The priority of the government is restoring and rebuilding Linden that was hailed as the terminus for Guyana’s interior and hinterland regions prior to the unrest that led to the death of three and the wanton destruction of property.
“We have to work extra hard to build back the confidence in this community, with a skilled work force, with hard-working and dedicated people… to build back Linden as a safe destination for investment,” President Donald Ramotar told Lindeners on Thursday during a visit to the community.
The Head of State was accompanied by advisers Gail Teixeira (Governance) and Odinga Lumumba (Community Development), and Public Works Minister Robeson Benn.
The rebuilding of the One-Mile Primary school that accommodated 830 children and which was gutted in an arson attack during the height of the protest is among the priorities in the restoration efforts.
Also 100 years of engineering records were lost when buildings went up in flames. Records to validate National Insurance Scheme contributions were also destroyed.
Minister Benn assured that repairs will have to be undertaken on the Kara Kara Bridge and he examined where there is need to repair the Wismar/MacKenzie Bridge that protestors attempted to destroy. Early last year the government spent $200M on repairs to that structure.
Teixeira estimated the losses to be in the billions, which the government will have to acquire through supplementary funds in the National Assembly that is controlled by an opposition with a one-seat majority.
The town, which was locked off by protestors, who staged a three – week long resistance to the new electricity tariff. They blocked the main arteries to the town, resulting in a prolonged period of delay for people, goods and services destined to other communities, and several buildings were burnt to the ground. President Ramotar’s planned visit to the town on July 28 had to be postponed as a result of the blockades.
But following appeals for calm by sections of civil society perturbed by the situation, and an open letter by President Ramotar to Lindeners on August 7, the Joint Services advanced an operation that succeeded in suppressing protestors and clearing the road of blockades.