Champion of workers’ rights Komal Chand to be cremated today

The late Komal Chand

The body of the late Komal Chand, former head of the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU), will be at the Chand’s residence at La Grange, West Bank Demerara (WBD) from 9:30am today (Tuesday) for viewing and will then be taken for cremation at the Ruimzeight Foreshore,  West Coast Demerara (WCD) at 12pm.

Scenes from the funeral service:

Chand’s body arrived at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) on a Caribbean Airlines flight from Cuba on Friday evening.

The veteran trade unionist died in April while receiving medical treatment in Havana, Cuba. He had been accompanied there by his wife.

The National COVID-19 Task Force (NCTF) had in May granted approval for the body of the late trade unionist to return to Guyana from Cuba, after initially having denied the family’s request for the body to be returned to Guyana.

Chand joined the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers’ Union (GAWU) in 1975 as the union’s organising secretary, and had later served as the organisation’s President up to the time of his passing.

Described as an individual who was committed to his work, Chand had dedicated his career to fighting for the protection and rights of workers in the sugar, rice and numerous other industries in Guyana.

Chand is being hailed by many as a true leader on workers’ rights. Until the time of his death, he served with distinction and pride.

According to GAWU, it was his dedication that saw him rising to become the Union’s General Secretary and later its President. He was an outstanding trade unionist and very much committed to the advancement of the working class in our country and even beyond.

Outside of GAWU, he served as the Vice President of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) and a member of the Presidential Council of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU).

According to GAWU, Chand displayed great fearlessness and was never afraid to stand up to authority. He also recognised too that for the workers to advance, they must have a seat at the decision-making table.

It was in this context that he entered the world of politics and became a Member of Parliament, serving from 1992 until the dissolution of the 11th Parliament in December 2019.

In that august house, he stood with and advocated on the workers’ behalf as he used his voice to promote pro-workers’ policies and strategies.