Region 10 Chairman says President’s visits a mere “photo opportunity”
Sharma Solomon, who is leading negotiations with the government for the people of Linden, described President Donald Ramotar’s visit to the town yesterday as a mere photo opportunity, and wants the government to withdraw the security forces from the town.
Solomon said he was not informed of the visit by the President, even though his team was locked in negotiations up to the evening before the visit.
Another of the Linden negotiators, Vanessa Kissoon, a Member of Parliament for the town, went as far as describing the President as being “disrespectful”. She explained that it is a normal practice of courtesy for the President to inform leaders of areas he plans to visit ahead of time.
Sharma said that while the President is free to visit any part of Guyana at any time he chooses, those in the community would have been able to describe for him “the vibes” on the ground.
On the first occasion Ramotar planned to visit Linden, Solomon said guidance from on the ground caused his security team to advise him against visiting the community.
Solomon repeated frustrations about the fact that the security forces continue to fire at Lindeners and have been harassing young men and women, almost driving them off the road at certain hours of the night as if a curfew is in place.
While young men of the town have been placed before the court for using obscene language, Kissoon said she personally witnessed members of the security forces hurling vulgar abuses and threats against Lindeners, including women. She wanted to know who would be charging the policemen.
Lindeners say they will come off the streets when their demands are met, and that includes an immediate cessation of activities by the security forces and their complete withdrawal from the town.
The Region 10 officials expressed alarm that even though residents are the ones who identified the alleged arsonists in the burning down of the school in the town, the Police are claiming they do not have any evidence to charge him.
That notwithstanding, the Region Ten Chairman said the people of Linden are determined to rebuild the One Mile Primary school, and that work would start this Sunday.