Oct 26, 2021 Editorial
Kaieteur News – This is a new one, this development about “PAC meetings stalled due to stressed out Clerks” (KN October 24). Somebody has got to be kidding, with this strangest of strange situations.
Since everybody is ‘stressed out’ for one reason or another nowadays, and for good and bad reasons, what the clerks resorted to could create havoc in this country, if adopted as their standard operating reaction by other vital sections of the population. We don’t know the definition of ‘stressed out’, as employed by the clerks, but if there is anybody who should complain about being similarly stressed out (or worse), we could find some very proper candidates from some obvious areas.
Nurses and other medical professionals have the worst of it, given the uncertainties and numbing daily assaults of the pandemic, plus other emergency situations. They are working in a war zone, and unsure of their own continuity, since PPE and all the other precautions are, at times, overcome by the versatile virus, which is not just elusive to nail down, but difficult to identify. Those Guyanese who have to leave their families daily and face such dangerous music are the ones who can claim to be justifiably stressed out, and would gain our sympathy, if just from burnout or fear alone.
Likewise, police officers and emergency responders, who don’t know what they will meet, and who could imperil them, have to get out on the road and get going in the weeds, regardless of their stress levels, and their legitimate concerns. They have no choice, and no cushion to comfort them when they fear. We could go on about being ‘stressed out’ and point to those who earn a living selling in our municipal markets that are usually crowded with every manner of citizen, possibly more than a few of whom carry some contagious condition. The point is that whether medical people or law enforcement people or market people, they all have to go about business with hope in their hearts, and trust in the protections that have been recommended, and which they follow. They complain about, or absent themselves, because of being ‘stressed out’ could mean they are out of bread and starved.
It is why we are troubled that the sensitive work of the PAC being delayed because clerks in attendance diagnosed themselves to be ‘stressed out’. Guyanese workers lucky enough to be on the payroll should try that one with Exxon and see how quickly they are out the door. One wonders what the true source of this “high-stress level” is, as it was termed by Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr. Sherlock Isaacs. It seems quite sudden in developing, and raises some suspicions, given the recent public back and forth between sparring representatives of the PPP Government and Coalition Opposition.
There was that matter of the PAC meeting twice a week to clear the backlog of reports. In 2021, the PAC was examining reports from five years ago. Could that be a source of such “high-stress levels?” Politicians in this country have proven to be most resourceful in sabotaging the work of people, when things don’t go their way, and when such recruiting and undermining suits party purposes. We hope that such is not the case in this instance.
Second, the clerks are reportedly unwilling to work in the role, due to the “unprofessional conduct” of some PAC members. Unprofessional conduct is a loaded phrase and could be cover for a slew of wrongdoings, all of which are not necessarily made up or blown up, but real. Unless PAC members were abusive or derogatory or insulting, that claim should not stand. And one would hope, too, that this does not involve issues of a racial or sexual nature. On the other hand, if it (“unprofessional conduct”) is about work pressure to deliver, then that is an altogether different story.
Everyone is under pressure to perform, with expectations high, and corresponding squeezes to fulfill duties unrelenting. It is why we went to lengths to point to medical professionals and law enforcement people, as among those who have to show up and shape up. So, too, must clerks in the PAC.
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