Saturday, August 11, 2012


The government today sought to clear the air on what transpired in Linden this morning and the actions of several opposition aligned media houses which incited the latest unrest in that community. Here's a transcript of the press briefing by Presidential Advisor on Governance, Gail Teixeira.
August 10, 2012
Madam Gail Teixeira Presidential Advisor on Governance:

The Office of the President views with utter dismay the events that began in the early hours of August 10th in the township of Linden. The August 8th agreement and initialing of the Terms of Reference by the Government and the Region 10 delegation signaled significant progress in the search for resolution of the issues associated with the Linden protests. Sitting with us here this afternoon, four of us here, were and have been part of the Government delegation that have met with the Region 10 delegation. However, the Government was not unmindful of the complicated situational ground where representatives of the opposition political parties and the negotiators themselves, were sending mixed signals to the community.

The fact that the TOR was signed, testifies to the compromises that the Government made on this matter. It is indeed unfortunate that the rhetoric of the opposition and the Region Ten delegates did not match their vowed struggle for peaceful solutions. The blockage of the road corridor within and through Linden was a weapon exploited to the disadvantage of all.

Claiming to peaceful, their very acts were destroying the livelihood of many and were occurring in total disrespect of the law. There were two media events that the Government found sinister and responsible for fomenting the upsurge that began in the early hours of August 10th.

At 5 pm on Thursday the 9th August, Mark Benschop Radio was warning Lindeners that the soldiers were coming. Later that night, Demerara Waves falsely informed Lindeners that the soldiers had seized control of the bridges, cleared the roads in Linden, thereby disrupting and threatening the talks.

The facts are that soldiers did no such thing, not having entered Linden. Predictably, the protestors were riled up, mobilized immediately and began a period of uncontrolled mob rule. Fortunately lives were not lost. But there was wanton destruction of property and the impact on the livelihoods was and is significant.

The Government continues to warn Guyanese about irresponsible medium. The Government continues to warn its negotiating partners and their mentors about their questionable control of the situation in Linden, pointing out that the extremists have seized the very prominent role of manning the frontline of the protest.

Government remains committed to dialogue, but cannot and will not accommodate the willful rejection of the rule of law. The Government calls on protestors to become part of and support the move to have the blockade in Linden removed.

It is important I think, for the public to know that since July 18th the President and the Government of Guyana have been engaged with national stakeholders. There have been almost 20 meetings over the last 23 days. Today is the 23rd day of the protest and unrest in Linden, and no one can say that there hasn’t been a genuine effort on the part of the Government. The President has exercised extraordinary patience in meeting with the delegations of the APNU, AFC, national stakeholders from the private sector as well as the Region 10 delegation.

The fact that we have reached agreement on the Commission of Inquiry and the TOR and the search of finding persons to be on that commission, as well as the fact that we were able to overcome and find agreement on the TORs in relation to the generation and distribution of electricity in Linden and the inherent cost.

These are two major milestones that were crossed by August 2nd in relation to the Commission of Inquiry and August 8th in relation to the TORs of the technical team to look at electricity. The Region 10 delegation has consistently been moving the goalposts, and we were expected to meet today at 3 o’ clock.

It cannot be coincidental that events took place early this morning. As you know we were in Parliament. Parliament did not end until 3.30 in the morning. I think that may be a first for Parliament although there may have been some time in the 9th Parliament we went even later. And in the midst of those debates we were then informed of the unrest that was taking place in the very early morning in Linden.

Why would this happen at this particular time, when we had reached a point where it looked as if there was no major obstacle to people who were clearing the roads and getting on with their lives and allowing the peoples in Regions 7, 8 & 9 also to normalize their lives.

The documents that we have compiled in relation to the notes of all the meetings show that the goalpost has been shifting all the time and there appears to be reluctance by the Region 10 persons who we have been meeting with to include other stakeholders from religious, business, labour, women etc. There was one issue they were holding onto, the Economic Proposals which we agreed that we would discuss.

The Region 10 delegation as of today, have not presented any proposals and therefore were delaying any discussion on what they said was the 3rd issue that had to be resolved. Each time they have said they are not ready. And so the events of this morning are regrettable, but it is also not totally unexpected. We call on the Linden residents, because many are afraid and they are intimidated. People’s names are being called, threatened, therefore we are asking the Linden residents who we know are a proud people, that they have the best interest of their people at heart, that they not be led astray by these extremists in their midst and by those who want to continue to have mob rule in Linden.

We appeal to the ordinary citizens, many of whom we know in Linden to stay calm and to stay in their houses so that these activities and behavior can come to an end

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