Deaths in Linden1431 25 Jul, 2012
Mr. Damon: Mr. Speaker, and every other Member who is presented in this honourable House, I want to firstly congratulate all the nurses and doctors who gave yeoman service to their patients on the 18th July, 2012, because without their services more deaths could have occurred. I take my hat off to them.
When there are these situations there is some amount of people who will have to be congratulated. I want to congratulate also the Hon. Member Cde. Vanessa Kissoon, Hon. Member Cde. Morian and all those who gave assistance to the wounded so that they could have reached the hospital on time. Let me also say that I want to congratulate our President for quickly opening the doors of his office to the Leader of the Opposition and the AFC to discuss the way forward for a…
Mr. Speaker: Hon. Member, I had given a ruling earlier that we will not invoke the name of the President in aid of any aspect of a debate, but your point is noted.
Mr. Damon: I am sorry about that, Cde. Speaker, but I still want to say that on Wednesday, the 18th of July, was a dark day for all Guyanese and if there was not quick intervention the matter could have even spread further. I take my hat off to all those who interceded.
Is this the result of the Commission of Inquiry, our President, APNU and AFC agreed to? Of course, other persons, I was told, with ‘outside expertise’, will also sit on the Commission of Inquiry. I am suggesting that making this decision, at this level, to have the Hon. Minister of Home Affairs resign, is a step in the wrong direction. It is a clear fact that it is removing the job from the appointed Commission of Inquiry which is slated for the second of 2nd August, 2012.
Sections 138 and 137, as stated by the Hon. Member, the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Granger, that people are entitled to peaceful assembly, but I want to ask, was it a peaceful assembly? [Hon. Members (Opposition): It was.] I am asking. Thanks for the answer. I am not saying that lives should have been lost, but why? The police recounted stories of missiles hitting them. [Ms. Kissoon: And none of them died!] Alright. I am not saying so; the police said that. If it was so, who knows? I was not on the ground. Do you see what I am saying? I was not there. I maintain that a decision to impeach the Hon. Minister of Home Affairs, at this level, will compromise the investigation by the Commission of Inquiry that would be set up on the 2nd August, 2012.
I want to say openly that I have a lot of relatives living in Linden - I used to live in Linden - and I got several telephone calls from the people of Linden. Even when the picketing was going on we got ration…, which went through Bartica, which went through Sherima and eventually it reached my family in Linden.
I am saying that I want to extend, on behalf of myself and every Member on this side of the House, our sincere sympathy to the relatives of the deceased and to all those who have received injuries. I only hope that one day, or very soon… [Ms. Kissoon: Compensate them.] Just now I will come to that … all of the problems that we are having there, right now, will come to an end. When I went on to the veranda out there and saw all of those concerned people I was wondering: politicians have jobs to do. Why is it that the politicians do not try to ensure that they get over with that issue so that people can go back to their homes and eventually derive benefits for what they are supposed to do? I think that the Members of the Opposition from that area… I understand that they are hurt; I bear that hurt also because, who knows, maybe somebody there is my relative, but I am saying let peace prevail, let bygones be bygones, continue to negotiate with the Government so that we can bring an end to this situation. It does not augur well for the people of this country. Guyanese are peaceful people. Let us see how we can overcome this.
Where the Minister of Home Affairs is concerned, I am saying that the Hon. Member Mr. Clement Rohee is doing a fantastic job as the Hon. Minister of Home Affairs and we must continue to recognise him for that. Instead of us making the decision, leave everything, comrades, to the Commission of Inquiry.
Thank you. [Applause]
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