News Americas, LINDEN, Guyana, Fri. July 27, 2012: For all men, freedom in their own land is the pinnacle of their ambition, and nothing can turn men of conviction aside from that.
More powerful than our disgust about conditions in Region 10, Guyana, to which we are subject, is our resistance to the dreadful current state which my people have been under since 1992. We will still be moved as men and women by our conscience; we will still move to stand up and resist all forms of discrimination against our people. We are doing our duty and have no doubt that posterity will pronounce that we are not criminals as suggested by the ‘untouchables‘ but simple and ordinary Guyanese people who love the good life that is a necessity for all Guyanese.
Every year, people are beaten, shot and killed by the state arm – law enforcement. There is always the usual hush, fear and political elements making the same excuses: the people who fired upon the law enforcement had a knife. It is all a political comedy, revealing mental bankruptcy and failed minds whose one aim is to divide Guyanese and rule by political mischief.
In the aftermath of the unlawful killings committed against innocent youths in Region 10, criminal charges and compensation are in order in any democratic society. In Arkansas in March 2007, Joseph Erin Hamley, a mentally disabled man was shot and killed by state trooper Larry Norman. After charges were laid the family settled for US$1,000,000 compensation. On January 1, 2001, Oscar Grant was shot in the back and killed by officer Johannes Mehserle; the officer was charged with second degree murder, but was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. He made an apology to the family of the victim and was sentenced to two years in prison, while the family received a compensation package of US$1,500,000.
I now call upon the government to do the human thing once they still have the capability of responding at this level of humanity, namely, to compensate the family of the victims of those killed and wounded including the following: mental health counseling expenses; medical and hospital expenses; rehabilitation expenses; loss of earnings; funeral expenses; loss of financial support to dependents of victims who were killed; monetary compensation to the families of those unlawfully killed; criminal charges against the shooters – let the courts of Guyana decide.
The often haphazard economic and social development thrust released by the government has consolidated into a system that is under-developing in its approach. The premise that we in Linden are underpaying as Georgetown pays a higher rate omits the fact that our brothers and sisters elsewhere are also paying a 40% additional levy for managerial incompetence and the lack of political acumen resulting in huge line losses.
Region 10 is traumatized; the endless search for answers came up empty. The lies about there being explosions and other forms of disruption are all attempts to repeat the customary foolishness all over again. To the mothers and all others who have suffered the loss of loved ones and those who struggle with their meager earnings to support the wounded in the struggle, a thousand apologies cannot contain the hurt and anger of the courageous women, the mothers who are persistent, enthusiastic and indefatigable, and who are standing up against poverty and unlawful killings; I offer them my salute and prayers. We shall overcome I know, and we all know that when our women as always take an active part in the struggle no power on earth can stop us from achieving freedom in our lifetime.
After two decades of oppression and brutality, how can these new wounds in our people be healed? All of us will spend many years recovering from an epoch of profound hurt. When we took up this struggle with eyes open wide, we were under no illusion that the path would be a difficult one but we never factored in unlawful killing and more physical brutality. The next 72 hours will be a critical time; the call is for criminal charges and compensation.
The government should not let it just evaporate over another three days, as peace is always welcome. We are capable of burying our dead, licking our wounds, working for a bigger and better Region10.We are ready, so the authorities should roll back the draconian electricity tariff hike, institute charges, pay compensation and let the economic promises made by the PPP/C government since 1992 commence.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Renis Morian is a Guyana Member Of Parliament whose district also includes Region Ten.