Eyewitness: Changes…and PNC exchanges

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Back in 1998, then Leader of the PNC, Desmond Hoyte, smarting from his electoral loss and an attempted leadership coup, was asked why he’d expelled Aubrey Norton as General Secretary (GS) of the party. He famously opined that Norton was his “creature”! While the term is ambiguous and Guyanese have latched on to one of its less flattering meanings, Hoyte meant that the GS is appointed totally at the discretion of the Leader, and, as such, was his “creation”.

But the subtext of the designation has always been that the PNC’s GS is expected to slavishly follow the whims and fancies of the “Comrade Leader”. The term, of course, comes out of the communist party organisational ethos when – starting with Joseph Stalin in the USSR – he was the leader of the party, and when in office, was head of the Government. Mao was also the GS of the Chinese Communist Party. Cheddi Jagan was the GS of the PPP for the longest while. In Guyana, the PNC’s first General Secretary was Jai Narine Singh, and after he quit – saying Burnham was “racist” – he was succeeded by Eusi Kwayana, then Sydney King. Hamilton Green then served till 1974, and was removed since, though Burnham’s willing creature, he was considered too ambitious. Burnham then set the criteria for his successors – pliable and obsequious!

When Granger was inserted as PNC Leader, Amna Ally was chosen as his General Secretary, succeeding Oscar Clarke, who was a holdover from the days of Hoyte, and was the epitome of the faceless GS, who shape shifted at the direction of the Leader. And we know how loyal Amna Ally was to Granger! So we come to new PNC Leader Aubrey Norton’s choice for General Secretary – Geeta Chandan-Edmond. And the first thing we must disabuse ourselves of is the notion that Norton wouldn’t pick a creature like his predecessors. Apart from the fact that abused GSs become abusive leaders, contrary to his fervent protestations, he’ll be out to create a PNC in his image. That’s the PNC’s oligarchic compulsions and imperative of power!!

From that standpoint, Chandan’s a good choice. Firstly, she has no base in the PNC she can count on to challenge the leader – she was AFC!! And she and her husband has resigned from that party because the AFC HAD FOLLOWED THE PNC’s LINE TOO SLAVISHLY!! Ironic, ain’t it? But that’s the way the (political) cookie crumbles!! Then again, she’s Indian- Guyanese – which was probably her greatest qualification in an elected PNC executive that’s lopsidedly African- Guyanese. But with the PNC’s reaction of “JUDAS” to Charrandass Persaud’s principled stand, Chandan won’t be trusted further than she can be thrown.
Which ain’t very far!!

…in Private Sector wages

The Ministry of Labour just established a minimum wage for the Private Sector – after extensive discussions with stakeholders from that sector. And the magic number is $60,000 monthly!! Now one thing that’s a constant across the world is that Private Sector workers earn more than Public Service workers. And that’s mainly because the Private Sector is geared to producing results for their owners and shareholders – which then translate into greater profits that can be used to pay higher salaries to attract the best workers.

But that’s the REST of the world. This is Guyana – which is in a whole parallel Bizzaro universe!! Here, the situation’s reversed, and the Public Service’s minimum wage – for example those needing no qualifications, like cleaners etc. – is $70,000 monthly!! And, dear readers, we all know to our cost – and is evident from letters to the press all the time – that most Public Service workers are the least efficient in all our land!!
But there’s still gonna be criticism that Public Sector workers are victimised!!

…in the old guard

One of the stalwarts of the Pan African Movement, Dr Joycelynne Loncke, passed to the land of the ancestors. Committed to the cause of rectifying the historical wrongs done to Africans, she never lost her dignity.
RIP.