Sunday, July 5, 2009

Four parties, GTUC appeal to Caricom heads to ‘rekindle hope’ among Guyanese

Four parties, GTUC appeal to Caricom heads to ‘rekindle hope’ among Guyanese
Posted By Stabroek staff On July 5, 2009 @ 5:09 am In Local News | 1 Comment

An appeal to the Caricom Heads of Government to “rekindle hope” among Guyanese citizens was made yesterday via a full-page advertisement in the local newspapers placed by four political parties and a trade union body.

They cited Guyana’s steadily declining population whose young people did not see the country as an option, and the loss of hope in the reconciliation process which was to flow from the Herdmanston Accord and St Lucia Statement.

The Alliance for Change (AFC), GAP-ROAR, the Working People’s Alliance (WPA), the United Party, and the Guyana Trades Union Congress said that the hopes that Guyanese had placed in the Herdmanston Accord and St Lucia Statement had gone and the promise of the heads “to remain engaged with our reconciliation process” had not been met. “Guyana continues to hemorrhage,” the advertisement said.

And yesterday President Bharrat Jagdeo responded to the issues of governance and immigration raised in the ad, and singled out the AFC and one of its leaders Khemraj Ramjattan for personal criticism. He lauded Guyana’s democracy, and said the country was in the top 30 where press freedom was concerned.

The advertisement captioned an ‘Open Letter to Caricom Heads of Government’ was placed in yesterday’s edition of the Stabroek News, and expressed the view that the small Guyanese population was not interested in any of the pronouncements of the Heads of Government Conference except the “single issue of the new Barbados immigration practices which make illegal immigrants out of West Indians born in the West Indies.”

“Unlike other crises confronting the region, this one touches intimately and immediately on what our increasingly desperate people see as their very survival,” the advertisement said.

“The hopes that Guyanese had placed in the Herdmanston Accord and St Lucia Statement have been dashed. After a full decade the promise of the Heads of Government to remain engaged with our reconciliation process has been unfulfilled,” and many Guyanese felt “deeply betrayed by the process,” the advertisement said.

The sponsors also stated that the lack of interest shown “is nothing new, since the masses of the Caribbean have long been disconnected from your discussions and decisions about the future. So, whether it be the global financial crisis or the failure of regional regulatory mechanisms to prevent the banditry of a CLICO or a Stanford, the broad masses of Guyanese are unlikely to be distracted from their day to day agonies.”

According to the advertisement:

“The reality is that Guyana is a society in the process of disintegration. Lawlessness stalks the land. Rape and murder of women and girls are on the rise. Guyana is not alone in the region with the growth of violent gun crimes, including extra-judicial murder by elements of the security forces and by private armies of drug lords, protected and cosseted by sections of the state. Well documented instances of torture by elements of the army and police are dismissed as ‘roughing up.’”

The statement identified “cronyism and financial skullduggery” as major issues within the country, and referred to “the looting of the public purse” which was confirmed year after year by the Auditor General. The collapse of the country’s education system and the “terminal decline” of the administration of justice were two other issues that were also identified.

Further, the statement said that the trade union movement was “a sad shadow of its former self, its impotence on show with every passing day, bludgeoned into submission in the face of blatant union-busting and subversion of the industrial relations process.” Additionally, the government was accused of “seeking to increase its control of the minds of its citizens by extending its domination over as many sources of information as possible, while restricting the right of citizens to free access to information by owning and controlling the single radio monopoly in the country and stymieing freedom of information legislation.”

The sponsors also said that “a movement is under way to restore hope and re-open the doors of opportunity here in our own country. Such a movement begins with the belief that Guyanese in and out of Guyana have a duty to remove the blight that has settled over the land.”

The advertisement made reference to the right of citizens to control their affairs, which was enshrined in Article 13 of the Constitution which states:

“The principal objective of the political system of the State is to establish an inclusionary democracy by providing increasing opportunities for the participation of citizens, and their organizations in the management and decision-making processes of the State, with particular emphasis on those areas of decision-making that directly affect their well-being.”

“It will not be easy”, the sponsors noted, “but the work of national revival must begin now. In order to ensure success, it needs the involvement of all Guyanese throughout Guyana and the Diaspora, regardless of race, class or religious belief”, they added.

According to a release from the Government Information Agency (GINA), in responding to the immigration issue, the President said that political parties had to act in the best interest of the people, and try to avoid “public hysteria” or use complex regional issues for political purposes. “I think Raphael Trotman and the AFC are using this issue politically. The last thing I want is for that to happen. The government doesn’t have that luxury,” GINA quoted him as saying.

He went on to say that Guyana cannot “determine the immigration policies of Barbados outside of those that are provided in the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas,” but would continue to try and ensure that Guyanese were treated “fairly and with dignity.”

Where issues of governance were concerned, he was reported as saying that Guyana was one of the most democratic countries in the hemisphere. “Of the top 192 countries in the world, we’re in the top 30 for the freedom of the press,” he said.

According to the release, Jagdeo said the AFC’s “antics” were intended to create the impression among heads of government that Guyana was violating democratic norms, but that his fellow heads were wise politicians who would recognize that the AFC was trying to exploit the occasion of the conference.
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1 Comment To "Four parties, GTUC appeal to Caricom heads to ‘rekindle hope’ among Guyanese"

#1 Comment By BORAPORK On July 5, 2009 @ 8:53 am

Guyana is doomed as long as the tyranny of the majority rules supreme. Until such time as the majority population groups stop ethnic voting Guyana will be parasitic. When is the World number one beggar leaving to berate some other group for a handout?

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