Without notice, without being provided a reason, without any viable justification, mere hours after fulfilling one of her administrative functions, just the night before at a Statutory Meeting of the Linden Town Council – having been invited to attend a meeting of Town Clerks at the Ministry of Communities, Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan, unilaterally, peremptorily dismissed Linden Town Clerk Jonellor Bowen, leaving her in a quandary, begging the questions why, and what next?
But were his actions really unilateral?
Has Minister Bulkan become the fall-guy for the entire imbroglio that has relegated a female professional to a mere pawn in the political minefield of the PNC-led coalition government? If so, who decided this woman’s fate where she was arbitrarily fired from her job; although she was accused of no wrongdoing?
Has she become a statistic of the growing number of Guyanese working-class victims who comprise the coalition’s ‘collateral damage’, as those who are being victimized by the APNU-AFC partnership were called by Minister Khemraj Ramjattan?
Bowen had reportedly faced many difficulties in the execution of her duties as Town Clerk at the PNC-dominated Council led by Mayor Holland.
However, even a specially-commissioned CoI, headed by PNC executive members, found her not culpable of any wrongdoing; so why is this evil vendetta against her allowed to prevail, with no intervention by even female members of the government, or relevant ministerial persons or departments?
Apparently Ms Bowen is not the only female employee of the Linden municipality that is being harassed by the Mayor; and she had been prevailed upon to deliver complaints from his victims to the Ministry of Communities, whereupon, instead of conducting any investigation into the complaints, or taking any punitive action against Mayor Holland, the messenger was punished with revocation of her contract. What a diabolic act to protect the indecencies and bullyism of another APNU-AFC official.
Is some powerful government official protecting Mayor Holland; and what is the compulsion presumably coercing Minister Bulkan to act in such a manner that discredits his office and dishonours his professional reputation?
Ms Jonellor Bowen has allegedly been publicly vilified by Mayor Holland, chastised in the most abusive language in the public domain and humiliated by him in numerous ways, including speaking to her in the most condescending manner in the presence of junior staff.
Apparently his alleged disrespectful and abusive behavior was not limited to his treatment of Ms Bowen, because there have surfaced reports of written statements documenting Mayor Holland’s harassment of junior staff, especially females; and it was immediately after the Town Clerk’s submission of one such report to the Ministry of Communities that she was dismissed, prompting the suspicion that Mayor Holland is under the protection of someone higher up the administrative ladder than Minister Bulkan.
Given the fact that, instead of investigating the reports against Holland, Ms Bowen was summarily dismissed and the reports were ignored, these misgivings are not without merit.
Condoning such egregious actions of government officials, such as the unrelenting persecution of Ms Jonellor Bowen and other female employees in public office is a stigma on the coalition government. Their declarations regarding empowerment of women and other vulnerable groups are in direct contrast to their actions.
Compounding the farcical imbroglio playing out in the Linden municipality is the inanity of a subject minister describing an assertive, qualified professional, who does not submit to intimidating tactics by bullying functional superiors in a work environment, as disruptive, disrespectful, divisive (for listening to and acting on complaints against Mayor Holland).
Minister Bulkan’s lame excuses to media operatives was that Ms Bowen did not understand ‘her role’; which is, perhaps, being subjective to Mayor Holland’s reported bullying mannerisms and submissive to his male dominance.
The persecution of Ms Jonellor Bowen is a remarkably evil act that should be condemned by all right-thinking persons; but where are the voices of conscience who waged relentless war against the previous government when accused of infringing, even marginally, their perceptions of right behavior? Double standards and doublespeak seem to prevail in PNC-APNU-AFC enclaves.
Why is Ms Bowen so persecuted and discriminated against by Mayor Holland and Cronies? Is it because she is the only non-Afro-Guyanese that sits around the table in the Council meetings in Region 10? Or is it because she is from the vulnerable Amerindian community? Or is it because she is a single mother?
Or is it because her standards of high moral rectitude offend officials who may see her as someone who should be willing to compromise her morals in order to retain a job? Or is it because, as a practicing Seven-day Adventist member, she does not belong to the denominations of church bodies led by senior regional/political PNC activists, who have been appointing their own church members to positions for which many do not qualify.
Questions are being asked as to whether Minister Bulkan was prevailed upon by the PNC leadership in Linden, after a visit last Wednesday by two government ministers who are also members of the PNC Central Executive Committee, to fire Bowen, which was done early the next day, to facilitate the visit by President Granger on the following Friday and ensure that there were no controversial issues, or disruptive complaints from the Town Clerk against Holland to mar President Granger’s visit.
This evil action has planted an evil seed: Expect a swift, evil harvest, with the residents of Linden being the ‘collateral damage’.
Reports are that an incompetent political personality would be appointed as Town Clerk, which would precipitate a Council in utter confusion, a demoralized workforce, an alienation of specifically-identified contractors and suppliers.
The infantile brand of politics being practiced by Mayor Holland will result in implosion around the horseshoe table. This demonic act that gives cover to Mayor Holland cannot endure, because a continuum of scandalous behaviour by PNC appointees would have the expected outcome and this runaway train of lawlessness will boomerang and severely injure even the coalition government and its support bases.
Remember the Bible says: “Whatever you sow, you shall reap:”.
Bishop Juan Edghill M.P.