It is time!

first_imgDear Editor,In my letter to the Guyanese media, dated August 13, 2018, and captioned as “The time is now for the GTU to act”, I mentioned the fact that President’s David Granger’s Government can easily find G$1 billion annually to travel internationally but cannot find the same amount of money for teachers.  Such funds can easily increase each teacher’s salary by some $7900 per month.  Now, I am reading that the Granger Government did not enter these negotiations with the GTU for the teachers alone but for all public servants. Isn’t that against the spirit of collective bargaining? Any labour union leader will advise that collective bargaining is done between an employer and a union for the members of that union, not every worker because the process was designed to empower the trade unions. Am I to believe that the People’s National Congress (PNC) is up to its same old ways where today they plan to infiltrate and dis-empower these trade unions.That is what the Education Minister said in a Ministry of the Presidency press release and I shall quote “I would want to ensure that what we offer to teachers is what we can afford but also what we’re going to offer to other categories (of workers).”This is a plain old game of political subterfuge and deception at conning the teachers out of bread by commingling their negotiations with the entire public service.  Such wicked political acts create the occasion and cause for a national teacher strike.If nothing else, the actions of the Granger Government is gross “eye pass” and disrespectful to the services of the teachers.  After all, they mould the minds of the nation’s most valuable asset – its future; its children which is very different from what other public servants do. It is a totally different deliverable and must be treated differently.Luckily, there are still opportunities to correct this injustice conceived and perpetuated by Granger’s Government; all he has to do is think constructively for all of Guyana rather than remain so focused on self-preservation.First off, Granger must familiarise himself with a budget created in his name, he must not remain so aloft from the process.  With the right knowledge, I am sure he will instruct areas for cutting some fat and make the entire system more effective and efficient.One thing he can call for is an impact and outcome audit of the last three budgets to evaluate what has the people gotten for him taxing them, borrowing in their name and then spending some $900 billion.Such an exercise will expose what a public circus we have under Granger and how he can find the money to immediately pay the teacher $5000 per month on top of what they are currently making. That would-be money spent that is worth its weight in gold compared to what is happening today – overseas trips, parades, and bodyguards.As an example, let us reflect on the Prime Minister’s Secretariat, which is not even a Ministry but a Department in the Ministry of the Presidency.  In 2017, it spent some $882 million but what did it achieve for the people? This Department delivered less work over three years than its predecessor did in even three months.  Isn’t time to cut all the pageantry, sirens and public waste that is happening in places like the Prime Minister’s Secretariat and pay the hardworking teachers a living wage?Then there is the food bill for the National Parliament? Come on now, $700,000 per sitting? Then there is the Public Telecommunications Ministry? Guyana after three years is yet to benefit from the sort of advances made in the world in this sector even after spending some GY$6.5 billion in this sector under Minister Cathy Hughes since she took the job.Again, this Ministry under Hughes is set to spend some GY$4.6 billion in 2018. Where is the progress? Where are the deliverables?The Office of the Auditor General has asked for payment voucher valued at billions of dollars in unaccounted expenditure on that parade ground at D’Urban Park, but the PNC are sand-dancing on the issue in full compliance to their historical DNA. But yet Clive Thomas and his State Assets Recovery Agency is in a dead asleep on this issue. The hypocrisy is off the charts and the collateral damage for such public theft sufferation to the entire teaching profession and some people are starved so that some people can have their parades, sirens, and international trips.I call on all teachers to come out and support the strike again this injustice being meted out to them in 2018.Sincerely,Sasenarine Singhlast_img

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