Dec 24, 2013 News
The Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) has condemned what it said is government attempts to distract the nation from its refusal to pursue a path of meaningful democratic strengthening measures as proposed by the USAID Leadership and Democracy (LEAD) project.
The union, in a public missive, yesterday, said that the outright distortion attempted by Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon, and exposed by the U.S Ambassador “is shameless, but quite consistent with what this nation is witnessing over successive PPP Governments.”
The GTUC said that is not surprised by the efforts of Government to undermine democratic ventures and measures of government accountability even as they continue to pay the traditional lip service to this system of good and accountable governance.
“This nation is reminded of the falsehood of the PPP claim of a return to democracy after the 1992 national elections, ignoring the many democratic processes that were in place, the regularity of elections, the freedom of the vote and the need for the PPP as the new government to strengthen and continue the democracy.”
The GTUC said that all are reminded that democracy is not a singular mark on a timeline, but rather, is a continuous process of strengthening institutions and governance to ensure that the rights of the people are protected, that each can participate in national development and enjoy the fruits of their labour, enjoy the right to freedom of choice and self -determination, with equality under the law.
“The GTUC stands proud in its history created by Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow and organised labour working to achieve a major timeline in the democratic journey of this nation through the implementation of universal adult suffrage which enshrined the right of each eligible citizen to vote.”
The GTUC said that as a matter of principle to continue this democratic pathway it supports the US-led project since it is “consistent with the rights of our citizens, the rights of workers and accountability of our institutions and public officials…This is in our national interest to pursue… It solidifies the people’s inalienable right to self-determination.”
The GTUC said that any effort at capacity building “to improve our knowledge augurs well for personal and national development.”
It argues that any government preventing democratic institutional strengthening is seeking to rule at the expense of ignorance, solidifying their power to deny real meaningful involvement of the masses in decision making that affects their lives.
“GTUC in continuing its programme of Advancing Rights and Rule of Law, announced at its October Triennial Congress that the next three year it will be placing a laser beam on Capacity Building among its constituents…GTUC sees the LEAD project as an opportunity for other stakeholders to embrace similar exercises.”
According to the GTUC’s public missive, Dr. Luncheon’s malapropism that this project is an affront to Guyana’s sovereignty because of Cabinet’s non-approval is an affront in itself to the democratic strengthening efforts that this nation badly needs and which the project is all about.
It said that Dr. Luncheon, the government’s voice on this issue, is advised that an affront to sovereignty is having the Russian owned Bauxite Company of Guyana Incorporated (BCGI) violating the Laws of Guyana and transgressing the rights of Guyanese.
“This is an affront to our sovereignty and dignity.”
The GTUC said that signing an agreement to exclude Guyanese labour in the construction of the Marriott Hotel, and selectively applying the laws to citizens when Guyana Constitution makes clear “Sovereignty belongs to the people,” are further affronts to our sovereignty and dignity.
“These, sadly, were aided and supported by the PPP government on whose behalf Dr. Luncheon speaks to deceive,” the GTUC said.
Dr. Luncheon and the PPP administration are reminded they cannot cherry-pick rights and the democratic journey did not begin nor end in 1992, according to the union.
“They are reminded in the matter of democratic strengthening that while in opposition they were not hesitant to seek and embrace a US role in Guyana governance system…They are reminded that Desmond Hoyte embraced reform measures even though their propaganda points to him being forced to do so…History will now record their response.”
According to the GTUC, lest this nation forgets, under Forbes Burnham the young fledging Republic of Guyana pursued a path of Socialism and Non-alignment as was the popular political pathway for most new nations in the Third World.
Critical support was given by the PPP for this political ideology which was determined to be more to the center than the far left Communist ideology of the PPP and Communist Bloc nations.
“The PPP which today still supports a communist ideology betrayed its communist colleagues in the East, China and Cuba, and visited the corridors of power in every capital in the West, inclusive of Washington D.C, Ottawa and London, pleading for western democracy to be replicated in Guyana.”
It said too that the nation and the PPP are also reminded of the role of the Carter Centre in shaping the electoral system under which elections were held in 1992. “That was just another milestone marked in the democratic journey of Guyana and the PPP, like Desmond Hoyte must continue along this pathway!”
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