Guyana stands isolated as a nation – GTUC

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[www.inewsguyana.com] – In 2014 Guyana stands isolated in the Region as the nation where its Government carries out an active policy to transgress citizens’ rights. This is according to the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) in its New Year’s message to all Guyanese.

The GTUC in qualifying its statement said workers are expected to give their best in an environment of hostile employers and accused the Government of not only being a violator but also aiding and abetting local and foreign employers.

The body added that the 15-year agitation by retired workers of the telecommunications industry to resolve their retirement income begs attention from Government ‘who not only has premier responsibility to the elderly but moreso since this matter has its genesis in the formerly state-owned Guyana Telecommunication Corporation’.

The GTUC went onto to remind of what it says is the refusal to address the four-year grievances of bauxite workers employed by the state-foreign owned Bauxite Company of Guyana Incorporated (BCGI) and the 12 year imposition of wages and salaries in the public service which it noted are violations of International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions.

Meanwhile, the Union took note of President Donald Ramotar’s New Year’s message and said it expects him to comply with the said things he has asked of others.

“As the nation’s Chief Public Servant and Head of State the President is expected to set the tone by which the society will operate.”

The GTUC described Guyana as “a nation arising from 12 years of tyranny, corruption, abuses and gripping fear,” adding that,  having found its voice, President Ramotar must demand that the incumbent manages the affairs of state with civility, deliberative judgment and respect, guided by the constitution, local laws, international conventions and covenants.

In this regard the Union called for the appointment and proper funding of all constitutional offices, including the Public Procurement Commission, Integrity Commission, Ethnic Relations Commission, Human Rights Commission, Public Service Appellate Tribunal, Police Service Commission.

The statement which was signed by the General Secretary of the GTUC Lincoln Lewis and which appeared to be a list of grievances the union has, further added that the Leader of the Opposition’s constitutional office continues to be denied state funding to carry out its duties whole the non-constitutional foundation created by the First Lady is given state funding to manage its interest. “These injustices must be corrected.”

Another vexing issue according to the GTUC is the Local Government Minister’s appointment of Carol Sooba as Town Clerk to the Georgetown municipality in usurpation of the Council’s authority to identify and recommend the person to fill the vacancy.

The GTUC says it stands in solidarity with the Guyana Local Government Officers Union’s (GLGOU) on this matter and is encouraged that the matter has been brought to the Court’s attention.

“The widening gap between the haves and have-nots and decline in Real Wage must be a matter of national import. The boast of economic growth is meaningless in the midst of rampant injustices, inequities and pervasive poverty. Where government is contemptuous of the Rule of Law a house, house lot, car or physical acquisition can be confiscated by the strong and mighty and justice for aggrieved non-existent.”

The Union believes Guyana faces problems of epic proportion and said solving them will require all hands on deck to repel the forces trampling workers/citizens, violating laws, manufacturing divisions among groups for self-serving end, and denying the people what’s rightly theirs. “Guyanese deserve better and must refuse to settle for less!”

To this end the GTUC promises to intensify its focus on Capacity Building among its affiliates and nationally. For the first six months affiliates leadership will participate in a Knowledge Sharing Outreach Programme.

This aims to expose members to the workings of institutions namely lawmaking, public analysts, public and private sectors, religion and vulnerable groups.

The second half of the year targets the deepening of synergies with traditional alliances at home and abroad.

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