Prime Minister Sam Hinds’s statement regarding the proposed electricity hike in Linden, that residents “will have to manage the best way that they can manage” speaks to the vindictive and discriminatory manner in which the PPP governs this country.
This statement would not have been made to any community the PPP considers its own. Hinds and the PPP have to be told that if GuySuCo is too big to fail, the people of Linden and Region Ten are too important to be destroyed. The PM’s statement is politically charged since it targets a community that has never given the PPP the majority.
The rights of citizens take precedence over any element in society and in this case where decisions are imposed on the citizens in contravention of Articles 13 and 38 of the Constitution it speaks to the level of tyranny in the corridors of governance, and it must be confronted.
Linden and the Region must resist at all cost, any impositions, as equally as they insist that their constitutional rights be respected.
The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) was established for the utility companies to appear before them to justify any proposed increase and to equally give opportunities to citizens to represent their interest. While the law permits electricity in Linden to be under the purview of the prime minister he has to conform to the universal principle that respects the rights of citizens to represent their interest. In fact, the PM has to give the communities and interest groups an opportunity to discuss this issue; an act he has not conducted. This is a denial of the right to be heard.
Unlike most Guyanese, the PM enjoys free electricity ever since the mid 1960s to date, first as a manager of the bauxite company, and now as PM. He doesn’t pay a cent for the kilowatts he burns and when he retires as a past president, given the current President Benefits Act, the taxpayers will have to continue paying his electricity bills. Note, the persons imposing increased charges on this nation are freeloaders of the electricity system, and this inequity must also be addressed.
The opposition parties are scheduled to meet with President Ramotar next Tuesday. And it is against this backdrop they are urged to put on the agenda the Linden electricity situation as a condition for engagement. The people have a right to have input on issues that will directly impact their wellbeing. The AFC and APNU are urged to reopen all discussions on this issue and ensure the requisite consultation conducted among all stakeholders, including the residents, LUSCL, the Linden Town Council and Region Ten Democratic Council.
Any agreement arriving from a tripartite discussion has to reflect the input of the communities and the three parliamentary groups; otherwise such engagement will not reflect the will of the people and must be rejected.
To embrace a dissimilar position is a throwback to the days when Linden was a company town and the company arbitrarily determined the people’s wellbeing. This battle was already fought and won and we must not return to those dark days, even moreso that the Constitution protects the victories of the past struggles.
The government’s programme of economic genocide continues to strangle Linden and Region Ten. The valiant efforts by the community to ensure the right to economic self determination continue to face assault by this administration. The most recent comprehensive proposal from local supplier, Linden Utilities Utility Services Co-op Society (LUSCL), that would allow a path for Linden to return to electricity self sufficiency, environmental safeguards and residents cost effectiveness is yet to have this government’s attention.
In fact, the PM refused to allow LUSCL the opportunity to import energy saving bulbs to be distributed to the community as one its measures in electricity conservation.
The PM is aware that unemployment in Linden is approximately 70 percent yet he remains determined to trample the citizens’ rights and impose further economic hardship, telling them that they “have to manage the best way they can,” without listening to their proposals and putting mechanism in place to create the economic environment that would improve their lot.
The Opposition is called on to lend its muscles to ensure every Guyanese is treated with respect consistent with the Constitution!
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