Mar 08, 2013 News
Social activist Mark Benschop yesterday staged a one-man protest in front of the Home Affairs Ministry over two recent occurrences -police brutality at Marudi and the findings of the Linden Commission of Inquiry.
Benschop, while carrying a placard, told media operatives that he was at the location to stand in solidarity with those who were beaten while protesting peacefully at Marudi Mountain over the weekend. The Social Activist said that to date, the Government, the Home Affairs Minister as well as the Commissioner of Police have not made any public utterance on the matter.
“The Police can’t go around beating and brutalising protestors and peaceful protestors and thinking it is okay to do so,” Benschop noted.
Further he opined that while Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee has been exonerated from the incident in Linden, he is still not fit to be the Minister, because crimes and police brutality continue daily, with no action being taken against those found guilty of same.
“I don’t want him to think that because of what was said in the findings of the Linden Commission of Inquiry… meaning that he is exonerated, that he can function without criticism as the Minister, because he is obviously still not functioning properly in his capacity.”
According to Benschop, from all indications it seems as if the Head of State was only interested in the Minister being exonerated in the findings of the Inquiry, as nothing has been said to date about disciplinary action against the police who have been deemed responsible.
“It appears as if the only thing the President cared about was that the report exonerated his Minister. There is no talk about the police who are responsible for the shooting; nothing about the ranks at Marudi Mountain, and that is why I am here to register my concern,” Benschop stated.
In response to comments that public pressure, as well as political pressure, is not having much effect, Benschop said he admits that this appears to be the case, but he does not intend to give up.
To this end, Benschop called on the opposition parties to “maintain the fight against Minister Rohee in Parliament”.
“If they cannot battle for the people in Parliament I’m reminding him (Mr. Rohee) what he did when he invited a member to take the battle out in the streets. They ought to take the battle into the streets, and by this I mean mass protest, but peaceful protest. He should be removed.”
Over the weekend, photos and video footage began surfacing with police ranks beating protestors in the Marudi trail. The persons, all civilians, are part of a group of miners who are protesting what they are calling their unlawful removal from a mining claim that is registered to a Canadian mining concern, Romanex Guyana Explorations Limited.
About 300 local miners have been operating about 22 dredges in the area for the past 10 years when the Canadian firm appeared to have neglected it.
Only last week the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment issued a statement indicating that it was reviewing the licence of Romanex, after investigations revealed that the company failed to carry out exploratory works in keeping with its requirements.
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