ALUTA CONTINUA. In the wee-hours of Friday morning Linden protesters were ambushed and tear-gas canisters unloaded. Nobody moved and nobody got hurt. Eight hours before that episode the Army helicopters took to the air dropping leaflet and begging for cooperation to clear the transportation arteries. The people demanded food instead and shrugged the visible blood-thirsty Police and soldiers off. Senior and Executive members of the joint opposition are growing concerned with the big-stick approach to resolving a social issue. The dust has not settled after the shooting and killing of three; the tears have not dried and bamboozling seems to be the trajectory of the corrupt PPP government.    

Almost four weeks of protests has forced the PPP to call out the Army to re-enforce the TODDlers and TSU to help restore order and bring some modicum of relief to Linden and communities beyond. Bamboozling may very well be the PPP’s ambitious contribution to the upcoming 2016 Olympic sports in Brazil; as a resolution to the problems grow faint and remote. No food, no fuel, no farmers, no families can get by. A gallon of gas now costs three towels and food seems to be in short and critical supply.

President Ramotar is ducking and avoiding mutual meetings with the community at a local level. The man needs a make-over.
Lindeners are resolute and are not giving up or giving in and have grown wary of the bamboozling and empty promises. Now they are asking quietly about the PPP wholesaling lands to their fans when ideally, the lands should go to the landless. Guyana’s richest 80 men…all Indians, own all the affected lands outside of the immediate and traditional Linden.

The people are pissed and are rolling this demand into the long list of other social issues.
Apparently when Linden was developed in the pre-independence era the community was essentially a dormitory. Workers…black men mainly came from the coastal region and cut their own logs and applied zinc sheets atop roofs. The expatriate workers were given relatively better homes to accommodate their families. One does not have to look far to see how names of communities were tainted by the rustic and primitive circumstances and physical attributes. Names like ‘Half-Mile,’ Valley-of-Tears and Canvas city….lent easily to the straggles and weaved a quilt of sacrifice. The PPP never gave these people an opportunity to re-settle or re-organize after scrapping the nationalized industry.

The PPP also destroyed scores of other industries and outlets that everyday people found employment and contracts with. These include National Service, Surapanna Farms, Moablissa, quarrying at Konawaruk, Kimbia, Guyana Airways and GUYSUCO. The PPP also took out of service the ferry boats that plied the rivers that brought food, fuel and other needed supplies. Makouria, Lukananai, Torani, Malalli and Jaimito among others were taken out of compliance. New Amsterdam was almost shuttered. Those folks now have to pay the equivalent of US 11.00 to cross the bridge while the average wage is US .50 cents an hour. In other words a worker has to work three days clear before he can get across the toll bridge. On the other hand the Demerara Bridge which links West Demerara, is only US .50 cents to cross. There is a certain pattern, a certain trend….a compulsive trajectory to enhance the socio-economic circumstances of one ethnic group and make others subservient to them. That is the core of the problem and not necessarily the electricity; the electricity tariffs are a pretext or window to the deeper and visible issues.

As the bauxite industry expanded and grew the unions/workers in consultation with the management and development communities gave lands to residents for home, community parks and commercial development. There was a paternalistic and reciprocal lifestyle; the people were loyal and productive and the company gave electricity, water, hospitals, schools, adult education…everything plus decent jobs and wages. Some communities were mobilised to build by self-help and titles were given to home owners. Promises were also made by the PPP and they even went as far as appointing Sam Hinds, a former GUYMINE executive to the position of Prime Minister. Lindeners and Lindenites were not bamboozled and or impressed.
The PPP went over the heads of Mortimer Mingo.. then Region chairman, the community, the civic leaders and business community and gave lands to their friends and mattie-jagabats.

Ten years have passed since the lands were distributed and nothing has been done to them. Those lands were apportioned by the PPP to certain prominent families who were supporters of the Party. Those lands and more were given en bloc along the pro0osed Linen to Lethem highway.

The commercial community in Linden and area business men are hopeful that the bauxite community can become a hub for commerce to service all interior locations such as Mazaruni, Cuyuni, Potaro, Annai, Karasabai, Lethem, Ituni, Kwakwani, Torani, Bartica and scores of other riverian communities. However, more than 20,000 square miles of land have been warehoused and outsourced in the name of love to East Indian families who have no vested interest in the community of Regions 7, 8. 9 and 10.

Lands, rivers, streams, mountains and entire islands have been doled out for no obvious reason except because of accident of ethnicity and political affiliation. Even Amerindian communities that have special protective rites have been hi-jacked and eroded in the interest of greed and avarice.

The McKenzie Bridge, when it was first constructed by GUYMINE, was for train lines and foot pedestrians and a limited amount of cars to facilitate employees. Under GUYMINE too the popular TATA and BLUE BIRD buses were too big to cross the river. The ‘769’ trucks were also a problem and promises were made by the PPP when the Chinese were coming to take over to resettle former employees and give lands to the landless. This never happened.

A totally different ethnic strain now owns the land; they now have to pay increased tariffs for electricity even though the current homes do not fit a model suitable for families. The homes are essentially dormitories and do not make for interpersonal communication, privacy and energy efficient.

The PPP has to step back and allow sociologist, psychologists, economists, development planners and community leaders determine the new approach, a new pathway for development. The GDF force has no business there and irrespective of their appearance to be gentle, Linden needs a common sense approach. To aid the un-clogging of the Linden transportation arteries the GDF has been called in; dropping more than a thousand leaflets and trying to win their trust. There is no fish to wrap with the leaflets but the people are finding something just as abrasive and smelly to convert the paper to. Lindeners are also asking new questions about an old issue of the PPP administration rewarding all their friends with gazillion acres of lands along the corridors of the fair weather road linking the bauxite community with Brazil.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: