Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice.
The Opposition, A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC), in forthright manner accuses the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) of going after the trade unions’ credit unions because in the main their membership is from a particular ethnic group.
In Guyana’s trisector economy- private, public and co-operatives- the concentration of membership in the credit unions is primarily from the African community. This is so because Afro-Guyanese dominate in the trade union movement. The credit union has over the years provided bursary for workers’ children; dividends on savings; loans for home building and renovation; purchasing of various modes of transportation; home appliances among others.
The credit union, which is estimated to have assets valued at approximately $50 Billion, is seen as the small man/workers’ bank. This is particularly given the hassle ordinary workers receive trying to access loans from commercial banks. Within recent times the PPP government has been targeting the credit unions. Below is a statement by the Opposition denouncing the action-
PPP’s efforts to hijack the Guyana Public Service Cooperative Credit Union Limited (GPSCCU) constitute another assault on organizations that serve the interests of particular ethnic groups
In its wild obsession to dominate the political space and to pursue its politics of exclusion, domination and control, the PPP pretends to be unmindful of the historic fact that in ethnically diverse societies, such as ours, efforts of one group to establish supremacy and dominance over other groups have failed with often unfortunate consequences for the society and all its people. APNU+AFC again alerts the nation that the PPP’s obsession with political domination and control can have no good 3 ending for the country. Various forms of resistance and backlash from the populace are the inevitable consequences.
Yet, the PPP/C continues to operate in a dictatorial way.
Another stark case in point is the on-going scheme by the PPP/C to seize control of the Guyana Public Service Co-operative Credit Union Limited (GPSCCU). The GPSCCU is one of the country’s largest and most prosperous coop societies, with several hundreds of millions of dollars in assets. It has long been a reliable and accessible source of credit for public servants. It is also apposite to note that it is a public-service based organization on which Afro-Guyanese workers are the persons who mostly depend on and benefit from the services of this credit union.
In April 2021, at the Annual General Meeting, the membership democratically elected a new executive, headed by Trevor Benn who had served with undisputed success as Chair of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Credit Union from 2018.
However, true to form, under the directions of the PPP/C, the acting Chief Cooperatives Development Officer (CCDO), Debbie Persaud, wrote Mr. Benn to ask him to show cause why she should not direct that he be removed as Chair. Mr. Benn received this letter less than one month after he was democratically elected by the highest number of votes anyone has ever received in the history of the Credit Union.
Quite rightly, Mr. Benn took the acting CCDO to court. In July 2022, Chief Justice Roxanne George ruled that the CCDO acted irrationally, considered irrelevant matters, and blatantly breached the rules of natural justice. CJ George also granted an Order prohibiting the acting CCDO from proceeding to direct the Credit Union to dismiss Benn as Chairman of the Committee. Despite having its case thrown out, the PPP/C has not given up and has filed an appeal. Clearly the PPP’s intention is domination and control.
The frenzied efforts by Freedom House to unseat the democratically elected leadership of the Credit Union are part of the PPP’s scheme to take over the cooperative sector in general. GTUC General Secretary Lincoln Lewis captures the PPP’s motive correctly when he wrote recently:
“The cooperative sector where the African economy dominates is now under siege by government who rather than work with the coops is using the power of the state to take full control. The cooperative economy is worth approximately $50 billion and represents workers’ assets (money and lands).”
A disgraceful aspect in the PPP’s efforts is that the Minister of Labour Joseph Hamilton, who once prided himself as a champion of African and human rights, is an active participant in this PPP plot. The Opposition is adamant that Guyana can, and must choose a different path, one that promotes political and economic inclusion, equality of opportunity, and social justice. We call on all Guyanese to resist the PPP’s politics of domination and control.