By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) says it is aghast that Head of the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC), Lincoln Lewis would denounce the National Assembly’s unanimous vote to restore the subvention to the Critchlow Labour College, once the Union amended the labour component on its Board to have an equal number of representative from the two umbrella labour organizations.
According to PPP/C Parliamentarian Manzoor Nadir, for the past six years there have been calls from many quarters, especially the political opposition and anti-government public figures, to restore the subvention which the government had suspended citing that there must be accountability and democratic governance within the College.
“The rejection by the TUC of the National Assembly’s unanimous motion is a clear indication that all the hullabaloo they made about the restoration of the subvention, had nothing to do about money and the students, but was merely about politics,” Nadir told reporters during the PPP’s press conference on Monday , March 3.
He further added, “last week in the National Assembly every one of the Members registered their vote for reform in the governance of the College, by ensuring that the collective voice of the organized labour movement is represented on the Board of the CLC. The swift and complete rejection by the TUC is not only a slap in the face of the Alliance for Change which brought the motion and the amendment, but it also reflects on the labour aristocracy which has hijacked the CLC.”
He accused the GTUC of taking a dictatorship stance that is not intended on managing the CLC for the development of youth and the unity of labour movement, but to achieve the objective of making the PPP/C government look bad.
“It is this dictatorship that is hurting the College and preventing the unification of the labour movement,” Nadir said.
In rejecting the decision by the National Assembly, the GTUC had argued that 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.
Following hours of heated debate in the National Assembly on 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 FITUG and four from GTUC.