Guyana’s Ramotar Visits Linden

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - August 16, 2012

Above: Guyana President Donald Ramotar touring the ruins of the Linmine Secretariat with Public Works Minister Robeson Benn

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Guyana President Donald Ramotar made a trip to Linden Thursday, the site of almost one month of ongoing unrest.

Ramotar’s visit included face-to-face talks with residents of the town, which has has seen the deaths of three nationals and the destruction of a school following protests over a hike in electricity tariffs.

A number of bridges and other buildings also suffered serious damage, including the Linmine Secretariat.

The president said he was satisfied that Linden had “returned to normalcy” following an effort by Guyana’s Joint Services to clear out “blockages” of protesters.

Linden is home to the Bauxite Company of Guyana, which is among the largest operations in the town.

It was forced to close its doors during the unrest, reportedly postponing deliveries for the rest of the year.

George Zhao, the general manager of the company, toured the plant’s site with Ramotar during his visit, which also included meetings with employees.

Ramotar had ordered the launching of a commission of inquiry into the protests and the three deaths, and some residents questioned the president about the progress of that inquiry.

The Guyanese leader had previously attempted to travel to Linden on July 28 until roads blocked by protesters prevented the visit.

“I thought that I didn’t want my visit to be used as an occasion to have anyone getting hurt and for those who seem to have taken over the protest, to use it in a negative way,” he said.

Ramotar also said he hoped the situation would improve “as the days go by.”

Earlier Thursday, St Lucia Opposition Leader Stephenson King called for CARICOM to address the issue.

It’s not yet clear what kind of residual impact the unrest will have on Linden. Guyana’s Prime Minister, Samuel Hinds, recently said reconstruction in Linden could take years.

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