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Monday President Irfaan Ali invited some trade union leaders to have breakfast with him at the former Governor’s House, now called State House- fully aware the 1st May is the Workers’ Day and the time when workers would have assembled to commence their march to their rally point.
Ali’s ‘invitation’ was not an invitation but a naked affront and disrespect he held for the leaders and the sacredness workers hold on May Day. What he set out to do was divide us on the only day in the nation’s calendar set aside to honour us. His intent was to leave the flock without their leaders. The truth is he did have some success at dividing us.
However, a number of leaders who were invited refused to attend.
The Jagdeo/Ali regime must know workers ent hungry for breakfast. Workers are hungry for equal rights and justice. Workers ent hungry for some scrambled eggs, boulanger choka, roti and toast bread…we’re hungry for our fair share of the nation’s patrimony, our rights to be treated as first class citizens that would see respect for collective bargaining, freedom to join a trade union of choice, protection from being discriminated against on the grounds of race, gender, sexual orientation, class, creed, and the freedom to associate with a political party of choice.
Workers aren’t hungry to stroke anybody’s ego for a photo opportunity to fool the world that all is well when all ent well. Workers are hungry for political, social, cultural and economic justice.
The workers, who comprise the majority of taxpayers, are paying Ali’s salary, which makes him a servant of the people. Workers want him to know their stomachs are growling for strict adherence to the Constitution and Laws of Guyana, and universal conventions, not for his breakfast.
Boiled eggs and plantain, aloo and dhal, beef curry and rice, or pepperpot and bread are not worker’s hunger. Workers hunger for their fair share of the oil and gas wealth; Guyanese labour being treated with respect at all times. Those are just a few of the things workers hunger for…
Some leaders refused to participate in the breakfast and joined with their members at the starting point of the march. Some workers who came out on May Day are either struggling to put a breakfast or three meals on their table or know of others experiencing such challenges.
Ali and Jagdeo may think they could feed workers to stifle the revolution that must come from this hunger.
Let me say to these men, just a few of Bob Marley’s words-many of those you fed May Day morning left your table and, they belly full but dem hungry, a hungry man is an angry man.
The regime has failed us with their willful acts of spitefulness, of economic suppression, of dividing us with lies and hate for they know, and believe me when I say they know, that a united Guyana, a united people, a united trade union, is an unstoppable force against threats to anyone.
The workers’ struggle for the collective good, for better livelihood, better conditions of work, for better communities, for improved race relations, better opportunities for our children, for security, be it social, economic or political, for peace and harmony has got to be on issues of equity, of rights, the rule of law, good governance guided by international conventions and practices.