Bisram doesn’t care about the Linden issue or the people
Response is made to Vishnu Bisram’s letters, “Lincoln Lewis inaccurate on racial coding complaint” and “Indians did fight for right to vote” (KN, May 13 and 18). He is reminded that the situation in Linden is one of seriousness and he will not be allowed to reduce and mischaracterise the livelihood of a people to that of his devious interviews/polls.
Let me say, Forbes Burnham died 27 years ago, and when he was alive he was held accountable, as such diversion from the living to engage in jumbie politics will not tolerated. This nation is living the horrors of Jagdeo and Ramotar’s cruel, divisive, dishonest and incompetent management and while they are alive they must account.
For the record, both Cheddi Jagan and Forbes Burnham were held accountable by the trade union community I participate in. Ramotar and Jagdeo will not escape similar scrutiny, for while elected on a party’s ticket, as Chief Public Servant their responsibility was/is to serve all the people, including managing the nation’s resources consistent with the Constitution they took an Oath to uphold, and are paid by all the people to so do. The enablers of wrongdoing and fabricators of history who think they will use Burnham’s name to escape accountability by pitting races against each other, engaging in the good/bad dualism to propagate the misplaced notion of superiority/inferiority, they too will have to account.
I stand by my statement that President Donald Ramotar is pursuant of a divide and rule strategy, to escape having the executive account to the people. His and the PPP’s fan-out exercise on the budget issues bear testimony.
The president failed to make known his administration is proposing a 19 to 30 percent increase in electricity tariff, when the mismanaged GPL is wasting approximately 40 percent electricity in line loss. Rather than have the GPL incompetence corrected, the government is seeking to pass on the burden to consumers. Workers are already too overtaxed and underpaid to have to be saddled with another burden, moreso given they are also paying the electricity bills of the president and government officials. This is unconscionable.
GPL says it is seeking a 19.5 percent increase (KN February 6). Roger Luncheon says a 19 percent (KN February 6). Guyana Chronicle, in its April 19 editorial says a 20 percent. The PPP and Office of the President say between 25-30 percent (SN May 13). To escape fixing the problem or being held accountable to fix it, Linden becomes the prop to create division and put in the citizens’ mind that Linden is getting preferential treatment. Linden gets no preferential treatment from this government, neither is its electricity tied to the national grid. This community always had an independent generation of electricity and shared its excess supply with the national grid.
The sweat equity (deferred wages/salary) of bauxite workers, the country’s non-renewable resources/the citizens’ property and the bauxite company was sold by the PPP for US$1. This government refused to facilitate US$14 million to rehabilitate the industry yet at the same time they gave in excess of US$200 million to sugar. This government refused to sell the industry to the workers for the US$1 it sold Cambior for.
Let the PPP tell this nation who benefitted from this US$1 deal. Let them tell this nation why they ignored the Privatisation White Paper, passed in parliament under Jagan’s presidency that says if government privatises property, 10 percent of the shares must be put aside for workers. Let them come clean on their shenanigans and backroom deals on the people’s sweat and with the people’s resources.
Let Bharrat Jagdeo, Donald Ramotar, Sam Hinds, Ashni Singh, Roger Luncheon and Winston Brassington lay before this nation the whole matter of the bauxite industry and the Linden electricity history. Let them tell us what the government did to bauxite workers and their sweat equity, the number of bauxite properties sold by NICIL and the prices they were sold for. Let them come clean on NICIL’s financial relationship with the Linden Electricity Company and Bosai bauxite company. These are crimes against humanity and the culprits must be held accountable.
Bisram has the prerogative to believe the claim Hinds makes on the Linden’s diesel engines and steam turbines. He has no prerogative to percolate this dishonesty on the nation. He is re-directed to Hinds’ letter that he quotes, but ignores the part where Hinds admits, “And yes, two of the abandoned engines were transferred to GPL in 2009 and were totally rebuilt and installed at Onverwagt, West Coast Berbice and Versailles, West Bank Demerara” (KN May 11).
The PM continues to mislead, for while he calls the engines ‘abandoned’ to justify their removal, suffice to say we now know the engines were not only taken to Berbice, but are in two regions the PPP won. The government is still to come clean and tell this nation where is the steam turbine – bought under the stewardship of Guymine CEO Dunstan Barrow – that was removed from Linden.
On who fought for the right to vote, let the record be set straight. Before there were Cheddi Jagan, J.A. Luckhoo, E.A. Luckhoo, A.E. Seeram, J.B. Singh, K. Peer Bacchus, C.R Jacob, Ayube Mohammed Edun, the Ruhomon brothers etc., Bisram refers to; there was a trade unionist named Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow.
In 1926, Jagan was eight years old, when Critchlow and other Caribbean leaders met in the hallowed halls of the Legislature (Parliament), in Georgetown, Guyana, to chart a course for the right to self-determination for the Caribbean’s peoples, via internal self-government, which included the struggle for one man one vote (universal franchise). The other individuals Bisram named were not at the 1926 Conference.
Bisram is also wrong in his claim that, “it was Cheddi Jagan who led the struggle for universal franchise and political independence.” The structured struggle for both of these started in 1926. Let us get our history correct and give jack his jacket.
Conscience can be a hell of a thing. For as devious as Bisram’s polls and writings are, he admits, “There were several prominent Indians who were engaged in the battle for increased voting rights [and] widen the franchise.” This pollster does not know or forgets the importance of words in coding information or he would have known that his statements of “increased voting rights [and] widen the franchise” are clear admittance that the names he mentions did not participate in the colonised acquisition of the universal right to vote. The right to vote would obviously come before any increase or widening of this right.
Bisram doesn’t care a heck about the Linden issue or the people of Linden. Had he any care he would have told Ramotar and others that they must respect the rights of Lindeners, which are enshrined in the Guyana Constitution they took an Oath to uphold. He would have pointed them to the ‘Principles and Bases of the Political, Economic and Social System’ which, “encourage and support the self mobilisation of citizens; and provide appropriate support to any group which is, or is claiming to be, under threat of marginalisation” (Article 38A 3, 4).