Encouraging Event, Disturbing Developments…
By GHK Lall
Kaieteur News – May our workers be inspired never to give up hope, never cease to struggle for what is due to them, on this Labour Day. It is fitting and encouraging that during the celebrations to mark Labour Week, the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) called upon member unions to “resist the urge to be puppets of political parties.” It is encouraging for that to come from this umbrella body, which must itself go higher and live what it exhorts of others. Too often, the plight and welfare of workers become secondary in the relationship(s) unions foster with local political parties. Though it is much more advantageous if the political party a union ties itself to is the government in power, this really does not matter in the scheme of things in Guyana. Political affiliation aces most other considerations and, though it can be the kiss of serious sickness, union leaders are known to participate in the disturbing. That is, they develop too close an association with one or the other of the two influential political parties. There can be only one set of losers in such a cozy relation -workers and their rights, their general welfare.
For when a workers’ union gets too tight with a political party, union leaders are expected to manifest the helpful friendliness that goes with such fraternal bonds. They risk becoming extensions (puppets and mascots) for the political party, to the detriment of their membership. Union leaders lose credibility, workers fall behind, become disillusioned. The veterans who know this, must do better in both action and appearance.
Then, during the week that elusive and jack-in-the box prodigy, Peeping Tom, had cause to speak of what was called the new oligarchy, the commercial friends with powerful political friends. Because I have transformed into simpler English, my preference is for the few, the favoured, the less than one percent of one percent cabal. It is a not-so-secret society operating in broad daylight, thanks to the laden gravy train directed the way of its membership of less than 75 Guyanese bigshots swaggering around and flaunting themselves, their relationships, and their hauls of the nation’s rich prizes. As Mr. (or Ms.) Tom posited, they buy, rise, expand, and control. They become a class by themselves, and accumulate power, which means that they can influence who retains or receives their blessings. In this instance, blessings have nothing to do with heaven or the spiritual. Rather, they are tangible and visible, as in money. Money, and more of it, means the biggest contributions to the outcome of elections.
For a long time, there were whispered words about the secret Elders of Zion, Swiss bankers, and the like. There doesn’t have to be any whispering anymore, for we now have, what I term, this disturbing apparition that I name the Young Guns of Guyana. Their only god, only allegiance, is to money. Not the wellbeing of this society. Not democracy, or free and fair, or any of that old bull. In the heads and hearts of this oligarchy (less than one percent of one percent of the population), this is the bottom line: be our political honey, and there will be mountains of money. It doesn’t discriminate between PPP/C and PNC, which is as democratic as things can get. They should be run out of town, but there are no takers for that demanding undertaking. Disturbing, and in the extreme.
Finally, I heard that a former State engineer will be probed by the police for lying to the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC). My first reaction was that either he lost his political godfather(s); or that he was a rank outsider, a Lone Ranger with his own hustles. He must have cut somebody out of the action he got. I am settling for outsider status for him, since the unbelievable took place. It was that both PPP/C and PNC operators jumped on him, named him, and hollered for the police. What a show! Now, though I have no liking for what the engineer is alleged to have done, it would be most encouraging for the PPP and PNC members on the PAC to go after the others. Like Regional Officers, other engineers, and corrupting and corrupt dirty tricks contractors. Try the contract arrangers and composers (including inside the Tender Board) for real results. Now that would encourage significantly.
(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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