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Pt 1- Acknowledging the source of our problem
It is over important for the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) to place in the public domain, once again, its position on governance in society, for the Congress is of the firm conviction there can be no peace and harmony when any section of society is marginalised and denied equal rights, freedoms, participation, and benefits. Critical to change is awareness. With awareness comes knowledge and the impetus to act, having acknowledged what’s wrong, and the desire to right the wrong.
Established in 1953, the GTUC sees its work as pivotal to influencing national decision-making in keeping with the creation of a just society, built on United Nations Human Rights Declarations and International Labour Organisation Conventions. For the GTUC, politics is about people and people’s development, impacting our lives from the womb to the tomb. Therefore, none can ignore the acts nor actions of politicians and allow them to make decisions in the absence of our input.
It is the long-held belief of successive leaders of the GTUC and a grounding philosophy of ours that the nation’s problems and development are best addressed through broad based national involvement that respects the inclusion of the workers of this land-past, present and potential; unionised and non-unionised.
The Political Objective of the Guyana Constitution clearly outlines: “The principal objective of the political system of the State is to establish an inclusionary democracy by providing increasing opportunities for the participation of citizens, and their organisations in the management and decision-making processes of the State, with particular emphasis on those areas of decision-making that directly affect their well-being.”
All governments given a mandate to serve are duty bound to give true meaning to the stated objective, by creating an environment to enable active and meaningful participation of all.
As a society founded on diversity, discrimination, distrust and division, social weapons used by enslavers/colonisers to divide and conquer and thus maintain their status quo while denying fellow human beings what was rightly theirs, every Guyanese knows or ought to know that if violations of human rights and dignities were wrong under the colonial masters and enslavers then similar acts of indignities and divisions cannot be acceptable now. These were strategies used in the pre-independence period to enrich colonisers and keep the colonised divided, impoverished, subdued, and controlled.
Today, even as racial divisions, apartheid and human rights violations have long been displaced and condemned in modern states, even by their former architects, these strategies of the pre-colonial era continue to haunt every Guyanese. In Guyana the governing group, now representative of the planter class, enriches themselves off us, keeping us impoverished and under-developed, fighting each other over scarce resources. They engineer efforts to divert our collective energies from the source of our problem and collectively working to fix same in a land blessed with bounty and smart people.
History is replete with stories of achievements when we, as a people, stood together. In unity we have demonstrated the strength that saw the achievements of emancipation from chattel slavery, the end to indenture-ship and colonialism, achievement of political independence and the right to self-determination. Yet having come this far, the question lingers:
Why are we where we are – a society plagued with distrust, divisions, discrimination, corruption, lawlessness, oppression, wanton human rights violations and social degradations; and lack of will to unite and fight against injustices even as a few drain our life force and national wealth?
Where is the will that Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow and the workers demonstrated in their collective fight for social, economic, and political justice; the will that brought Cheddie Jagan, Forbes Burnham, Peter D’Aguiar and the colonised together to fight against colonial rule? Where is the will that can today bring this nation together to fight against an uncaring, inept, evil government that is only blessed with the art of mass corruption and propaganda? Where is the will to fight against any new government formed by any political group which believes it can escape the laws of the land, violate the constitution, and marginalise any section of the Guyanese society?
To be continued…