I remain amazed by the leaders we assume to be intelligent, educated and brilliant, but despite these qualities, keep walking this road covered with absurd stones and stones. This disease among leaders could easily be cured, if only they are willing to take advantage of the lessons that human history offers. We have made fantastic progress in science and technology, but a mess of governance. Maybe someone can provide an answer to this human fragility, or is it a curse? According to the available information, on May 1, 2022, we will again witness a divided, and therefore weakened, trade union movement, and of course the absurdity of the dissident group which describes itself as independent. Obviously, a misunderstanding of the meaning of independent. This splinter group, FITUG, will be addressed by our Head of State, in circumstances where the first Trades Union Congress (TUC) has not yet been honored by the presence or address of a senior government official, or a member of the big four that constitutes the emerging oligarchy of Guyana.
The TUC should seek an explanation for a government minister’s call for ethnic balance in our security forces, but no call for ethnic balance in the awarding of multi-million dollar contracts, the awarding of state lands, the appointment to key councils and the disrespect shown by government supporters to ordinary members of the gendarmerie, including, we were told, a member of the tactical services unit who was service for twenty-five hours. The Constable is a hard worker and the TUC must have the audacity to openly defend him, especially as the Police Service Commission is yet to be constituted and the Federation appears to be a toothless tiger. The constable who was photographed by this sleeping adviser after eighteen hours on duty has been issued an indictment and already endorsed. He is now at risk of being fired. He cannot be represented by anyone above the rank of sergeant. Of course, one question we need to ask ourselves is, how come an advisor has TSU security at their place of residence? That in itself is an abomination. The TUC must demand an explanation as to why the Commissioner of Police should assign a member of the Tactical Duty Unit with an assault rifle to perform ministerial adviser guard duties, let alone have the grade required to work without relief for 25 hours.
Recall the well-known poem by the eminent Lutheran pastor, Martin Niemuller, referring to his miraculous escape from German atrocities, which he observed as follows “In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I n didn’t speak because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came looking for the Jews, and I didn’t say anything because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came looking for a trade unionist and I didn’t have anything. said because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came looking for the Catholics and I didn’t say anything because I was a Protestant. Then they came looking for me, and by then no one could speak This May Day, all workers should draw sage advice from the above experience. Both sides should know that May Day should be a rallying point for workers in the field, offices, factories and security forces, where, with one voice, a clear call must be made to better wages and conditions in circumstances where, for the first time since Independence, there is an abundance of money to put every worker in the public sector at ease. I would also have hoped that on May Day a united labor movement would also have demanded that the private sector, the government’s new darling, give its workers a better deal. I hope that President Ali, in his speech on May Day, will announce a minimum increase of 50% for all public sector workers and a similar increase in pensions.
On this May Day, we must also honor the valiant independent media workers and writers, who have embarked on a relentless but noble crusade to expose the downsides that exist in oil and gas deals, among other things. A patriot has moved to court for justice. Workers on May Day, whether you gather on the grounds of the National Insurance Scheme or the grounds of Critchlow Labor College, should offer a silent prayer for the success of these workers in the media that they continue to demand justice without fear and I remember it was once said by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, that “the pen is mightier than the sword”. The TUC should resolve to fight this scheme of unorganized contract workers and insist on the enactment of modern petroleum oil legislation designed to protect workers and their families. To each worker in the cane fields, rice fields, gold fields, land supply and vegetable fields, to those who work as servants, in hospitals, in our schools, in the transport sector, our technicians, those who watch over us at night, the security forces and the workers whether you use your hands or your head, I wish you a benevolent May Day and be prepared, if necessary, to march and wave peacefully so that the Guyanese who are indigenous, who have been enslaved and indentured, do not abandon our heritage to the madness and machinations of those who want to recolonize us. Brothers, Sisters and Comrades, beware of Greeks bearing gifts. Happy Labour Day.