Apart from two comments I gave to reporters who requested my views on the crisis in Linden, this is the first time that I am speaking extensively, on the historic struggle being waged by the residents of that community against the oppressive PPPC regime.
On July 18th 2012 A number of comrades from the APNU and I were in the protest in Linden: when the police attacked the peaceful protestors with tear gas and bullets, which resulted in the deaths of 3 men and twenty four other persons who suffered various gunshot injuries.
That day we heard cries emanating from the people viz:
- “ah get shoot”,
- “a man get shoot in de chest – he dead” and several other such cries as they ran in search of safer places to get away from the viciousness of the police.
It should be noted that the commencement of the shooting by the police coincided with power outages in the immediate area of the violence. It is believed that the blackouts were not accidental but was in fact, part of the orchestrated attacks against the people of Linden by the Government.
The intellectual authors of the heinous crime of murdering citizens that followed must be brought to justice, along with those who pull the triggers
On that faithful day as people ran from the initial line of fire, the police fired tear gas in their direction and followed up by shooting live rounds.
Those of us from Georgetown were caught in unfamiliar terrain, and were lucky that none of us got shot. Our situation might have been different. Residents of the community who realised that we were from Georgetown helped to navigate us to safety. I want to publicly thank them for their thoughtful, courageous and comradely actions.
On August1st we honored our martyrs in the most fitting way. We turned out in our thousands, at the Square of the Revolution and the funeral in Linden, demonstrating solidarity and showing a collective resolve to defy the murderous machinations of wicked rulers, and their paid killers in and out of the Guyana Police Force.
The blood of our fallen comrades must not be shed in vain. In order to ensure that that does not happen we must resolve to wage a protracted struggle on many fronts, for justice, economic advancement and a solution to the governance crisis in the country.
Since the PPPC came to power in 1992, its policy has been to encourage the security forces particularly the police, to shed African blood as a way of waging psychological warfare on the African Guyanese community. They hope to weaken our will to struggle.
The PPPC rulers believe that once they can shed African blood and get away with it, it has the effect of intimidating all Guyanese. The rulers and their armed criminals chose violence as the regime’s response to the people of Linden cries for justice
In light of the repeated shooting in Linden we have to extract “a huge political price” from the rulers. If we fail to do so, our comrades’ martyrdom would be in vain. Ours is a collective responsibility, to ensure this does not happen. The brutal nature of the rulers and their economic/political allies was demonstrated by their insensitivity.
Even, before the murdered trio was laid to rest the arrogant rulers, and the well known selfish elements in the private sector demanded “normalcy”. They wanted peace without justice – in their world view profits are more important than people.
For 20 years the residences of Linden and Region 10 were the victims of government policies which were designed to underdevelop their community. The policy of the rulers to residents of Linden has been to create conditions which forced residents to join the ruling party to get economic and other benefits.
Since it is the rulers who control the money bags they dole out the contracts and other perks to their lackeys. To escape poverty Region 10 residents are expected to sell their soul to the oppressors: to have a decent livelihood.
Apart from economic oppression, the PPPC imposed on the community in the last 20 years a policy of apartheid as it relates to the community’s right to access information from other TV stations apart from the government control station.
This policy was intended to brain wash the people with party and government propaganda. In spite of the community’s objections to the regime policy, national outcry in support of the people in Region 10 and a High Court ruling that the regime’s policy is unconstitutional, the rulers maintain their refusal to allow other TV stations to operate in Linden.
No other community in Guyana has been singled out for such treatment. This apartheid policy has remained in place under every PPPC government and Presidents since that party came to power in 1992.
While it was the unilateral imposition of high electricity rates that triggered the present crisis in Region 10, it is the economic and political repressive policies of the regime over the last 20 years that is being rejected by the masses of people.
This crisis is not simply a local crisis but a national one since the underlining issues is a reflection on the system of governance in the country, the allocation and management of economic resources and citizen’s right to life. These are all national concerns.
