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The PPP regime’s imposition of an 8% increase on wage and salaries for public sector workers not only confirms their contempt for rights and the rule of law but the entrenching of the discriminatory policies. We ignore to our peril, the ‘one Guyana’ slogan is not about inclusion but the pursuit of ethnic triumphalism and dividing the nation.
The Right to Collective Bargaining is enshrined in Article 147 of the Constitution of Guyana. The upholding of this right is clearly spelled out in the Labour Laws. To the extent where the Jagdeo/Ali regime upholds this right for some and tramples it for others, we need no more evidence of their discriminatory policies. Section 23 (1) of the Trade Union Recognition and Certification Act explicitly states where a trade union exists the employer must treat with the union.
Many of the workers who will be given the miserly sum are represented by trade unions. The reason the regime is refusing to treat with these unions is not only borne out of deeped hatred for the workers they represent but because they do not want to pay just wages and salaries and improve the working conditions for these categories of work. They are fully aware that when public servants are paid better and their conditions of work are improved these will have corresponding effects on their standard of living, and their independence to make decisions.
The regime finds it politically useful and ethnically emasculating to create two societies. Two societies, despite the laws being very clear, we are all one and deserve similar treatment and protection under the law.
How do they explain to this nation respecting the rights of workers represented by the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) in sugar and signalling to other employers that this union must be treated with, but not for other workers? They have no explanation other than acceptance of the perpetuation of discrimination.
GAWU just concluded a 9 % to 15 % increase in wage for workers at the Berbice Bridge. This company, whereas it is privately owned, have two sets of shares in it- ordinary and preferential. This company sat and negotiated with GAWU because they knew if they didn’t they would have incurred the wrath of the PPP.
Those of us who cannot rely on the PPP to treat us as equal citizens under the law must direct our wrath at them. We can no longer keep this struggle within the borders of Guyana and must move to internationalise the discrimination of the Jagdeo/Ali regime. We must join with comrades like Rickford Burke and others in the diaspora in getting our messages out. For where the PPP has opened full-scale war to deny us equal rights and justice, our survival depends on us getting up and fighting back.
We must let the world know President Ali’s desire to meet with Black Panther star Letitia Wright is not because she is Guyanese and deserving of her accolades but because she is an African Guyanese. The wicked regime is hoping photo opportunities with this icon could fool the world. We must let the world know the few Africans in privileged positions are silent participants to the discrimination, the face of it, and the enforcers of it.
We must let the world know the recent outreach to the churches, the only spiritual sanctuary for the African community to cope with the drudgery of life under the PPP, is a farce. And whereas I say to the leaders of this community God expects them to take a stand against injustice, we their congregants have a responsibility to hold them accountable even as we crusade across the globe to seek solidarity for our cause.
Enough is enough!