The Minister of Home Affairs must be held responsible
As a born and bred Lindener I am confused as to what could have led to a dereliction of duty by the Home Affairs Minister. Something went wrong. From a layman’s view it is hard to believe that taunting by protesters warranted the use of live rounds to subdue the crowd. In my opinion this is a wanton disregard for the lives of Lindeners, and the Minister of Home Affairs must be held responsible.
What is most baffling is the reaction of the security forces to this peaceful event. They appeared to have been caught off guard and resorted to unnecessary excessive force and bullyism tactics.
The Bharrat Jagdeo government spent untold millions to procure protective gear and equipment to modernize the police force; a water cannon, protective shield, riot gear etc. and the necessary training to use same. But instead of seeing the manifestation of this training and the equipment and machinery at work, we Lindeners were greeted by security forces attired in full battle gear (armed to the teeth) as the response to a peacefully planned protest.
Even the less academically endowed would have anticipated that a protest of this magnitude would by nature gravitate to the bridge. If any research was conducted by the dishonorable Minister and his team it would have been noted that the Wismar-Mackenzie Bridge is now central to the struggles of Lindeners. Why then was there not a counter plan to deal with obvious eventualities.
Every precaution should have been exhausted in redirecting the course of this procession. For example: organizing river transportation to take protesters across the river while keeping the vital bridge accessible to motor vehicles. Also, as an alternative, a barge could have been made available to transport vehicles across the river thereby allowing the protesters to occupy the bridge.
Are you saying dishonorable minister that everyone on that bridge was a protester (shame on you)? With the town being in total shut down and the bridge being the only vital link accessible to either shore by pedestrians, how then can you justify shooting persons traversing on the bridge under the guise of them being protesters blocking the bridge?
Presumably innocent individuals have lost their lives through complacency of your officers.
I am now left to wonder what is taking you so long to do the obvious. I expect by yesterday, your resignation would have been tendered and your battery of lawyers working tirelessly to keep you out of jail. Who gave the command to shoot?
The town has been thrown into a state of mourning. Through the incompetence of your leadership, a nation weeps. Does this not affect your sleep? It is sad to know that this is the legacy you will leave.
I call upon all of Guyana to declare July 18th as Linden Martyr’s Day.
Joseph Barnes Jr.