EYEWITNESS: Man on a…

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…white horse?

The cowboy “westerns” out of Hollywood left us with the narrative of the “man on a white horse” – the hero – riding into town to save the hapless citizens who’d been held at ransom by the “bad guy” – who, of course, rode a black horse! It was an update on the medieval “knight in shining armour” who would save the “damsel in distress” – held in captivity by the inevitable dastardly “bad guy”.

You can take your pick, dear reader, in deciding which role President Granger was playing when he sat down with the Teachers Union at the eleventh hour of another strike that was being considered. After almost a year of playing “hold me; loose me” politics, was Granger’s offer going to break the chains of subsistence wages that were keeping teachers imprisoned in penury? Your Eyewitness hardly thinks so…his 10 per cent for 2016 and eight per cent for 2018 is a far cry from the 40 per cent Granger’s own task force had offered – and which was quite close to the 50 per cent demand of the teachers.

The teachers, of course, have a basis of comparison – the precedent set by the President when he awarded his Ministers that 50 per cent increase in salaries, just as they assumed office. And that was 50 per cent plus on hundreds of thousands of dollars – and not the measly fifty thousand of the average teacher!! But going back to the analogies cited above, the question arises: if Granger’s trying to be the hero on the white horse, who was the villain on the black horse who’d held the teachers in Babylonian-like captivity??

The role had been played by Minister in the Social Protection Ministry responsible for the Department of Labour, Keith Scott, assisted by his sidekick, the taciturn Education Minister.  He’d accused the teachers of being “selfish and uncaring”, and generally treated them with contempt. The Education Minister was generally given to sneering ominously at the teachers across the table when negotiating with them!!

But let’s get real, dear readers. Do any of you really believe Keith Scott was acting on his own? The man doesn’t even sit in Cabinet, according to Granger, and is basically an errand boy. The position on teachers’ salaries from the Government side was set by Granger himself when he rejected his task force recommendation as being “deficient”! And who do you think made the decision to reject the teachers’ nominees for Arbitral Chair – all ex-PNC big wigs? Scott and Henry?? Pleeease!!

Granger’s playing a “double role” and trying to ride two horses – white and black – simultaneously. The teachers shouldn’t let him get away with it.

Nothing less than 40 per cent is acceptable!! Break those chains!!

…a high horse

Winston Jordan was a faceless bureaucrat toiling away in the backrooms of finance-related governmental institutions from 1981 when he was at State Planning Secretariat. He lucked out on the Finance Ministry job because Granger didn’t want his competitor for the PNC leader position – Carl Greenidge – to occupy that critical job!

So Jordan stoutly accepted his charge. But from the beginning of his tenure, even well-wishers concluded he was clearly out of his depth. And as Guyana begins its transition to an oil-producing nation, this has become even more troubling. But don’t tell Jordan that!! The Stabber tried and Jordan zinged right back at them!!  Referring to the Stabber harping on his senior staff leaving, Jordan wrote, “Stabroek News itself is not immune to an exodus of skills, including competent editors and senior reporters, which is sadly apparent in the decline of its journalism over the past decade”!!!

…sly swipe

Lincoln Lewis had critiqued Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman’s handling of the Rusal Bauxite situation. Purporting to take the high road, Trotman wrote, “I will not seek to ‘flay’, ‘blast’ or ‘slam’ him in ad hominem attack, and will respond differently.”

But isn’t this sly riposte exactly that?

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