Families of men killed in Linden protest compensated

Families of men killed in Linden protest compensated

The relatives of the three men who were shot dead by police during the July 18, 2012 protests at Linden received their compensation packages from the Guyana government on Wednesday at the Office of the President in Georgetown.

The family members of Allan Lewis, Ron Somerset and Shemroy Bouyea received the money that was awarded by the Linden Commission of Inquiry. Those who were awarded claims for their injuries  also uplifted their compensation packages.

Chairman of Region 10, Sharma Solomon who accompanied the Lindeners to the Office of the President meeting said the compensation packages should be seen as another slap in the face of the people of Linden.

In a statement, he asked “how does one justify the assumption that a man…a SON – just past the blush of adolescence – was only worth ONE MILLION GUYANA DOLLARS?  Or that a father – cut down in his prime – warranted a mere G$3 MILLION?  Is this what it means to be compensated? Can these amounts truly be equivalent to the contributions of these three men to their families? Community? This NATION?”

Solomon said the compensation package does not and cannot in any way compensate for the losses, “both past and future” suffered by the victims and their families.

The Opposition parties had called on the government to increase the compensation packages which were recommended by the Commission of Inquiry. The Government rejected those calls.

The killing of the three protesters by the police at Linden in July of last year went down as one of the bloodiest days in the town’s history. The three men were shot dead when the police opened fire on them to clear the bridge that hundreds of protesters had blocked as part of their action to prevent the government from increasing the electricity rates in the bauxite town.

A number of other persons were injured. A Commission of Inquiry was set up and heard testimonies from dozens of witnesses and persons involved in the matter. The Commission pointed fingers at the Police for causing the death of the men but did not recommend criminal charges for the policemen who may have been involved.

The commission came under criticism for its compensation awards which the Linden officials have described as a slap in the face of the community.

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