Stabroek News

Confrontin­g suspect ‘contractor­s’ in Guyana

- Dear Editor,

How many persons alive today would recall the name ‘Jim’ Adams, more formally registered in the 1960s as JEH Adams whose profession­al career started as an Assistant Labour Officer in Guyana? Jim migrated to British Honduras, where he rose to the position of Commission­er of Labour. He subsequent­ly was invited to Trinidad and Tobago to occupy the same position; then was transferre­d to that of Permanent Secretary, as if in preparatio­n for his appointmen­t as the first Chairman of the newly created Industrial Court at a time of tumultuous industrial relations activities in Trinidad & Tobago.

One does not recall whether such a creative institutio­n was ever replicated in other Caribbean countries. For certain it was not incited in Guyana with its own record of explosive industrial relations. But it was in those very times there was the consensus reached between Personnel Officers of Private Companies and of Government

Ministries to construct a pioneering National Personal Officers Associatio­n which was legally registered in 1965. Of the first eight members of its Executive Committee, four were Public Servants. Interestin­gly our meetings were held at Red House, the former official residence of the Chief Secretary (to Governors). It had been converted into a Government Training Centre. Tommy Pooran Singh was the Senior Training Officer.

The NPOA itself organised its own range of developmen­tal programmes, convened mostly on Saturdays at what is now the Hotel Pegasus. There was such crowded attendance by managers of a wide range of profession­s that they demanded membership – which was formally accepted, resulting in the Associatio­n being re-registered as the Guyana Institute of Management in 1972. Noteworthy is the fact that it’s first Executive Committee members included representa­tives from as far as Berbice – actually the Hospital Administra­tor of the New

Amsterdam Hospital and then Georgetown Public Hospital – the highly qualified Chetram Singh – to where training programmes stretched. Indeed, several of the programmes were conducted by invited lecturers — from as far as the United Kingdom.

But outstandin­g as the first ‘Guest’ lecturer was none other than JEH Adams, who was also Chairman of the imaginativ­e Registrati­on, Recognitio­n and Certificat­ion Board of Trinidad & Tobago. To confess that I had never explored the rationale for, or implementa­tion of this legislatio­n, but given the current enquiries about the plethora of ‘newborn contractor­s’ the following actors may wish to explore the concept that informs that legislatio­n; and hopefully confront the issue of the frailty of the Registrati­on, Recognitio­n and Certificat­ion – of suspect ‘contractor­s’ in Guyana: Attorney General, Minister of Public Works; Minister of Labour; and the Guyana Revenue Authority – to be vetted by the Auditor General.

But to return to our energetic past, those who have survived must surely pause to reflect when and where again we can embrace one another – as public and private sector profession­als – to brainstorm the Strengths, Weaknesses Opportunit­ies and Threats currently obtaining in our society. For certain, all must recognise the urgent need for the most comprehens­ive SWOT analysis ever. So that amongst other things we, including our women (of NPOA-GIM), can verify how better we need to coalesce as EQUALS into ONE (multi-ethnic) NATION.


E. B. John

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