President Donald Ramotar and other government officials met on Saturday with members of the diplomatic community in Guyana and heads of development agencies to update them on the Linden situation
GEORGETOWN, Guyana (GINA) -- President Donald Ramotar on Saturday morning met with the entire diplomatic community in Guyana, including development agencies and their heads, in order to brief them on developments in relation to Linden, and efforts by the government regarding the civil unrest that occurred and is still occurring there.
Lindeners have burnt several buildings, vehicles, and blocked roads into and out of the town since protests began on Wednesday. During clashes with police that same day, three people were killed and several others injured.
Presidential advisor, Gail Teixeira, stated that Ramotar informed the diplomatic community about the meetings with the opposition parties and business investors in Linden. He also reiterated his commitment to have an independent Commission of Inquiry, which the government had committed to since the night of July 18, 2012.
Lindeners began a five- day protest against the implementation of increased electricity tariff for the town, despite having to pay less than what other consumers on the national grid pay.
Teixeira said Ramotar also “informed them that today, two representatives from the parties, the APNU and the government, will be meeting to go through the terms of reference for the independent commission.”
She added that the head of state wants the commission to be up and running as quickly as possible.
The presidential advisor reported that the diplomats questioned the president on a number of issues to which he responded and reiterated his anxiety for the Linden community to return to normalcy so that discussions on the tariffs and other issues could proceed.
He explained to the diplomats that, at a July 19 meeting with the business community from Linden, APNU/AFC, the RDC chairman and the MP for Linden, he had raised the issue to begin discussing the tariff issues.
Teixeira said, “They both clearly stated that they had not come to discuss the tariff increases with the president, they were coming to discuss the security issues and that was the only thing they wished to discuss.”
Teixeira said the president reiterated to the diplomats and the heads of development agencies and made it clear that “we are prepared to talk about the tariff increases, and that we want the situation settled but, we also need to find a situation where Linden has to come on board in terms of the electricity rates. It is not a case where there is no increase at all.”
At a press conference on Friday evening, Ramotar stated that his administration is open to further discussion on the electricity tariff increase.
Referring to the political parties, in particular APNU and other persons “who say they are representing Linden, and who may not be Lindeners, they need to get the situation under control so that normalcy can be returned,” was something the president pointed out to the diplomats, Teixeira stated.
While there are also concerns about the investment climate in the region, Teixeira said the diplomats were happy that they were called and, explained that, due to the rapidly developing situation, the president had waited until Saturday to be able to meet with them.
Misinformation and threats posted on social networking sites also came under discussion at the meeting.