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The story of Nero fiddling while Rome was burning, this ancient story is no different to President Ali and his Minister of Labour fiddling, prevaricating and deceiving while the average worker in the public sector and private sector are burdened with an unconscionable minimum wage of forty thousand odd dollars.
In other words burning and bruising and those in charge seem not to care while with their well funded propaganda machine making handouts to selected groups with no accountability and details given. Reminiscent of the One-Laptop per person debacle.
Three cheers for transparency, three cheers for no-corruption, three cheers for thinking Guyanese are a bunch of idiots.
I grew up and entered politics in the early 50s and understood and believed that Dr. Jagan’s People Progressive Party was created to the working class institution, labelled socialist indicating that its policies, programmes would always be intended to protect an advanced cause of the ordinary man.
His partner in the Independence struggle, and one time Chairman of the PPP, Forbes Burnham once proclaimed that the intent of the Party was to make the small man a real man.
With this massive inflow of oil money, even though it could be much much more if the present crop of political leaders could have good sense and maturity to sit down as I have proposed ad nauseum and go to the oil giants and redo the absolute ridiculous one-sided arrangements that now exists, we will have more than enough to not only double or triple the wages of all public servants and remove vat completely, will therefore force the private sector to do likewise.
Last week I stopped and spoke to some of the protestors at the Square of the Revolution and reminded them of the significance of that area and the 1763 Monument and added a deep personal concern that the Independence struggle that many of us took part in is becoming meaningless as we are being re-colonized by the same mantra, beliefs and attitude, that enslaved many of our fore-fathers and brought others as labourers to toil in the cotton and sugar plantations.
When a so-called workers’ government could hesitate to double or triple government employees salaries or at least increase the minimum wage as has been proposed by a tripartite committee some time ago is unbelievable and unacceptable. This suggests that the President and his Cabinet are doing a great dis-service to the founders of the P.P.P, they claim they are now a part of.
When a people ignore and plunder the sacrifices of their founders, it is akin to a form of blasphemy and no leader of the PPP should today even mention the name of Dr. Cheddi Jagan, as they have now gone full circle practicing anti-working class old time capitalism.
When you refuse to ease the burden of workers in circumstances where the price of basic items goes up everyday and there is an abundance of cash, it is shameless.
I’ve spoken to children in my area, some who go to school with empty lunch kits, but this is a country where the Head of Exxonmobil is harvesting thousands of barrels of oil daily and boasting to his shareholders, what a wonderful place Guyana is.
They are now digging deeper into our soil to harvest our gold making a reality of Eldorado. Never mind, all the while destroying our environment, turning what was once clear streams where you can cup and drink water into murky mercury-laced waterways where I would not venture even to walk with my boots; where the flora and fauna are being destroyed and the course of our rivers and creeks changed, while one of our top leaders is ordained Champion of the Earth.
The workers and ordinary people must now speak up against these atrocities and again I share the sentiments expressed less than a century ago, by Elle Wiesel, a Jewish and political activist when he entoned “ I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
I ask every citizen, irrespective of race, colour, creed or political alignment to stand up to avoid or return to forms of slavery and peonage as we pay homage to our brave parents and grandparents who chanted from field, office and factory that Massa day done.