Aug 16, 2012 News
Trade Unionists Lincoln Lewis and Norris Witter have strongly condemned the recent events that took place at Linden. The two at a press conference hosted by the Guyana Trades Union Congress yesterday called for all societal leaders to have courage and condemn the acts.
According to Lewis, the riotous assaults by the Guyana Police Force and men dressed in police uniform with no formal identification against the people of Linden must not be repeated. He said that “social organizations, civic society and societal leaders, must muster the courage to condemn government’s management of Linden and their response to the cries of Lindeners outrightly”.
“No one should deny that this government is responsible on both occasions for escalating a peaceful protest into a violent and deadly assault on life and human rights. Their recent predawn riotous assault on Wismar families was calculated to create mayhem and abandon negotiations in order to return to their original state.”
Lewis stated that “they were supported in their aggression against Linden by some sectors of society and interest groups concerned with their own self-interests. This was evident”. “Government bullyism and raw, naked violence must cease…the planting of agent provocateurs and burning of buildings strategic to Linden’s welfare must cease,” Lewis stated insistently.
“Do not be fooled into thinking that the government is the victim and care sufficiently for the wellbeing of the 800-odd children now displaced educationally by the burning of the One Mile Primary School. If so they would have guaranteed their rights and the rights of their parents.
They would have ensured adequate protection of State property.
Government has a responsibility to protect public property and if their intelligence told them that there is a risk of buildings being burnt then they should have pre-empted this by deploying the military as an additional boost to secure properties deemed to be targets.
“We have seen their Hitlerite strategy for decades, fires, orchestrated violence and nurturing of violence, tortures, death squads, corruption of the security forces, and misuse of the armed forces; rising fear and intimidation that quells the voices of dissent, and massive propaganda machinery,” Lewis stated.
“This was the work of people in authority who are prepared to violate the rights of everyone and anyone who stands in their way. Instead of deploying peace-keeping forces, they are instead deploying troops to combat.”
Lewis further stated that the government must be held accountable for misuse of community policing groups.
“The alleged use of forces other than the recognized and legitimate national security forces to execute and instigate acts of violence under the guise of peacekeeping is unlawful. The opposition in parliament must launch an investigation into the operations, arming, funding, and all matters related to the expansion and functioning of community policing groups.
The wanton arming and misuse of these groups are a cause of national concern for they seem to be more of a parallel force operating under the guise of community policing groups. If this is so then these groups must be disbanded.”
Lewis noted that the leaders of Linden have acted with maturity indicating their willingness to continue talks.
“This is not the actions of people who want violence or who desire to reciprocate with violence. This is the behaviour of people who are looking for solutions, people who are prepared to negotiate but who believe that they must do so from a position of strength and not weakness.
The government clearly does not want this, but our national interest dictates that notwithstanding the recent developments, these negotiations must continue in an atmosphere of mutual respect. Lindeners have the right to determine who speaks for them and this tragedy must not be allowed to undermine their self determination.”
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