[www.inewsguyana.com] – Following hours of heated debate in the National Assembly on Thursday (February 27) the House passed a motion for the restoration of the annual subvention to the Critchlow Labour College along with an amendment which states that as a precondition to the provision of the subvention that the Board of Directors of the College be comprised of four representatives of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) and four from the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC).
This decision by the National Assembly has not found favour with the GTUC, who in a statement chastised the members of the House in this regard. According to the Union, the college (a private institution) is owned by the GTUC and is governed by its own laws guided by the national laws.
“For the Assembly to arbitrarily take a decision to impose a new management structure on the college is a usurpation of the by-laws of these institutions and a matter no law-abiding citizen should countenance, much less be voted on in the Assembly. When it comes to the determination of composition of boards, the Assembly should address this on state boards such as NICIL and NCN,” GTUC said in a statement.
The body added that the college’s board has two representatives from the government (one from the Ministry of Education and one from the Ministry of Labour) and noted that the vote taken by the House now adds four government controlled FITUG members making government’s influence six against the GTUC’s four, ‘on a college owned by the GTUC’.
“The GTUC is not prepared to sell its rights to the government or to any other,” the Union added.
The body believes too that the decision to approve the restoration of the subvention is nothing more than a PPP orchestrated public relations stunt bringing shame and disrepute to the National Assembly.
The Union further contends that the vote taken by the Assembly brings to bear the level of lawlessness to which the country has sunk since the House is being used to encourage violation of the Constitution, bylaws of the CLC and disregard for the right to Freedom of association enshrined in the Constitution.
“The GTUC has a proud history of being independent, regardless of the political support of its leadership, and this goes back to the days of Joseph Pollydore, who though a friend of Forbes Burnham was not afraid to challenge and or provide GTUC’s support for industrial actions against successive PNC administrations. This right to self-determination and independence the GTUC guard zealously and will not compromise it to enjoy any other right.”
The body says assertions made in the National Assembly of the college being engaged in financial impropriety with use of state funds are hereby questioned and assured that information to the contrary can be verified from the Auditor General’s Reports and should have been sought or provided in the National Assembly to aid in its decision making.
“When state advertisement was returned to Stabroek News, a private entity, there was no pre-condition for representatives of Chronicle or any state media to sit on its board. Neither has the opposition set a pre-condition for their representation on the First Lady’s charity which receives state’s funding. The same goes for Cheddie Jagan Research Centre, another beneficiary. None has asked GAWU to put representatives from the GTUC on its college’s board. The PPP knows the GTUC will stand its ground on universal Fundamental Rights and Freedoms and national laws and will not accept the imposition of the National Assembly, which has no authority over it. “
The GTUC believes that for the PPP the vote in the National Assembly is the cover it needed to continue its discriminatory actions towards the colleges; adding that the opposition has sadly given their discriminatory acts legitimacy.