised in Linden because the unemployment and cost of living is high.” She also stated that persons on the coast have never protested before about the huge amounts they pay for electricity. She added that government’s effecting the hike in electricity costs in Linden, which she described as “patch work,” should not be the case.  Instead, she said, government should focus on reducing the electricity bill of persons on the coast, who are paying for the inefficiency of the Guyana Power and Light Company (GPL). This, she said, will make the playing field level.

De Souza further noted that the free electricity that ministers of government benefit from represents a situation of injustice in the country. More demonstrators arrived as the protest went on, including Granger, who stated that the main opposition APNU is in solidarity with the people of Linden. He stated “we are calling on the central government to halt any move to the imposition of increased tariffs and the president to sit down with the regional administration to seek a solution that is acceptable with the people of the region.”

Some of the protesters yesterday

He further called for government to introduce a sensible economic strategy for the entire country, while saying that GPL is badly managed and that this has resulted in the increased price of electricity.

Granger also noted that despite the high cost of living faced by persons countrywide and unemployment, the case of Linden is a special one. He stated that the town’s historical contribution to the country and the high level of unemployment faced by residents are reasons why the electricity hike should not be implemented and a different approach should be found.

Meanwhile, Green said he was protesting in solidarity with the people of Linden, who are being punished. “What the government ought to do is prepare a proper development package for the people of Linden,” he added.

Also, David Hinds voiced his support for the protest actions taken by residents in Linden. He said, “we urge people out there not to pay any light bill but stay on the streets because they have a right to stay on the streets and we are continuing to support them.”

The recent electricity hike in Linden has spawned a number of protests by Lindeners and non-governmental organisations over the past few weeks.  Residents blocked the entrance of the Bosai bauxite plant in Linden as part of their ongoing protests against the hike. Leaders in Linden also applied for permission to stage another protest next Wednesday, which they say will see a total shutdown of the town.

Comments  

Billions diverted by prison unrest partly to blame for GuySuCo severance shortfall in budget – Trotman

Alliance for Change (AFC) leader Raphael Trotman yesterday said the diversion of billions to the security sector after the destruction of the Camp Street prison was partly responsible for the government not budgeting the full sum for severance payments to laid off sugar workers.

Cops seek motive for Pomeroon murders

  The police were up to yesterday afternoon still working to ascertain the motive behind the murders of Ambrose Baharally and Martin Godette, the Pomeroon farmers who were shot dead on Sunday and a potential witness was taken into custody to assist with the investigation.

Ramotar claims gov’t ignored promised India loans for sugar industry

Former President Donald Ramotar has accused the current government of accepting loans from India that he initiated except those pertaining to the rehabilitation of the sugar industry but State Minister Joseph Harmon says he is unaware of the claim and has urged that the former head of state prove it.

Child rapist sentenced to 45 years

Omadat Persaud, who was on trial for raping a five-year-old girl in 2015, was yesterday afternoon sentenced to 45 years in jail after a jury unanimously convicted him of the crime.

Mother urges justice for vendor killed by city cop

The mother of Marlon Fredericks, the mentally-challenged vendor who was fatally shot by a member of the city constabulary on Sunday, yesterday called for justice for her son, while saying that an autopsy found that he died of a gunshot wound to his chest.

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly.

We built stabroeknews.com using new technology. This makes our website faster, more feature rich and easier to use for 95% of our readers.
Unfortunately, your browser does not support some of these technologies. Click the button below and choose a modern browser to receive our intended user experience.

Update my browser now

×