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The few Government employees I chatted with said that there is a certain amount of disbelief when they heard the unilateral announcement by the Head of State of an 8% increase in salaries with a declaration of additional emoluments for the joint services which will be examined and improved shortly.
He went on to quote the billions handed to pensioners and others. On the face of it, these sound impressive, however it ignores the massive sums now available to the State from oil, gas, gold, etc and in a country we boast of being the fastest growing economy in the hemisphere.
In a letter, dated September 26, 2022 I shared the results of a survey I did with President Ali, pointing out increases in the cost of living and suggested doubling the salaries of persons earning less than $120,000 dollars a month.
The survey sent showed that as of January 2022, the price of sugar was between $70 and $80 per pound, by September 2022 (date of the etter sent to President Ali), was between $150 and $ 200 per pound, A Karibee Rice, 3 gals sack was $1,360 and hovered to $2,000 dollars, the popular brand among the masses, NATURA MILK was $440.00 per pack, it hovered to $700.00 a pack, all much more than 8% and I gave many other examples.
This announcement as expected, at the onset of the Christmas season is an old technique of softening the blow of an increased cost of living at Christmas time.
A well-known trick used by Massa for generations and as was the case then, to ensure that some of their friends in the Business sector are happy.
In some cases, the back-pay goes to buy unnecessaries at Christmas, imported by Government supporters, including something that irritated me and my parents from childhood, imported flowers, decorations and snow for a white Christmas instead of a green Christmas.
My Mother taught me never to dream of a ‘White Christmas.’
In the modern sense, and accepted globally, is where a Head of State and an oligarchy set aside all of the traditional means of consultation, and do what they please and determine for the people.
Dictatorship is where a governing group ignores the other tears of governance, A dictatorship is where established Social and other Institutions, such as Religious bodies, the Trade Unions, are trivialised if not trampled upon.
A dictatorship is similar to the likes of Charles I, who truly believes that their position impose no limitations on the things they say and do. For those of us who believe in history will recall the fate of King Charles I, when he embraced the belief of divine rights of kings.
Unhappily, one is beginning to get the impression that to get the 50% vote in 2020, is that God, the Creator bestowed upon our beloved President, the right to do such things as he may genuinely believe to be the correct thing assuming that we the people are so backward that this one man and a group now in control know what the Public Servants need and there is therefore no need for even the facade of consultation with the TUC.
But this announcement is not unique. It demonstrates an attitude deep in the heart of the PPP.
I need not burden this letter with umpteen examples, save to refer to the purported Clean-up of Georgetown and other areas without even the decency of informing, much less consulting the established local authority in keeping with the essence and underlying principles of a modern democracy.
A democracy anchored on a time-honoured principle of cheques and balances.
Others have and I am sure will continue to write about the apparent manipulation of the State Media, aspects of the Judiciary and most worrisome, our Security Forces which now seem to act, not with integrity but to satisfy the whims of our political leadership.
At Queens College, my favorite literature was William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. That play has so many lessons, for the people and our leaders but I leave it to the penmanship of the likes of GHK Lall.
Save to remind us of the words of Cassius which referred to the Roman Dictator when in an address he concluded with these words, “ Men at some times are masters of their fates, the fault dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in ourselves, that we are underlings.”
Before his Excellency pontificates again I asked him to remind himself of the wisdom of this proverb, ‘ the road to hell is paved with good intentions.’