Jun 23, 2021 Letters
I listen, I learn. Though I had a strong sense before, it is confirmed again, how democracy has lengthened darkness and oppression in this land. Take working, as an example.
PPP leaders took the long view with the Guyana public service, and moved smartly, determinedly. Leaders dismantled the traditional public service brick by brick, and introduced citizens to the demolished structure that now exists. When I say ‘brick by brick,’ I mean rules and standards, professionalism and documenting and accountability. Regarding personnel, there were many embedded benefits that beckoned from re-engineering and restructuring the public service architecture.
First, this infiltrates and undermines a traditional opposition bastion. Second, it reinforces political power with bureaucratic power. Third, the first two objectives are realised with re-peopling with those of certain ethics, known loyalties, and definite hunger. These three qualities together meant that there is cover for the corruptions that now rage. Out with PNC agency tyrannies, in with PPP conjured monstrosities. And the way to do it was in the employment documentation.
The old Civil Service Rules were refurbished and then relegated to the library, where dust evidenced lack of use. Along came that seductive figure called employment contract. It was a wizard’s stroke doing away with pay scales and tenure and proceedings. Remember: the long view and energies devoted to systematic destruction. For the employment contract also had a magic bullet to settle political scores, score racial points, and point the way for corrupt people to rule public service roost.
In the standard employment contract, there is that protective (and destructive) termination clause. In one word: Notice. In another: legal. Now two more: final solution. The PPP has exhibited a degree of vindictiveness that is part payback for sugar, part for elections injuries. Termination through notice has sent mainly Black public servants home. Termination with notice has opened the door for trusted Indians to fill the void, with a few black faces thrown in for cosmetics, and who play the game. In the house, there is always room for particular shades of servants. Adds nicely to the colour scheme, good for PR.
What is revealing today, is that people who worked under the prior PPP government, performed, survived, are now transformed into redundancy due to failing the perceived, unsaid, loyalty test. The job that was required to be filled then, and for which they were hired under the then PPP government, they suddenly can’t deliver any longer, or is not needed anymore, or they should not be trusted with today. Given the visions harboured and plans that are afoot, I gather that more and more Black public servants in this country are an endangered species. The required notice of employment termination is confirmation that they are the wrong people in the wrong place at the wrong time before the wrong masters. It is not the job itself, but the kind of people holding it. Notice follows. From the oppressive underbelly of democracy comes the weaponisation of employment contracts.
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