GAWU maintains leadership reputation in the national interest
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.