Eyewitness: And then there were…

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…6 for GECOM CEO

And so it was, there were originally 23 applicants for the GECOM Secretariat’s top post, and it’s now down to six.

Now, unless you were on some manned mission to Mars for the last year and a half, your Eyewitness doesn’t have to explain why all the attention to fill what should normally be just another human resources’ bureaucratic decision. But this being Guyana, human resources are the most politicised aspect of our national life – both in the private and public sectors!! Maybe it shouldn’t be too surprising, since politics is all about WHO gets what, when, and how. And with our ethnically divided polity, it all starts with the “who” – the bailiwick of human resources!!

When President Carter had the PPP and PNC agree to a new structure for GECOM, they focused on the COMMISSION. That is, the body that sets policies and makes decisions as those relate to the holding of elections. And they came up with a process and a structure that both sides felt was satisfactory. It had the merit of demanding effective consultations on the Chair – who held the deciding vote between the equal PNC and PPP Commissioners.

It was obviously felt that the Secretariat – the body that actually performs the tasks necessary for conducting elections – would be professional and just do its job. Silly them!!
We now know a certain amount of hanky-panky had to be going on. And how do we know? Well, the fact that most of the employees in a NEWLY constituted autonomous body were all of ONE ethnic group – that’s how!! And in Guyana, to know which party you support, your ethnic identity is as good a tip-off as a truth serum!! Anyhow, we limped along since 1992, but after the poop hit the fan in 2020, folks decided they couldn’t ignore the elephant in the (GECOM Secretariat) room. So, a start is being made at the top tier, but, eventually, lower staffing has to get much more granular.

The Opposition Commissioners had decided to go only with the three furriners, while the PPP went with a mixed bag. The Chair did a Solomon and combined them into a list of six. So, we wait for there to be only one. But who’ll it be?
One little Indian or one little African? Unfortunately, that’s gonna be the reaction in our dear mudland!!

…the threats

Your Eyewitness knew it had to come to this the moment the 7% increase was announced for all Government workers – the threats from the TUC. GPSU President Patrick Yarde – yes, he personally had to’ve been acquainted with Methuselah, being around so long!! – had already signalled his displeasure. He told the Public Servants (an oxymoron if there ever was one!!) to just do what’s on their contract. If they follow his suggestion, we can expect a DOUBLING OF EFFICIENCY!!

Anyhow, up comes the TUC head, demanding a 14% pay hike from President Ali – which he insists from his vast knowledge of economics – is reasonable. In his letter, he “expects to hear from your office by Friday 3rd December, 2021 by 15:30 hours.” This sounds like an ultimatum to your Eyewitness. So, the President has to say something.

The President should reply that if it’s okay to reduce the Public Service to the 14,000 the PNC inherited in 2015 (from the 26,000 they left), then he can give the 14%.

…the (dead) foot soldiers

One of the lessons learnt by your Eyewitness over the years is that, after the smoke clears on the battlefields, only the bodies of the foot soldiers are left.
The generals at the rear always survive.