Eyewitness: Girding up loins…

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…for showdown with PPP?

Patrick Yarde, – the evident president-for-life of the GPSU – has come out swinging against the PPP Government. Why? He says they’re mean and dastardly for not sitting down with his Union to bargain “collectively” for Public Service workers’ wage increases, which has been overdue since 2019! Imagine that! The inequity, the inequity! But your Eyewitness wonders why Patrick (after so many years in the public eye, your Eyewitness can call him by his first name, can’t he? He’s so familiar – and predictable!) didn’t bring up this matter with the PNC since they were in power then!

And to make matters worse (for Patrick and the Govt workers), the said PNC had received rock-solid support from them and had actually made WRITTEN PROMISES to give them SUBSTANTIAL WAGE INCREASES!! But it would appear that Patrick believes the psychic satisfaction derived among his membership of the PNC’s 50% salary increase for Ministers was sufficient for him not to raise his voice, much less make a ruckus – or, (God forbid!) – call a strike!

But in making his demand, Yarde shows where he’s coming from (confrontation!) by bringing up the recent agreement between sugar workers, and the Government paying them $200M for settling 2019 wage increases’ demands. Fact of the matter is that the payment represented only half of what was due, and was not an increase on their wages, but a one-off payment. Bringing up sugar workers’ issues in this context, of course, pits a PPP Indian-Guyanese base against a PNC African-Guyanese base. Confrontation!!

Patrick’s patently pellucid ploy, of course, isn’t just coincidentally being deployed right now…it deliberately comes on the heels of the High Court decision to dismiss absolutely the PNC’s Hail Mary of a petition – that the March 2 elections were massively flawed. They want to piggyback on the anger the PNC is stoking in their wider constituency against the PPP Government. The amassing of the latter in front of the Courts on the Day of Judgement didn’t quite work out as they expected – read riots and mayhem, because of the presence of mind of the Police. But what we saw also was that the PNC masses didn’t really all have their heart in riotous behaviour.

So, now we have Plan B being instigated to bring out the urban-based Public Servants, as was done in their 1999 strike with great effect. With Minister Henry Jeffrey in charge, he established a COI headed by his pal Armstrong, who gave out a massive 36% salary increase!! Well, your Eyewitness also believes that Public Servants are weary (and wary) of confrontation.
So, let’s see whether Patrick has as much seeds as awara or bigan.

…Amalia Falls Hydro-Electric Project

Your Eyewitness is also pleased that, simultaneously with dealing with objections from the naysayers on the Gas-to-Shore-Power-Project, (GSPP) VP Jagdeo confirmed that the Amalia Falls Hydro Electric Project (AFHEP) is still on the books. As we know, the PPP brought it to take-off point with financing, engineering, and access etc already in place when the PNC – and some of the present naysayers – scuttled it. The contractor, Sithe Global, felt the political risks were too high after the PNC vowed to revoke the project if they became the Government.

The VP pointed out that because of interest rates plunging so precipitously since 2013, the project should be noticeably less costly – which should address one of the major objections of the naysayers. It should also address objections to the GSPP adding to our carbon footprint – even though we’re still a net carbon sink.
The Govt should now look into installing “pumped storage” capacity to address concerns about periods of low water flow.

…to fight COVID

While India’s travails with the latest COVID tsunami (no longer a “wave”) should make the world sit up, few realise that their 201,000 deaths pale in comparison to the US’ 573,000.
American lives matter also.