May 03, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – General Secretary of the Guyana Trade Union, Lincoln Lewis has stressed the need for the government to be held accountable to the citizens of the country, especially with their resources.
While delivering his Labour Day speech on Saturday, Lewis noted that it is becoming clear that political operatives in the country feel as though the people are their subjects and the resources belong to them “to do as they please.”
“(The Union) wishes to register its disapproval of this massa-thinking and urges the society to recognise and agitate for the enforcement of a system of government that is accountable to the people. The Constitution of Guyana prescribes our rights, and these must be upheld regardless of which government is in office,” he declared.
Lewis then turned his focus to the oil and gas sector, stating that what is currently occurring within the industry is disheartening. He lamented that Guyanese must not be bystanders to transgressions and violations, as exploitation of workers in the sector is rampant. “For instance, should a worker question the conditions under which he is working, the employer retaliates by not recalling that worker after he would have gone on turnaround,” he said. Lewis also outlined that Guyanese workers are not being subjected to equal pay for equal work when compared to their foreign counterparts.
He went on to say that even though the contract signed with the operating company may have its limitations, the Irfaan Ali regime leaves much to be desired in the areas of protection of workers’ rights and their advancement. He stressed that so far, the PPP/C government has failed to work with the Opposition and trade unions to conceptualise and introduce laws, policies and programmes to secure the welfare of the workers of Guyana.
“History has proven if you do not hold the government accountable some of those same governments will turn around and walk on you,” Lewis affirmed, adding that the government would have promised to create 50,000 jobs in five years but so far has brought society no hope. The veteran trade unionist said that it appears as though that President Ali has pulled the job creation idea and numbers out of the American political playbook, however, the difference is that in America, politicians are held accountable by a proactive media and civil society for promises they make and truthfulness of their claims “whether they are realisable or not.”
Furthermore, he highlighted that American politicians have to show the citizens how the plans they boast of will be implemented, but in Guyana, politicians take the citizens for fools. He said that they often tell the media “a set of Nancy stories” and act as though they are pulling numbers out of a hat to make the dreams they are selling real.
He believes that if American politics is copied, then the citizens of Guyana should act like the Americans and hold the government accountable.
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