Nov 12, 2008 News
The Alliance For Change supports Kaieteur News’s Editor-in-Chief Adam Harris, Chief Magistrate (rtd) Juliet Holder-Allen and the many other Guyanese in their struggles to receive their benefits that are owed to him.
This is according to leader of the AFC, Raphael Trotman, who yesterday expressed surprise at the fact that Harris has been waiting for 16 years for what is due to him, adding that persons should not be made to beg for their benefits owed to them for their services that have been rendered to the country.
He added that he was also heartened by, and supports the call by General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party, Donald Ramotar, who said that Harris should be paid what is due to him.
According to Trotman, there is no way in a proper working democratic society that persons should have to wait 16 years to receive what is rightfully theirs.
Speaking with this newspaper on Monday, Ramotar, in an invited comment, said, “I believe that whatever money is due to him he should get…from the point of view of principle.”
When asked if the 16-year delay in paying Harris his pension and gratuity had anything to do with the fact that he may have been viewed as pro-PNC, Ramotar stressed that the PPP’s position has never been to victimise people for their views. He said that the party has struggled over the years for freedom of expression and justice to be meted out to each citizen, regardless of creed or political affiliation.
“Whatever the case, it has to be something other than political…PPP has no interest in denying anybody what is theirs.”
Harris is still awaiting the payment of his pension and other benefits that are due to him since his forced resignation as Editor-in-Chief of the Guyana Chronicle when the PPP/C came into power in 1992.
According to Harris, he had preferred to keep the issue out of the public domain, and to allow the democratic system to work, and work fairly; but recently, whilst editing an article concerning former Chief Magistrate Juliet Holder-Allen’s fight for her benefits, and learning that her matter was being expedited after she protested, “It awoke my senses…I was not prepared to beg, but this money was something that I had worked for, and I am forced to fight for it.”
“I don’t want to protest, but I don’t think that anyone should be made to beg for their entitlements.”
According to Harris, earlier this year, Dr Luncheon called him and informed him that the longstanding matter was being addressed.
Luncheon had arranged a meeting with the Chairman of the GNNL Board of Directors, Keith Burrowes, and had worked out the details of the GNNL aspect of the payment.
“The cheque sent to me a few months ago by GNNL subsequent to that meeting was an insult.”
The cheque was returned to GNNL.
The matter is now with the Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh, who has requested that Harris provide testimonials to support his period of employment as a teacher. Harris began teaching in 1966.
Mr. Harris hopes that, this time around, there will be no more empty promises.
“Sixteen years is a long time to wait. I am long past the age of retirement. I am closer to my grave than at any time in my life.
“I hope that now that the matter approaches its seventeenth year, there will at last be some resolution.”
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