Oct 02, 2011 Letters
The decision by President Jagdeo to suspend Mr. Sharma’s CNS 6 comes as no surprise to the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC). We were reliably informed some months back that a decision was taken within the political hierarchy to silence this station in the run up to elections to contain its exposure of injustices and prevent the opposition from getting their messages out. Mr. Anthony Vieira’s May 4th commentary was an excuse, not the cause for Jagdeo’s decision, which is the most vicious form of Machiavellian politics of the end justifying the means.
The charge brought against Mr. Sharma and the guilt pronounced by President Jagdeo is a flagrant disregard for the course of justice, for it is still to be proven by the court of this land that Mr. Vieira’s statement constitutes libel and in the instance where such is considered bad taste to President Jagdeo, he must know that in this diverse society this is not a yard stick for his action. The question therefore remains: ‘has it been established that a crime was committed and does the punishment fit the crime?’
It is no accident President Jagdeo made himself Minister of Information. For he thinks he has immunity to violate the sacred right to freedom of expression by abusing Article 182 Constitution which grants the president protection from civil and criminal prosecution for acts committed during the stewardship in office when in fact he is violating his Oath of Office to serve the people, respect their rights and uphold the law without fear, favour or ill will.
The PPP must hear from us. They must be held accountable. They must know enough is enough.
GTUC calls on workers to recognize that all are involved and all will be consumed-be you employed, self employed, retired, looking for work, or employer. The unjustified act of putting scores of workers out of work is similar to the injustices faced by bauxite workers, public servants, sugar workers, city council workers and workers everywhere…it is a clear message from the PPP that they have no regard for the people.
The decision of the president that will cause 30 workers to go on the breadline when translated in an average household of five (mother, father and three children as measured by the trade union) means the livelihood and well being of 150 persons will be affected and those of many others who rely on their purchasing power.
Mr. Sharma and his household will also be affected. Persons have to eat, pay their rent and mortgages, children to send to school, and other daily expenses. Today I spoke with a very distraught female employee of Mr. Sharma who will be laid off, has five children to provide for, and doesn’t know where to turn for help.
This act of crippling a legitimate employer who is participating in alleviating poverty by providing jobs, when unemployment is high and the poor and dispossessed growing in numbers must be of concern.
The trade union comrades are reminded they have a social, economic and political responsibility to the community within which they operate and are urged to speak out and not abrogate their responsibility because politics is about people and people’s development, which includes respecting their right and upholding the rule of law.
This is open war being waged by the PPP on the gatekeepers of democracy and if we are looking towards enshrining democracy then the role of the media is crucial in this regard.
Where other media have been fearful Mr. Sharma has demonstrated fearlessness and a pursuit for social justice by exposing injustices throughout this country, wherever it exists, regardless of whom it affects.
Society must today stand behind him, since in more than one way he has been our voice. Those who also rely on media advertisement to ensure the success of their business must also raise their voices, since none is spared.
As social beings our existence and development are greatly informed by our ability to freely express ideas within the confined of just laws.
It is time therefore for people to stand up and take measure to ensure the media landscape is accessible for every actor in this political process. And the NCN which is state-owned and funded by the people must be able to give expression to the voices of all the people.
The voices of the poor, powerless, aggrieved, underprivileged and dissent must not be silent. Today the GTUC calls on the opposition, civil society and all progressive forces to speak out and speak up, to come out against these injustices and arrest this atrocity committed against the people.
The church which is seen as society’s moral compass up until 1992 played a visible role in educating and advancing the rights of citizens.
Their current visible absence from the national conversation to ensure the realization of this held belief is seen as an abrogation of their moral responsibility even more so that they offer prayers for the president and this government as they transgress the rights of their flock.
The religious bodies and opposition political leaders are reminded that as they speak of peace, the price for peace is justice and together we must be prepared to pay this price.
There are some who are prepared to fight these injustices and the GTUC urges everyone to get on board so we can collectively rid the society of the few who are oppressing the masses, for tomorrow will be too late.
General Secretary, GTUC
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