In the context of the African community, whether we realize it or not the outcome of the Linden crisis will determine the future of Africans in Guyana – the stakes for us as a community is high.
In these challenging times we must invoke history, our ancestors broke the back of European enforced chattel slavery and in so doing not only ended African enslavement but ensured that other groups coming to Guyana will not be chattel.
The European oppressors had their armies and navies and we prevailed as a result of our determination, in spite of not being similarly equipped. Today, we have to deal with our new oppressors with their race hate mentality and their desire for domination.
The PPPC‘s leadership’s hostility towards the African Community is “deliberate and calculated politics” with the aim of conquest by the use of the “gun”. Ironically, these guns are in African hands.
In their eyes we are not seen as equal citizens in a Republic, to the contrary, the ruling elite in the PPPC see themselves as the new plantation owners.
Comrade Granger, was correct when he noted in his speech on the launching of the APNU – the PPPC runs Guyana like a plantation.
In their scheme of things Guyana belongs to them, the country is their private property and we the citizens, are their slaves. The police and security forces are used as slave drivers with guns instead of whips, and those African ’soup drinkers’ in the ruling party and government are as Dr. David Hinds called them “slave catchers”.
The main slave catcher of plantation Linden was Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, who in twenty years has failed his masters miserably – his utterances on Lindeners response to the high electricity rates – was hostile , and demonstrate personal bitterness against the people for rejecting both himself and the PPPC in the last general elections.
As an African Community we are once again forced to stand up and defend our right to life and that of all Guyanese.
Having failed in Buxton, the rulers in their “wisdom” choose “Plantation Linden” to begin a new round of racial and political repression under the cover of bringing Linden electric rates on par with the rest of the country.
For six years Buxton was the symbol of African resistance against state sponsored extra –judicial killings of young African men.
Today, Linden has become the symbol of African resistance against political and racial oppression, economic and social marginiszation.
In “Plantation Buxton” the rulers were able to confuse the issue by telling the country and world that they are waging war against criminals, the present situation in Linden is different. The issues in this struggle are clear.
And the intent of the rulers needs no uncovering. Their murderous actions speak for them. Their motivation is a desire to punish Lindeners and by extension the entire African community, for not voting for the PPPC in the last general elections.
Who is resisting in this struggle is unquestionable – the entire community – and their cause is a just one.
Very early in the PPPC’s return to office post 1992 general and regional elections I pointed out on numerous occasions that the ruling party had established a “dirty tricks” department with a mandate to undermine opposition activities, and to recruit criminal elements in and out of the security forces to be used politically.
- The shooting to death of Donna MacKinnon outside of Freedom House during a protest demonstration was the work of this committee.
- The Blackie fiasco, and
- the recruiting of paid African youths to attack Indians during PNCR organised post elections protests were early successes of the PPPC’s dirty tricks department.
On many occasions during the crisis of 2002-2oo6, I pointed out that the rulers had planted gunmen under their control in the “Resistance” and in Buxton.
These gunmen had orders to carry out attacks on Indians, to discredit the resistance.
Gun men controlled by the drug cartels have been working with the police and sections of the security forces in operations in the regime’s so called war on crime. This practice of using criminal elements in security operations represents an important tenet of the regime’s counter insurgency doctrine.
Information coming out of the police investigation indicates that there are/were unofficial weapons used in the Linden shootings of July 18 2012:
The more recent manifestation of PPPC “dirty tricks” department at work, and the finger prints of the regime’s counter insurgency doctrine at work is
- the burning down of the school in Linden by a paid PPPC agent, then blaming the protestors.
- What follow next was the security forces invasion of the community in what the rulers are calling “operations final push” And the world must take note that, as usual it started with more African blood being shed in efforts to clear roads blocks manned by unarmed protestors. This contradiction is worth noting – African hands are used to shed African blood. And African leaders have no answer.
In closing it is clear that the rulers have not learned from the struggle against extra judicial killings – we are once floundering in dangerous waters.