Phillip Bynoe’s presence on the PPP/C stage for its Sunday, October 16th Linden Rally is a stark reminder of the nature of the governance Guyanese have suffered for 19 years, and a man without a soul.
Along with me, Bynoe was on July 15, 2002, charged with treason. This charge which infers the accused is engaged in acts inimical to the state’s interest, was as a result of my presence in front of Office of the President.
My presence there that day was to lend solidarity to the Lindeners’ struggle for equal rights and justice. I had a loud hailer in my hands appealing to the heavily armed Presidential Guards not to shoot the unarmed protesters who were seeking an audience with the President.
In pursuit of justice, several unarmed persons were shot to death, and dozens injured by trigger-happy Presidential Guards.
At that time, Bynoe and others were leading daily vigils in front of State House with persons primarily from Linden who were seeking the attention of the government to ensure social and economic justice for their community.
This was the call the PPP resisted and proceeded thereafter to gain public acceptance of their discriminatory management by demonising the group and calling them names like hooligans and criminals.
Having spent over five years in the Camp Street jail, in solitary confinement (and my case called just once in the High Court, with 11 of the 12 jurors bringing back a ‘not guilty’ verdict.)
I was finally released on August 27, 2007, with a critical period of my youthful life spent behind bars on a charge I was never guilty of, and of which President Jagdeo used as a pretext to show his ‘omnipotence’ and drive fear into this nation by saying he has forgiven me and hope I have learnt my lesson.
During those five years Bynoe was on the ‘run’ and writing/calling President Jagdeo seeking his pardon. Pardon for what – was he guilty of a crime when the court, who has the authority to make such a judgement, never ruled on the matter.
The people of Linden in 2002 were protesting for social and economic justice, their conditions are worse off today than in 2002.
Among some of the injustices are high unemployment, increasing poverty, poor school conditions, absence of a pension and where such exists, it is measly. Injustices have also been meted out to workers employed by the Bauxite Company of Guyana Inc. (BCGI), a company owned by the Government of Guyana and RUSAL.
And, even after almost 10 years since the protests, Lindeners have still not achieved economic and social justice. Yet, Bynoe wants Lindeners to support such a heartless regime.
It is under this PPP administration that the people of Linden have been targeted in a manner never seen before in this country.
Bauxite which has been the mainstay of this town has seen the government caring little or nothing about what happens to this industry, and how the workers are treated.
Over the years bauxite workers have had to suffer such injustices as the government took away the tax-free overtime they fought for, in as much as they keep it for sugar workers.
Bauxite workers have been wrongly dismissed and going on to two years the government refuses to enforce the Labour Laws to ensure justice prevails. For the many without a job, they have to subsist with the help of overseas support or having to do menial day-to-day jobs, in as much as they are highly skilled.
Linden, a once thriving town, is now dying as a result of the vindictive, racist and cruel PPP regime. The people are crying out for economic and social justice – theirs are like voices crying in the wilderness.
Having spent my early years in Linden (and a product by birth) I know the people of Linden are proud.
They are not lazy or incompetent, but want what is theirs by right. This is the town the PPP chose to make its political pitch on Sunday, October 16th, touting it as the largest rally in history when it came nowhere near the tens of thousands that attended the rallies during the earlier years of the PNC.
This is the town the PPP punished for 19 years even though Prime Minister Sam Hinds was rescued by Linden and worked in bauxite.
This is the town the PPP went to ask for another five years, making false promises of value added products to bauxite and bringing 2000 new jobs when the truth be told they took away thousands of jobs from Lindeners, seeking to bring the people to their knees.
Bynoe did what he thinks he had to do, but for those who know better and believe in better, his support of the PPP and calling on Lindeners to support the party – knowing fully well of the people’s sufferings under this PPP regime – is mere pandering and singing for his supper (eating the King’s Meat.)
And, most importantly, it reveals the nature of the man without a soul – a self-serving person who will do anything to satisfy his interest, even exposing his people to more injustices and deprivations.
I ask the people of Linden not to vote PPP. You deserve better. Do not be fooled by their promises, free t-shirts, small piece to attend rallies and wine down, because should you let them win on November 28th they will make your lives worse off than now. Time to take back Linden, and the entire Guyana from the hands of modern-day ‘massas’, and slave drivers.
Mark A. Benschop
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