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Mar 24, 2023 Letters
How many persons alive today would recall the name ‘Jim’ Adams, more formally registered in the 1960s as JEH Adams whose professional career started as an Assistant Labour Officer in Guyana? Jim migrated to British Honduras, where he rose to the position of Commissioner of Labour.
He subsequently was invited to Trinidad and Tobago to occupy the same position; then was transferred to that of Permanent Secretary, as if in preparation for his appointment as the first Chairman of the newly created Industrial Court at a time of tumultuous industrial relations activities in Trinidad & Tobago.
One does not recall whether such a creative institution was ever replicated in other Caribbean countries. For certain, it was not incited in Guyana with its own record of explosive industrial relations. But it was in those very times there was the consensus reached between Personnel Officers of Private Companies and of Government Ministries to construct a pioneering National Personal Officers Association which was legally registered in 1965. Of the first eight members of its Executive Committee four were Public Servants. Interestingly our meetings were held at Red House, the former official residence of the Chief Secretary (to Governors). It had been converted into a Government Training Centre. Tommy Pooran Singh was the Senior Training Officer.
The NPOA itself organised its own range of developmental programmes, convened mostly on Saturdays at what is now the Hotel Pegasus. There was such crowded attendance by managers of a wide range of professions that they demanded membership – which was formally accepted, resulting in the Association being re-registered as the Guyana Institute of Management in 1972. Noteworthy is the fact that its first Executive Committee members included representatives from as far as Berbice – actually the Hospital Administrator of the New Amsterdam Hospital and then Georgetown Public Hospital – the highly qualified Chetram Singh – to where training programmes stretched.
Indeed, several of the programmes were conducted by invited lecturers — from as far as the United Kingdom. But outstanding as the first ‘Guest’ lecturer was none other than JEH Adams, who was also Chairman of the imaginative Registration, Recognition and Certification Board of Trinidad & Tobago. To confess that I had never explored the rationale for, or implementation of this legislation, but given the current enquiries about the plethora of ‘newborn contractors’ the following actors may wish to explore the concept that informs that legislation; and hopefully confront the issue of the frailty of the Registration, Recognition and Certification – of suspect ‘contractors’ in Guyana: Attorney General, Minister of Public Works; Minister of Labour; and the Guyana Revenue Authority – to be vetted by the Auditor General.
But to return to our energetic past, those who have survived must surely pause to reflect when and where again we can embrace one another – as public and private sector professionals – to brainstorm the Strengths, Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats currently obtaining in our society. For certain, all must recognise the urgent need for the most comprehensive SWOT analysis ever. So that amongst other things we, including our women (of NPOA-GIM), can verify how better we need to coalesce as EQUALS into ONE (multi-ethnic) NATION. The Annual General Meeting of 1969 appointed the following to be the NPOA’s Committee of Management:
President — E. A. Richards – Industrial Relations & Training Advisor, Booker Group of Companies.
Vice-President – E. B. John – Assistant to Chief Personnel Officer Booker Sugar Estates
Secretary — L. A. Muss – Personnel Officer, Demerara Tobacco Company. —
Asst. Secretary — Barbara Y. Osman –Information Assistant, Demba.
Treasurer — T. Pooran Singh – Senior Training Officer, Public Service Ministry
Members of the Committee:
Chetram Singh: Hospital Administrator, Georgetown Hospital
Daphne L. McWatt: Secretary, Londsdale-Hands Guyana Ltd.
The foregoing text comes from the lasting Executive Committee Officer of the NPOA – GIM.
E. B. John
No contracts cast in stone, except Norton and Jagdeo own!
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