August 5, 2012
The Private Sector Commission (PSC) is encouraged to work with the government , the administration of Region 10 and other relevant civil society actors to findsolutions to the current crisis in Region 10 that are accetable to all stake holders.
The Private Sector Commision cannot expect to parachute into negotiations that have been ongoing. In addition, the PSC must recognise that it is not acceptable for it to join the negotiations without the involvement of the trade union movement and other civil society actors.
It is apposite to note here, that the Region 10 administration has from the inception consulted and involved the religious community and other civil society organisations of Linden in the struggle of the people of Linden in their quest to have the government withdraw the announced July 1st increase in electricity rates. An increase which the people of Linden cannot afford.
It is also critical to point out that what began as a struggle against the increase in the cost of electricity has taken on a totally new dimension with the July 18th murder of three unarmed Lindeners. The PSC can play a meaningful role in helping to bring those who committed these murders to justice.
Let me reiterate our position that we believe their is a role for the PSC in the struggle for the withdrawal of the increase in electricity tarriffs in Linden and for Justice for the martyred three. However, we need to sit and work out the mechanisms and to identify and involve all relevant civil society Organisations.
The PSC’s recent public releases on the Linden issues are very disturbing, the first of which I addressed on Tuesday July 31st. Thus it is disappointing to learn of another release of Thursday August 2nd wherein they reported, “Grave concern was expressed at the lack of notification by the Region 10 Chairman, Sharma Solomon with respect to the request from President Ramotar for the inclusion of the stakeholders from Linden which included the members of the private sector, the union, the religious community and the municipality to attend the meeting which was held on Tuesday at the Office of the President”.
It is clear this body’s objective is in conflict with the people of Linden. Firstly, at no time did President Donald Ramotar make any statement to me or the Region Ten delegation as claimed by the PSC. Secondly, it was after being aware of the PSC’s presence for the meeting of Tuesday, July 31st the Region 10 delegation posited to the President’s delegation that if the PSC is included in these talks then other stakeholders such as the trades union and the religious community should also be involved.
Prior to and during the current protest, regional stakeholders have been engaged in developing a programme and strategy for their social and economic
The Regional Democratic Council (RDC) while respecting the views of every stakeholder, internal and external to the region, wishes to advise that it is the RDC who is ultimately accountable to the citizens of the region.
On the issue of the establishment of a Technical Committee and the participants to be involved, this will be consistent with the region’s mandate to address the plight of the citizens. For the RDC is foremost beholden to the region’s citizens to represent (articulate) and advance their interests based on their input.
It should never be lost sight of that the current impasse between Central Government and Region Ten is one where the residents are demanding the respect for their constitutional right to self determination – social, economic and political. We are where we are today because the people have said ‘enough is enough’.. The people are demanding a beginning of involvement in decision-making that impacts their lives, including the matter on Linden’s electricity and the concomitant tariff structure.
The PSC is urged to pay heed to this trigger point and should the body desire involvement in bringing about resolution, let it be in keeping with the respect the community is fighting to secure. There is already the disregard for the citizens’ rights, unwarranted lost of lives, injuries, and other dislocations which the RDC seeks an end to. It is in this context the PSC involvement should be pursued.
Regional Chairman, Region 10.