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Guyana’s president Ali was enthusiastic to announce an additional 5% to 8% increase for the joint forces. By the tone of his voice, it was clear that he was proud to declare, almost triumphantly, the meager wage increases for the police force, and to belabor the point, he made the announcement job title by job title.
Was there no advisor to think through this plan and let him know that this particular delivery was a spectacularly bad idea? The president’s announcement made immediately clear the complete lack of respect PPP leaders have for members of the police force upon whom the nation depends to keep the peace and protect citizens. Within 5 minutes of his announcements, it because glaringly obvious why graft and corruption were rife in the police force.
How do you pay a Constable, a human being, a head of household, a single parent, $500 USD for a full-time job and after 10 years of service? A Lance Corporal with 10 years experience now makes $600 USD per month, and they cheer? A Corporal after 10 years of service makes less than $700 USD per month. Why are you cheering?
If nothing else, the president’s pathetic declarations and the cheers of the abused public servants reinforced to the world, the level of discrimination under which the joint forces have been forced to live. It hammers home why the PPP government refuses to negotiate with any union that represents a majority African constituency. It reveals the lack of respect President Ali and his ministers have for mostly African public servants upon whom the entire nation depends. Finally, the president’s proud exhortations reveal just how out of touch he is about the lives of the working man and woman who must eke out a living in a country where food prices increased 50% over the past year.
Today they cheer, but the members of the joint forces will slowly find out that they are being used and abused. Hopefully it won’t take long. Hopefully they will demand better. Hopefully, they will begin to think about the future and ponder how they will be able to provide for their families from such paltry increases. Hopefully they will begin to realise that they deserve better.