Joint services set up base at Rockstone to provide safe passage through Linden
“We are looking stupid. We know that the people will resist but we may have to use some force if necessary. We can’t allow this to go on all the time,” Senior Joint Services official.
The Joint Services have established a base at Rockstone, Region 10, to ensure safe passage through the mining community of Linden in the wake of a three week-long protest that appears to have given way to criminal infiltration.
A senior Joint Services source in Linden told Kaieteur News that although the security forces are still working out a permanent solution to the situation, persons seeking passage through Linden are assured of some unhindered access to and from the interior.
“There is some amount of safe passage,” said the source, adding that the joint services has been providing escorts to several convoys, including those of several Amerindian delegations attending this year’s Toshaos’ Conference in Georgetown.
The assurance comes in the wake of blockages to the gateway to the interior regions including Regions Eight and Nine by protestors protesting the hike in electricity tariffs imposed at the beginning of last month.
The protests led to the fatal shooting of three persons who were among demonstrators blocking the Wismar/McKenzie Bridge on July 18.
The shooting led to further protests which spread to include looting and sporadic attacks on vehicles with persons traversing the access road to and from the interior.
President Donald Ramotar has once again ordered the Joint Services to remove all blockages on the roads in and out of Linden.
A planned visit to the mining community by the Head-of-State a little over a week ago was cancelled after Lindeners defied ranks of the Joint Services who were deployed to clear the roads.
On one occasion, residents sat in front of heavy duty equipment daring the Joint Services operators to run them over. A senior police source has hinted that there will come a time when law and order will have to be restored, even if it means the use of some minimum force.
“We are looking stupid. We know that the people will resist but we may have to use some force if necessary. We can’t allow this to go on all the time,” a senior Joint Services official told Kaieteur News.
But given the soured relationship between the police and citizens over the fatal shooting, which has not yet been resolved, it is anyone’s guess how the security forces plan to go about using minimum force to prevent the determined protestors from blocking the main arteries to suffering communities such as Madhia and Lethem.
The official said that the security forces are fully aware that they may come in for some criticism from political and other human rights bodies, but they will not renege on the job that they are mandated to do and that is to ensure that the way is cleared for residents in other communities that are suffering as a result of the actions in Linden.
The officer said that what is transpiring in Linden is providing criminals with the opportunity to carry out their activities.
“We have found that even criminals from Georgetown have gone up to Linden to capitalize on the situation,” the officer said, referring to the capture of the suspect in the murder of GTM official Bert Whyte.
So far the security forces have detained and charged five persons in connection with the looting of stores in Linden.
“This has gone past the lawful stage,” the Joint Service source declared.
However, the police were forced to release three persons who were arrested following the attack on a truck coming from the interior at Rockstone, after the non-cooperation of the victims.
Police sources in the E&F Division have confirmed that although, the victims have reported the matter, they are refusing to give statements so that charges can be instituted.