Relatives welcome Linden Martyrs memorial monument

DPI, Guyana, Saturday, December 15, 2018

The Government will pay homage next year to Linden martyrs, Ron Sommerset, Shemroy Bouyea and Allan Lewis, who were killed during a fiery protest on July 18, 2012.

This will be done through the construction of a monument to the fallen men in the mining community. Some $5 Million is being allocated for the project which will unfold in 2019.

The 2018 memorial of the Linden Martyrs. The ceremony is held annually on the July 18.

Linden officials, particularly relatives and those who were involved in the protest action, have welcomed this development.

Allan Lewis’s son, Rodwell Lewis, said that he is happy that the monument is finally coming to reality since there were requests made since 2012 for this to be done.

A street in Wismar Housing Scheme was named ‘Allan Lewis Avenue’ in memory of his father.

The mother of Shemroy Bouyea also welcomed the decision. “I am happy about it and I think it is a very good thing,” she said.

Also commenting on the monument was Former Member of Parliament Vanessa Kissoon, who was at the forefront of the protest and played an integral role in ensuring that the martyrs are remembered yearly.

Kissoon said that the decision is sincerely welcomed by the relatives and residents as well. She said that it is long overdue, and will surely signify the ultimate price paid by the trio.

Member of Parliament Jermaine Figueira also described the monument as a fitting representation of the lives lost and it will remind Lindeners of the struggles they went through under the previous administration.

It will also be a reminder of how their resilience led them through those depressing years of stigmatization and marginalization, he said.

In July 2012, Lindeners took to the streets for 36 days to send a strong message against a proposal, by the previous PPP/C administration, to drastically hike electricity tariffs from $5 per Kilowatt to $65.

Ron Sommerset, Shemroy Bouyea and Allan Lewis were shot dead during the protests.

During the 2012 protests, the entire town was shut down, while main roads became impassable. Several government buildings, including a school, were gutted by fire. Public roads and bridges were also destroyed.

A Commission of Inquiry found that the martyrs were shot by law enforcement officers.

In his budget presentation, Minister of Finance Winston Jordan made a public appeal for Government to do better by the martyrs’ relatives.  “I am asking my section here to revisit the compensation that was given to those people; they were unarmed people protesting for their rights and they were killed.”

Region 10 received a 2019 budget allocation of $3.9 Billion, the largest sum to date.

Story and Images: Vanessa Braithwaite.

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