By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] –General Secretary of the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC), Lincoln Lewis has chided the APNU+AFC government and the Opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) in his calls for the process of national unity to commence.
He made the comments while speaking at the Enmore Martyrs wreath laying ceremony at Enmore, East Coast Demerara on Tuesday, June 16.
Lewis did not spare a thought as he lashed out at the government over the absence of a Minister of Labour, pointing out that the Labour movement is one that should be respected and given due recognition.
He said that the appointment of a Minister of Labour is something that is needed in Guyana given the turbulent history of Guyana’s labour movement.
The GTUC General Secretary made it clear that labour has blazed the trail that allowed for the establishment of political parties hence the movement should not now be ignored by the very political Bodies.
“Without a doubt, labour has blazed the trail for modern Guyana, paved the way for the politicians of today, earning its indelible place in our society, and as such the GTUC wishes to have this grave anomaly corrected,” Lewis stated.
He pointed out too that Guyana is the only country in the Caribbean, probably the Western Hemisphere that does not have a ministry that carries the designated name “Labour.”
Meanwhile, the PPP/C also received some amount of criticism from Lewis, as he urged the Party to take up their seats in the Parliamentary opposition.
“The results of the 2015 elections have indicated that the PPP’s place is to take the seats on the Opposition side in the National Assembly. Their present role is to constructively propose, oppose, support and keep the Executive accountable based on the constitution, laws, international charters and time-honoured principles. The PPP is called on to fulfil its responsibility to its supporters and society. Democracy works better when the system of checks and balance is functioning,” Lewis stated.
He also called on the APNU+AFC government to realize its promises of inclusionary democracy, pointing out that the constitution in its present state makes provisions for such. He added that given that legal framework is already in place, Guyanese should not have to wait for Constitutional Reform to get an inclusive government.
Meanwhile, President of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions (FITUG), Carvil Duncan was very brief in his remarks and noted that “the sugar workers have struggled tremendously for everything they have achieved, and their struggle was a just one.”
“You don’t have to be a university graduate to remember that sugar is sweet but its history is bitter,” said Duncan.