APNU: Sometimes the runner stumbles
Let me begin this column by referring to the official position of this newspaper. It is generally regarded in the newspaper world that an editorial is the position of the newspaper as distinct from what its columnists write. The columnist offers his/her opinion and is not bound to the official gospel of the newspaper. In many newspapers and magazines there is a strip above the columnist’s essay that says the opinion therein does not necessarily reflect the position of the publication. Not so with an editorial.
In KN’s Sunday editorial, it made the point that even a schoolboy could not fail to miss – APNU’s constituencies come from the African-Guyanese community. In the same issue of KN, frequent letter-writer, M. Maxwell refers to African-Guyanese as “the bread and butter of the PNC.” In the KN editorial, the theory was that APNU abstained on the reduction in monies allocated in the Budget for contract workers because these employees were from the APNU’s constituencies.
But it is not as simple as the editorial makes it out to be. When analytical keenness is applied to the contract workers fiasco and the imbroglio over the Linden electricity issue, APNU may have endangered its constituencies. These two situations show that there is a crisis in leadership in APNU that calls into question the competence in that party at the top of its hierarchy.
As former Magistrate Juliet Holder Allen puts it publicly, “APNU is led by three, irrelevant old men.” I am a bit taken back by that statement because age does not matter. It is what you have in your mind and head. If aged persons do not have anything in their minds and heads, sadly people will call them old. One of my all-time favourites is Eusi Kwayana. He is in his mid-eighties and the mind is still as brilliant as ever.
Tom Dalgetty knew my wife since she was a little girl. I knew Tom before I married and I have been married now for thirty three-years. Tom is in his mid-seventies and I see no difference in his thinking as when I first knew him in the beginning of the seventies. I repeat – it is not your age but your philosophy and action that count.
In relation to contract workers, APNU leader, Mr. Granger, gave an interview to Stabroek News (April 22) in which he said that “it was not in the public interest to support an attack on the public service.” This is wrong thinking by Mr. Granger. He went on to state that some choose contracts, others opt for a normal salary. These are very inelegant concepts coming from Mr. Granger.
Deputy Head of APNU, Rupert Roopnaraine, was at the Pegasus two Sundays ago, when in a brilliant power-point description of the budget, Chris Ram showed where a maid earning minimum wage is collapsed under the category of “contract workers” along with someone like Gail Teixeira who takes home almost a million monthly.
Contract workers are not unionized and are at the mercy of one person – the particular Minister. It is a known fact that it is through the contract worker conspiracy that PPP-affiliated persons earn super salaries. Here now is a reality that Mr. Granger missed badly and it is contained in my research, “Ideological Racism: Comparing presidencies in Guyanese History,” for which I was sued for libel by President Jagdeo.
A majority of the super salaries in the contract workers framework are not from PNC or APNU constituencies. It is not true, as Mr. Granger put it, that some opt for a normal salary while others take contracts.
The super salaries are a design by the PPP to benefit its supporters. These people do not volunteer for normal salaries; they are given huge pay packets. On this matter, Khemraj Ramjattan publicly said that Mr. Christopher Ram, who worked out where the cuts should fall, shared the information with APNU’s leadership. I saw that for myself at the Pegasus two Sundays ago with Roopnaraine.
APNU chose not to use the scissors on fat cat salaries because it failed comprehensively to do the research, some of which was available from Christopher Ram.
On the Linden electricity matter, I asked Aubrey Norton why APNU in the first place was discussing the electricity issue. Let us for argument sake say that APNU wasn’t, but Linden was the topic. If APNU was asking for assistance for Linden, then as a matter of realpolitik, your enemy would want something in return. You request developmental assistance, your adversary pleas for electricity hike. APNU got conned.