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Workers of this nation must take a stand against politicians treating them with contempt. We cannot allow ourselves to have these people spend our money on themselves as we catch hell. Whether a ballot was cast for them or not all the money in the Consolidated Fund from which they are being paid belongs to us. They must therefore be held accountable for their political statements, campaign promises, and the delivery of good governance. They cannot continue to think it is business as usual treating the citizenry as a voting farm, valuable for the picking only at election time.
Guyanese must demand we be valued every day, not only one day in every five years. In 2015 when the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change coalition was elected the salaries of the President, Prime Minister, Ministers and Parliamentarians were increased. The People’s Progressive Party/Civic, then in the Opposition, condemned this act. They ran around the country, shouting to all and sundry, that they would not accept the parliamentary increase. When asked if the increase was paid to them what they would do, they said they would return it or donate to charity. This commitment they gave the nation is yet to be seen or verified.
The same operatives who claimed to reject the increase in pay, now that they are in the Executive, have not reduced the pay raise they condemned. Many are currently receiving earnings approximately three times more than what they received as parliamentarians. In fact, they have had more than 200 percent salary increase. As they live off the hog the ordinary man faces a market where milk price has increased. The price of butter has increased. Cooking oil has increased. In fact, essential items have increased under the management of a group who have had significant increase in their earnings.
Last year the President had the gall to tell workers they would not receive an increase in pay. The announcement was made in spite of him, his ministers and parliamentary secretaries paying themselves the Executive salaries they condemned when they were in the Opposition. The PPP/C has taken every cent and more that they condemned as they tell teachers and public servants not a cent more.
Whereas the coalition paid themselves the salary the PPP condemned, each year the ordinary workers received an increase in wage and salary. Workers are finding it hard to make ends meet. With more money being directed to buy essential items little or nothing is left to buy clothes, pay rent/mortgage, utility bills and transportation. Many cannot save for rainy days.
Another evil act of the regime is their treatment of those workers in Regent Street and other commercial areas. One of their first acts was to assure the business community that they will not authorise the increase of the minimum wage to $60,000.00 per month for private sector workers. The Tripartite Committee, which comprises the employer, employee’s representative, and government, had agreed to this sum and it should have been paid. Obviously, the decision was payback time for the private sector’s support in the 2020 Elections. They are being allowed to enhance their profits on the backs of the workers.
Workers, private and public sectors, are catching hell while government and some private sector officials are living large. This is no working-class government. They want us to think the price increases are beyond their control, but governments are not impotent to act, particularly in a crisis of this magnitude. Instead of managing the pandemic they have allowed the pandemic to manage them.
A working-class government would have looked for ways to alleviate the sufferings of workers. Just as how un-budgeted money was found to sustain the beleaguered Guyana Sugar Corporation and pay sugar workers an increase, money could have been found to pay public sector workers. The regime could have reduced income tax (PAYE) and return the child tax credit. This would have put more money in the hands of workers. Guyanese are seeing a situation where foreign companies are being given tax exemption as they are compelled to shoulder the nation’s tax burdens and fund its expenses. Everything has increased except the small man’s wages and salary. This regime has no interest in the working class. They are using the sweat of the workers to fatten themselves.