The old one, two …from the unions

If anyone within the governing party had any doubts that the GTU strike – under its PNC MP McDonald’s leadership – was political, it would’ve faded away like a snowflake in hell with the GPSU’s threat to strike for the same reason offered by the GTU – the Govt’s refusal to engage in “collective bargaining”. Coming out of the infiltration by the CIA of the trade union movement during the 1960s to oust the PPP, the Public Servants were at the forefront to paralyse the PPP Government to create a crisis which the US and the UK could exploit to delay independence and alter the electoral system.
The unfairness of the Public Servants’ representatives to claim that Jagan’s “not a cent more” response to their salary demands – after he’d accepted that the lower ranks deserved increases but not the elite upper tiers – led to an 80-day strike that destroyed half of the city. And was a death blow to the PPP. During the ensuing 28-year dictatorial rule by the PNC – the union now called GPSU – supported the PNC’s line – including salary caps – and only spoke up at the fag end of their rule.
But after their return in 1992, to the PPP, little had changed when the GPSU showed scant regard for the PPP’s overturning of the IMF’s dictate that the Public Service be further reduced through “retrenching” – which Desmond Hoyte’s PNC regime had started. Intensifying the PNC line – which had the PPP on the ropes with violent street protests that demanded and got the resignation of Janet Jagan – they called a strike in 1999. And demanded an unrealistic 50% increase in salaries – to which the PNC-friendly arbitrator awarded a whopping 36%!! “Never again!!” swore the PPP as they removed the automatic union dues deduction – which then crippled the GPSU when their members refused to cough up dues voluntarily!!
The GPSU now making common cause with the GTU will evoke the historic fears of the PPP of regime change through strikes by the overwhelmingly African Guyanese Government workers who generally cleave to the PNC. The problem is while collective bargaining requires negotiation using either an integrative (win-win) or distributive (zero-sum game) strategy – they only deploy the latter.
For instance, the teachers could’ve tied their salary demands to objective criteria showing improvement in the performance of the children over the past decade – and a commitment towards continuing this trend – if that was indeed the case!! This would be linking salary increases to productivity increases that create a win-win situation with the Government.
But with the GPSU calling a strike, the Govt would be certain it would be unsuccessful – and as such will continue to dig in its heels!!

…from the PNC
They say – following Marx – that history repeats itself – first as tragedy then as farce. In our history, there was the tragedy unleashed when Burnham arrogated all powers into his person – legalised by his personal constitution!! What inevitably followed made us the joke of the Caribbean who commiserated that while they had hurricanes and earthquakes – Burnham’s dictatorship was far more destructive. They, at least, had respites between their natural disasters while we had ours continuously for 28 long years!! Ouch!!
But in the present comes the farce of PNC leaders trying to paper over Hamilton “the thug” Green’s blurting out that they should continue with Burnham’s rigging and violence to get and keep power!! Green even provided a reason – the PNC supporters are African Guyanese who were enslaved and so should automatically be “pan tap” politically – and presumably every other “ally”!! One contorted himself into a pretzel to claim the Thug was only speaking hypothetically!!
Your Eyewitness would laugh if the farce wasn’t gonna be a repetition!!

…from Mad Maduro
To earn foreign exchange Mad Maduro encourages illegal gold mining in the interior jungle area to criminal syndicatos – who prey on our border towns near the Cuyuni. Last week, 23 Venezuelans perished in one mining collapse!! Poor Venezuela!!