GAWU main­tains lead­er­ship rep­u­ta­tion in the na­tional in­ter­est

Weekend Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - By Eddi Rod­ney

Last

week, the APNU-AFC coali­tion, through Fi­nance Min­is­ter Win­ston Jor­dan, uni­lat­er­ally pro­ceeded to present the $267.1B 2018 Na­tional Bud­get.

Dur­ing the course of July this year and af­ter the re­view of the macro sec­torals per­for­mances for the first half of 2017, preparations com­menced at the level of the Bud­get Com­mit­tee it­self un­der the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the Min­is­ter to draft an­other early bud­get. Mr. Jar­dan had in re­ac­tion to crit­i­cisms from broad sec­tors in com­merce, in­dus­try, ser­vices and labour ad­mit­ted that amongst other fac­tors only 30 per­cent of the Pub­lic Sec­tor In­vest­ment Pro­gramme (PSIP) had been ex­pended.

He be­moaned this weak­ness not­ing that ex­pec­ta­tions were that the PSIP would in­ject some life into the econ­omy as the re­main­der of the econ­omy was slow­ing down.

The Min­is­ter went on to in­di­cate the in­ter­nal fault lines of the im­plemen­tation process, for gov­ern­ment agen­cies and de­part­ments (in bud­get agen­cies), fig­ur­ing out pur­chas­ing spec­i­fi­ca­tions in the month of June.

He con­cluded that the Coali­tion’s early bud­gets had re­sulted un un­der per­for­mance in­stead of (so­cio eco­nomic) ben­e­fits (WM 2930 July 2017).

Op­po­si­tion Leader pre­dicted un­der-per­for­mance of load and time struc­tured cap­i­tal­iza­tion un­der the APNU-AFC bu­reau­cracy.

At sev­eral press con­fer­ences and other fora, Dr. Jagdeo and other se­nior mem­bers of the PPP/Civic have made their po­si­tions quite clear (WM 11-12 Novem­ber 2017) items on PPP details to do list, as well as is­sue (WM 29-30 July, pp 14-15) items on ‘LAAs must work to ex­tend and im­prove the qual­ity of ser­vices to cit­i­zens’ and ‘Jor­dan must take full re­spon­si­bil­ity for re­peated dis­mal per­for­mances,’ by Nor­man Whit­taker and Bishop Juan Edghill re­spec­tively.

More re­cently, Leader of the Op­po­si­tion, Dr. Jagdeo, voiced the po­si­tions of broad sec­tions of stake­hold­ers when he opined that “the claims made by Pres­i­dent David Granger and Prime Min­is­ter Moses Nag­amootoo, that Guyana has re­cently at­tracted some 240 in­vest­ments worth some $180B (was false)… the Pres­i­dent and Prime Min­is­ter Moses Nag­amootoo are liv­ing in dif­fer­ent worlds… where are these projects… this (these lies) are what we get on a daily ba­sis” (WM 18-19 Novem­ber, p1).

Be­yond the per­spec­tive nor­mally as­so­ci­ated with leg­isla­tive branch ex­po­sures, the PPP has re­it­er­ated a se­ries of Na­tional re­cov­ery rec­om­men­da­tions as per;

The ur­gency for the ad­min­is­tra­tion to en­gage with “good faith”

Ne­go­ti­a­tions with the Guyana Agri­cul­tural Gen­eral Work­ers Union (GAWU), as well as the Na­tional As­so­cia- tion of Com­mer­cial, Cler­i­cal and In­dus­trial Em­ploy­ees (NAACIE), to achieve a just so­lu­tion that would avoid the clo­sure of pro­duc­tive sugar es­tates:

- Sup­port an im­pact assess­ment of the sec­tor (in­clud­ing au­dit­ing and man­age­ment per­for­mance) as well as a com­pre­hen­sive so­cio eco­nomic eval­u­a­tion to­gether with a di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion study

- Sus­pen­sion of the Spe­cial Pur­poses Unit Com­pany (SPUC) cre­ated and launched ear­lier this year to im­ple­ment the amal­ga­ma­tion/ di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion of the sugar in­dus­try.

- The re­ver­sal of de­ci­sions to close Wales es­tate as well as to sim­i­larly cease sugar pro­cess­ing op­er­a­tions at En­more and Rose Hall

- Halt the Skel­don es­tate and Skel­don En­ergy Inc. pri­va­ti­za­tions

Post­pone­ment of Rose Hall shut down ev­i­dent

Ide­o­log­i­cally, the PPP/C rec­om­men­da­tions re­flect a se­ri­ous at­tempt to re- store some de­gree of con­fi­dence and hope­fully trust. Whether these traits will be re­al­ized and in­flu­enced the flow and or rate of rein­vest­ments is an­other mat­ter.

For its part, the GAWU has con­sis­tently mo­bi­lized and ex­tended sol­i­dar­ity to the sugar work­ers in East Ber­bice as well as else­where.

More r e c e ntl y, t he GAWU, re­spond­ing to the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s post­pone­ment of the Rose Hall es­tate clo­sure ( from the end of De­cem­ber 2017 to some­time in 2018) has urged that gov­ern­ment make this a per­ma­nent pol­icy thus en­sur­ing that work­ers will be al­lowed to keep their jobs (WM 25-26 De­cem­ber 2017, p 9).

At a press con­fer­ence held at the GAWU of­fices in New Am­s­ter­dam, there was what must be con­sid­ered as the his­toric Glen Mc­cleon state­ment ( Novem­ber 6 2017) call­ing on the gov­ern­ment to re­scind the Rose Hall sug­ar­centre ( WM 11- 12 2017, p 22 i t em, ‘ GAWU’s re­lease Rose Hall work­ers say not too late to re­con­sider clo­sure de­ci­sion).

This el­e­ment of class strug­gle has in a real way evoked the sup­port of the East Ber­bice cham­ber of Com­merce as well as key busi­ness stake­hold­ers in Re­gions Six and Five.

GAWU’s Ko­mal Chand and Gen­eral Sec­re­tary Seep­aul Narine have stead­fastly ex­pressed sup­port for sugar work­ers through­out the in­dus­try (see ‘Reach­ing Out for Bet­ter­ment’ and Progress- t he con­tin­u­ing strug­gle of the GAWU’, 135 pp for se­ries of items dat­ing from 2013 to the Union’s 21st Del­e­gates Congress held at Bath, West Coast Ber­bice.

The di­vi­sion of labour con­di­tions at the end of 2017 equates a sig­nif­i­cant so­cial sup­port for sugar work­ers at En­more, Skel­don and also Wales.

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