What can we say about labour the day after “Labour Day” that wouldn’t sound laboured? Most Guyanese are sick and tired of the unwillingness of the labour umbrella groups to bury their differences and get on with the business of representing the interests of labour. Haven’t they learnt “there’s strength in numbers”? After all, even though they’re competing for bigger pieces of the (economic) roti, haven’t business representatives remained quite focused, thank you?!
But that’s the crux of the matter, isn’t it? Business mavens may have their political preferences, but when it comes to their actions, they’re always willing to do what’s best for their business, and work with whichever party is in power. And that’s the problem with the labour organisations. They put political preferences ahead of their memberships’ interests, and so, once the political parties are divided – and by definition they have to be – labour will be divided. It’s as simple as that!!
But maybe there’s hope. Recently, the sugar union GAWU – which isn’t only aligned with the PPP, but its president is one of their MPs – has been speaking out quite candidly against management of the Government-owned GuySuCo, just as vigorously as when the PNC was in power and had thrown 7000 of its members on the breadline! It even came out in protest when its wage issue was being kicked down the road by management. That’s healthy and very responsible. The Govt, as owner, was also very responsible in bringing the two sides together and hammering out a compromise. Sugar brings in foreign reserves.
Unfortunately, the same level of responsibility isn’t displayed by the PNC-aligned unions. In fact, when the latter was in office and played fast and loose with its promises, not a squeak was uttered. As a matter of fact, the president-for-life TUC leader and leader of a bauxite union pretty much became a defender of the status quo that placed workers’ interest at the bottom of the totem pole.
Then there’s this other affiliate union of the PNC – the GPSU – which was comatose over the preceding five years, but suddenly found its (stentorian) voice. Surely its members can’t be oblivious to this blatant hypocrisy. The leadership in the form of another president-for-life, Patrick Yarde, is threatening strike action. To what end? He’s become like the boy who cried “Wolf!” one time too many. The entire productive economy is under threat from the COVID-19 onslaught, and the Government is forced to walk between the raindrops in balancing workers’ imperatives to work and keep body and soul together and still keeping the nation safe.
And the TUC wants to cut the limb on which we all perch?!
…and PNC corruption
Corruption is a cancer that can destroy any society. If not excised promptly, it metastasizes like a cancer from within, and eventually makes ever institution collapse. Soon the body politic dies. So, just as with all cancers, the secret for successful treatment is early detection and excision! That will obviously affect the infected institution, but eventually that institution will recover; and, most importantly, corruption will be prevented from spreading.
Within months of the PPP settling into office, we’ve seen some possible symptoms of corruption in one state corporation. But, to their credit, the subject Minister jumped into action with his officers to staunch the damage to the institution. President Ali then weighed in to emphasise that there should be no sacred cows when it comes to corruption in his administration, and that he’ll show zero tolerance for any manifestation.
It’s quite unfortunate that the PNC – from its first incarnation – left a legacy of corruption in everything it touched, starting with rigging elections.
The people will have to ensure this is eradicated totally!
…for the ERC
So, will the ERC censure PNC MP Amanza Walton-Desir for saying “PPP supporters” are congenitally “a bunch of mentally lazy people”?
How many times will PNC officials get away with their provocative racist rants?