President Donald Ramotar was Saturday greeted by hundreds of protesters during his visit to Linden to open an office of the governing Peoples Progressive Party (PPP).
Numerous policemen lined the area leading to the party’s office while protesters stood nearby with placards.
The PPP’s office there was severely damaged by arsonists during unrest in 2012 that had been sparked off by plans to significantly decrease government’s electricity subsidy and steeply increase tariffs.
Region 10 Chairman, Sharma Solomon downplayed the small number of protesters, saying that the town’s response in less than 48 hours was a good enough signal that Lindeners would continue to pressure government into honouring several agreements signed in August 2012.
Solomon said the protest was aimed at illustrating that people would not sit idly by while injustices were perpetrated and an agreement that was signed on to with the blood, sweat, sacrifices and tears of Lindeners was honoured.
“What should be noted is that this is early signs of growing frustration,” Solomon told Demerara Waves Online News (www.demwaves.com).
The Region 10 Chairman claimed that the impact of the shutdown was felt because gas stations, Citizens Bank and other businesses closed their doors Saturday. Asked if it was not out of fear that they were closed, Sharma highlighted that if Lindeners had not forced government to abandon plans to increase the tariffs, “the businesses would have been dead by now or they would have been passing on burdens to the people.”
The protesters were kept at bay while the presidential entourage made its way to the PPP’s Linden headquarters. Solomon flayed the President for paying attention to a party office rather than the general well-being of the nation.
Saying that Lindeners were experiencing “growing frustration,” with the delay in getting two key committees off the ground – a technical team to investigate the electricity situation in Linden and an economic committee. The Region 10 administration had hoped that government would have allowed a television station to resume operations. However, government and the Broadcasting Authority have said that only an application submitted to that body would be considered.
The Region 10 Democratic Council plans to write President Ramotar even as the regional administration takes steps to have certain aspects of the accords implemented.
The United States (US) embassy had Friday issued an advisory to Americans here to stay away from the town which had been the scene of violent protests, looting, arson, shooting and killings during July-August 2012. “It’s just a precaution we normally take and we advise our staff that whenever there’s a possibility of problems encountered travelling, and given the scenario we just want to ensure we advise both American citizens and our staff of the potential of problems. It doesn’t mean that there is going to be problems, “ US Ambassador, Brent Hardt told reporters.
During the latter days of the 2012 protest vehicles to and from the interior were harassed for inducements to allow trouble-free passage or robbed.