May 14, 2021 Letters
In Guyana, this week we had the issue of Superior Concrete Inc. The big relief was that the earlier perception was that the local company headed by Mr. Andrew Mekdeci was somehow involved in an impropriety. This is not the case and the Mekdecis were simply dealing with a client and had nothing to do with the client being in breach of local laws and regulations.
I was relieved because I know the Mekdecis operating in Guyana for several decades, I have found them to be the essence of patriotism, decency and correctness. As a public figure, we ought not to be concerned about what may or may not be the political leanings of individuals and families.
But I can state confidently that the Mekdecis represent the kind of high quality of behaviour that we are short of in Guyana, helping the ordinary people to uplift themselves and contributing to the general good and betterment of our country.
But Dear Editor, the issue of getting Superior Concrete Inc. and the treatment of the Honourable Minister Collin Croal and Sherwyn Greaves, Chief Executive Officer of Central Housing and Planning Authority, when they visited is worrisome and clearly unacceptable.
However, in our present environment, this behaviour is not surprising and this is my concern and I believe should be that of every responsible citizen of Guyana.
For some time now, our political party leaders have drifted away from the philosophical underpinnings of our two National Heroes, Cheddi Jagan and Forbes Burnham.
These men offered ideological guidance to ensure that the ordinary people and the disadvantaged masses were the main beneficiaries as a result of independence and the utilisation of our considerable natural resources.
We’ve noticed the alacrity by which our new political Leaders are embracing the local and foreign private sectors, extolling their virtues, ignoring history and the fact that “the Leopard never changes its spots.”
At his May Day Feature Address in the presence of Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton, the General Secretary of the TUC, Bro. Lincoln Lewis, urged the Government thru the Ministry not to ignore the plight and just demands of the working class.
He made particular reference to the treatment of RUSAL workers and the apparent soft response by successive Ministries of Labour.
I have no doubt that the fulsome statements made by members of the present cabinet about the magnificent role that the local and private sectors are being urged to play have clearly emboldened, some unscrupulous and uncaring private sector entities.
We’ve seen this happening elsewhere where a Government originally boasting that they are for the People allowing those whose interest does not go beyond securing tax concessions and maximising their profit margin.
All the while, the interest of the working class and as we now see in the cement case, our local institutions and laws are completely subordinated.
Let us not fool ourselves that the attitude of the management of Concrete Superior Inc. to local laws and officials did not come about by accident.
Of interest, a group discussing workers’ management relations are of the view that we are being recolonised.
This is not a matter to be taken lightly. The behaviour of Concrete Superior Inc. must not be seen in isolation and I hope that it is not treated as an isolated case that has come to the notice of the public.
In the interest of this and succeeding generations, I again plead that Government and Opposition have a civilised discourse and settle the details of how we deal with the local and foreign private sectors.
Fortunately, lessons in Latin America, Africa, the Caribbean and Asia, offer us many examples to help us avoid repeating the pitfalls of some Governments.
When these companies come, they must know that they are not dealing with a particular political grouping that represents less than half of the Guyanese population, whether the PNC, PPP, the Coalition or otherwise.
These conglomerates are grand masters, in exploiting divisions in a society and I once again plead, there is only one way to attenuate this.
All political leaders need to set aside their personal or petty differences when it comes to the utilisation of our bounteous resources. We should be at one in unity. In unity there is strength and perhaps this ugly incident where a foreign operative can be disrespectful to a Government Minister and a high ranking Official from the CH&PA, might be a classic case that out of evil cometh good.
Remember the song ‘Solidarity Forever,’ we can bring to birth their haughty power, gain our freedom, when we learn. That the union makes us strong.
The sentiments expressed in the song ‘Solidarity Forever’ must not only be for May Day or for the month of May, but must resonate and be practiced every day of the year.
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