Kaieteur News – In this country, so many things happen at a supersonic rate that no columnist or commentator can submit already completed pieces. You simply have to put those on the backburner and look at the unfolding dramas. Lincoln Lewis published an accusing letter in Kaieteur News on January 24 in which he wrote that I sought “to drag the TUC into the fray of alleged support for election rigging.” So many things occurred that my reaction had to wait until now.
Mr. Lewis stated that his numerous rejections of the official results of the March 2020 election were not in his capacity as General-Secretary of the TUC. On the surface one should not quarrel with that. If Lewis stated that his attitude was that of Lewis the person and not Lewis the TUC’s General Secretary, then why should I question that? It is his business, not mine.
As someone who studies this society as a trained academic, I can say without even a modicum of hesitation that I have never seen a position of the TUC that didn’t have Lewis as the spokesman. I have never seen a TUC press conference that was not presided over by Lewis. I have never seen a letter in the press by the TUC that was not signed by Lewis.
In January, a number of so-called civil society groups – Transparency Institute – Guyana chapter, and an obscure entity named, Election Reform Guyana, along with the Catholic Church formed an organization named CSF – Civil Society Forum. (See my critical comments on this group in my column of January 19, 2021, “I interrupt my analysis of 2020 because of these stories”). Guess who represented the TUC as the TUC being part of the group and was photographed with the group? Lincoln Lewis!
So let’s move on. If Lewis didn’t speak for the TUC when he supported the APNU+AFC’s position on the March election, then the question is obvious – what is the TUC’s attitude on the most disgraceful national elections in Guyana’s history? Surely, it cannot be given by the TUC’s President, Coretta McDonald. Her position has to be the same with her party’s – she is an APNU parliamentarian. The second obvious question then, is who is to outline the TUC’s stance?
It cannot be Lewis if the TUC has accepted the results as a fair and legal process that brought to power a legitimate government. It cannot be Lewis because it will create extensive mental anxieties for him since he does not accept the results as pronounced by GECOM. In fact, as the five-month imbroglio was coming to an end, Lewis urged President Granger to use his presidential status to cancel the election results (see my column on this aspect of Lewis’ behaviour – Wednesday, December 22, 2020, “Granger ignored Lewis, will Trump ignore Flynn?)
Let’s assume that the TUC accepts the election was legitimate and the PPP’s victory was legal then Lewis and McDonald will end up with a nightmare on Woolford Avenue – one is an APNU parliamentarian, the other is a crusading force against the PPP’s victory. My opinion is that such a nightmare will not happen because Lewis is the TUC and the TUC is Lewis.
This brings into question the issue of term limit in Guyanese trade unionism – Norris Witter has been the head of the National Workers’ Union for umpteen years now. Lewis is the TUC’s GS for more than 25 years. Patrick Yard has chalked up more than 30 years as the boss of the Public Service Union.
Let’s end with one of the most glaring contradictions in Guyana since 2021 began. The CSF was birthed, according to its founders, to fight for the implementation of Article 13 in the constitution. Lewis in his letter on me on January 24 stated that the Article is intended to create inclusionary democracy. How can Lewis be part of CSF which wants inclusionary democracy and this very gentleman openly called for the loser of the 2020 election, David Granger, to use his power as then president to cancel the election results?
This was an advocacy to disregard the very constitution that Lewis wants Guyanese to benefit from. The constitution does not give a president the power to cancel an election. Not even GECOM can do that; only a court of law. If Granger had done what Lewis urged him to do, then Guyana would have had excluding dictatorship not inclusionary democracy. I have no respect for the other constituents of the Civil Society Forum, but how is it that the Catholic Bishop can be sitting next to a man that wanted the president to cancel a free and fair election?
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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