Thirteen victims of post polls violence receive assistance

Stabroek News
August 3, 2001

Thirteen individuals were yesterday recipients of monetary assistance after being assessed as victims of post-elections violence.

This initial group is part of some 300-odd persons identified by the Assistance Assessment Committee for relief after suffering losses, damage to property and possibly injury during the post elections disturbances particularly on the East Coast Demerara.

The 13 recipients, Brian Austin, Dhanwantie Phagoo, Charles Fortune, Malini Cheong, Kumkarran Chulhai, Bibi Nazmoon Khan, Pauline Franklin-Arjoon, Oswald Fraser, Sherry James, Gangaram Bachan, Nazim Mohamed, Faizal Kanhai and Dannie Sibchand received varying sums. Nizam Ahmad, whose name was on the list yesterday, was not present.

In brief remarks at the Office of the President ceremony, President Bharrat Jagdeo, apologised to the recipients on behalf of the country for the actions of a small group of persons who were bent on causing unnecessary stress.

According to the President, the state should be able to compensate its citizens after recognising the difficulties and suffering of such persons. While thanking the assessment committee for a commendable job, the President committed the government to a continuance of its work to move the country forward which included making its people feel wanted.

It was his hope that the exercise would sent the message to all persons that the government cared about their welfare and about what took place and was keen to try to correct these wrongs.

Earlier, Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr Roger Luncheon stated that the monetary assistance was the first pay out of the $150 million earmarked by the Office of the President to assist victims of post-elections violence across the country.

According to Dr Luncheon, it was the intention of the office, by the end of the week, to have the names and allocations of other identified victims deposited at a commercial bank where they could go to make their claims. The government would pay the commercial bank to undertake the exercise since the Office of the President was not a convenient location to facilitate such.

Dr Luncheon also outlined seven categories into which persons had been grouped to facilitate payment. These include those severely injured to warrant medical attention into which would fall those who eventually recover and those who are permanently disabled.

Other groups comprise those who suffered loss to household effects through robbery, fire and other damage, loss or damage to residential property, those who had losses through accident as in the case of the fire when other buildings were affected.

Also to receive assistance are farmers, and persons who suffered loss or damage to residential property and commercial goods due to looting.

Speaking with media representatives after receiving her award, James, who farm suffered damage, stated that she was not surprised since the government cared and delivered. She also remarked that it was not only one group of people who suffered as some might have thought, but that everyone suffered.

Khan from the East Coast Demerara, who claimed to have been the victim of a beating, robbery and terror was also thankful for the assistance given. She felt that she was the target of attack because of her political affiliation.

A similar assessment was made by Fortune who stated that everyone had a right to support whichever group they wished without fear of victimisation. He said he was willing to forgive the persons who harmed him, although he could not forget it.