The Guyana Trade Union Congress has expressed dissatisfaction with the statement made by the PPP (People’s Progressive Party) when it was addressing its non support for the United States Leadership and Democracy Project.
The part with which the GTUC has concerns reads, “Guyana has turned full circle to the extent that the country has returned to the days of the mid 1960’s when the AFLCIO funded opposition Trade Unions and political parties to destabilise the Jagan-led PPP Government during the 1962-1964 period.”
The GTUC has expressed reservations over the statement citing the link between the trade unions during the 1960’s and the PPP losing governance. The body established that during that period their concerns with the PPP was that of the “Labour Relations Bill which was seen as an act to control and silence the voice of organised labour” and their “refusal to cordially address the Civil Service Association’s demand for increase wages and salaries.”
The GTUC said, “The trade unions, political opposition (UF and PNC), business sector, and sections of civil society were at the odds with the PPP’s stewardship and these groups were not silent in their disapproval.
“The needs of the people remain and it is the job of every government to pay heed. It was the PPP’s intransigencies that resulted in its 1964 loss of government. The party was removed from office via the ballot, making mute its’ claim of destabilisation or removal by force. Guyana never had a coup.”
It is the contention of the GTUC that for the PPP to make such a statement it means the party has not learned from its mistakes nor has it learnt from the mistakes of others throughout history. “The world remembers the 2000 U.S. presidential election that Democrat Al Gore conceded to Republican George Bush in an election generally considered compromised but the affected political party and nation has moved past the experience, learning from same through institutional strengthening and voters’ education.
“Nelson Mandela was denied his freedom for 27 years but even before his release from prison he began working with his oppressors to positively change the trajectory of South Africa,” said the GTUC.
According to the GTUC In competitive political party politics, government change and interchange all the time. “The PPP, like all parties, has no birthright to govern. Lest it be unknown, forgotten or misunderstood, it is the people who determine the reign of government and not a political party who determines its reign over the people.
“When the people had enough they will remove the incumbent and this goes for every government. The PPP must understand Article 9 of the Guyana Constitution that stipulates ‘sovereignty belongs to the people’ is meant to undergird the principle that the nation’s political authority is vested in its people.”
The trade union body articulated that presently this nation is “besieged with corruption and corrupt officials but the government continues to fail to take action in spite of the preponderance of evidence before its eyes and in the U.S’ courts.”
“Today the basic right to freedom of expression, ideas and sharing of information is challenged as the PPP seeks to dominate every public space by giving away the broadcasting spectrum to their cronies; denying alternative view and the right to response in state media; denying Linden; imposing exorbitant license fees to still/weaken the voice of the small man, a matter engaging the Court’s attention; and withholding government/taxpayers’ advertisements, forcing sections of the media to comply with their wicked policies or turn a blind eye,” said GTUC
The GTUC pronounced that the Local government authority continues to be undermined, because of the obsessive nature of the PPP to dominate every political space. The body said that collective bargaining is trampled for some “as members of the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) and Guyana Bauxite & General Workers Union (GB&GWU) continue to battle a government steep in creating bogeymen and settling imaginary scores.”
“The PPP must take responsibility for its intransigencies, past and present, and come to the realization what good governance is all about. Being elected is a privilege, not a right. This privilege must see respect for all the people and adherence to the principles (Rights & Rule of Law) that ensure this,” said the GTUC.
The GTUC has announced that all major political parties, including the PPP, benefitted from trade unions’ support and advocacy, in and out of opposition and according to the union body “the role of progressive labour in any society is to protect workers (past, present and potential) and create an environment of fairness. Any attempt that threatens this will meet the appropriate response.”
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