Business community hugely affected by protest – PSC
- access in and out of Linden difficult
The Private Sector Commission (PSC) is calling on relevant parties to have meaningful talks on returning Linden to normalcy, taking into consideration the adverse social and economic impacts the unrest there has on the community and the country as a whole.
The protest in the mining town, which on Wednesday last originally targeted electricity rates increase, has now taken into account the killing of three residents- Selwyn Boyea, Ron Somerset, and Allen Lewis- by ranks of the Guyana Police Force (GPF).
Access in and out of Linden either from Georgetown or the Linden to Lethem trail is being impeded by protestors, who have blocked the roadways. Minibuses working from Linden and Mahdia are unable to travel to Georgetown.
Hire cars located at the Linden Bus Park in the city are being used by passengers to go to the mining town- but they could only go as far as Ameila’s Ward. However, some city hire car drivers are also affected since most of their passengers come from Linden and Mahdia.
Trucks heading to the interior are forced to use river transport. This too is problematic since they have been stalled at Parika Stelling. The boat to transport them to Bartica will not be working until Tuesday.
Truck drivers are peeved that Government did not put provisions in place given the hassle of travelling through Linden.
A representative of the PSC stated that the protest is having a huge impact on the business community as large, medium and small businesses are closed. A major concern is that productive hours are being lost, especially in the bauxite industry.
“Large supermarkets are closed while some corner shop operators who have been selling through the “side window” are running low on stocks,” a Linden resident said late yesterday afternoon.
According to the representative, the gold mining industry is affected with its sustenance being threatened. The sector depends on Linden for fuel and food but with the closure of the road, gas stations and supermarkets, essential commodities are running low. This could see reduced operations in the mining industry, the representative stated.
It was noted that this situation is not isolated to Linden, since businesses in the city that supply various materials to the industry are also affected.
According to the representative, the situation in Linden needs to be resolved quickly so that normalcy would be restored. The Commission engaged President Donald Ramotar, Leader of the Opposition, David Granger, APNU Member of Parliament Vanessa Kissoon and Region 10 Chairman, Sharma Solomon to discuss the way forward for Linden.
In all the chaos, the representative said the Commission believes there are honest intentions.
Speaking on the electricity rate increase that sparked the protest, the representative said it is a
management issue where proper public awareness was needed. However, the loss of
lives, has changed the landscape of the issue and overshadowed the initial reason for the protest.