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Sunday December 23, 2012

Kaieteur News

Kaieteur M@ilbox

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Kaieteur M@ilbox

I issue a challenge to President Ramotar and the PPP regime DEAR EDITOR, Abraham Lincoln defined a hypocrite as the man who murdered both of his parents and then pleaded for mercy on the ground that he was an orphan. And he must have had some measure of foresight, because nothing can be more defining of the PPP regime in power, than that description. I mean if Guyana was not in the throes of perdition, the ‘wolf, wolf’ cry to the international community for succor would be laughable. Especially when one considers that the call emanates from an assembly that refused the aid of international agencies to assist in the reformation of the force. But lo and behold, now in typical fashion of the bully who finds he cannot get his way, they are playing dead to see what kind of funeral they will get. Of course, this is quite typical of the PPP regime. This is the very regime that locked me away for over five years (in solitary confinement for all of those years) on trumped up

charges, that refused to grant me bail when a jury deadlocked 11-1 in favor of acquittal, now has gone to the OAS accusing me of using my web assets to foment tension. A regime that controls the public media, and uses it to spread negative stereotypes of people of African descent, stereotypes that eerily parallel a pattern seen in South Africa during apartheid, and the American South during the civil rights struggles, dare to accuse others of the very atrocities it perpetuates or encourages on a daily basis. And these people have the bald face effrontery to hurl accusations against people of fomenting divisions and creating tensions in the society. Mr. Editor, this nation has witnessed the worst spate of vigilante lynching ever experienced in the Commonwealth Caribbean by people associated with this regime. This nation has witnessed a whistle blower (George Bacchus) who outed a senior Minister of the Government as the leader of

this lynching gang being executed along with his brother who closely resembled him. This nation has witnessed testimony being delivered in a Federal Court in Brooklyn that indicts another senior Minister of the Government with procuring electronic assets for a drug trafficker to track and murder hundreds of people in this Guyana. This nation has witnessed testimony by a witness in this case, that this drug trafficker who claimed he was defending this regime, had tortured a young woman for over 18 hours for information on the location of a target he planned to kill. This nation had witnessed this regime remaining silent throughout this rampage, never once condemning it as was its legal and moral obligation to do, and thus providing the killers with silent approval for their campaign. And now because the people of the nation refused to endorse their greed for total and unconditional power, they react like a bunch spoiled brats and peddle lies

The govt. openly flouts the laws for workers in the traditional public service DEAR EDITOR, The issue of contract workers again surfaced for debate in the National Assembly. This issue should not be confined to the question of payment but should be addressed within the context of how it impacts the society and more so the wellbeing of the worker under the laws and consistent with the rights of the individual. The issue of contract workers is a trend in both the public and private sectors that has now become epidemic and poses clear and present danger to working conditions. Let me make it clear, the average contract worker per se is not the subject of contention. The subject of contention is the practice used by the employer to absolve responsibility, exploit the average worker and use contract employment as a political reward or punishment. A contract employee is required to turn up at stipulated time to start and leave work and in many occasions is occupying jobs that are on the permanent establishment in the respective organization. This means that these workers have to conform to all legal requirements and condition of service that govern the sector they work in. In the case of the public

service it is found that persons are given contracts to perform duties within departments with jobs that have tenured conditions and are being paid gratuity, and not allowed to work and earn a pension commensurate with the established post. Often times these workers operate at the behest of operatives who see an abuse of their authority as a management technique. The Guyana Trades Union Congress is aware that contracts are issued to workers requiring them to pay their own NIS and taxes (PAYE); and are also told they are not obligated to pay taxes. This is a strategy used by the employer to: 1) not honour its obligation under the NIS law to pay its portion of the workers’ contribution; 2) not to deduct and remit PAYE to GRA; 3) compromise professionalism; 4) coerce workers into unethical and illegal practices; and 5) a Damocles for dismissal should the worker question violation in the contract or poor workplace practices. In both private and public sectors contract employment is also used as a means to prevent workers from enjoying the right to trade union representation. This practice particularly affects the sector where the representative unions do not carry the PPP’s torch. In the case of the employees who

chose to register with the NIS they are placed in a quandary since having them registered as self-employed would be wrong. For under the law these workers are employees and should be so given the protection. Further, should there be an accident during and in the course of employment the worker has no coverage under the NIS Industrial Benefit branch since being an employee and not so registered s/he is not so covered and would be denied. A government in every modern society has a greater responsibility for being a model employer in its practices which include obeying the employment, GRA and NIS laws, and ensuring the workers’ rights. Yet the nation continues to see a double standard on the part of the government as it openly flouts the laws for workers in the traditional public service even as it upholds the laws for workers in the sector their supporters dominate. By constitution pension is a right, informed by the principle that the State has primary responsibility to the every citizen, from the womb to the tomb. And in every society pension is deferred wages, because pension comprises a part of every civilised Continued on page 6

and propaganda to the international community with the hope that this will frighten those who expose their atrocities into silence. They have got to be kidding. I will issue a challenge in this letter to President Ramotar and the PPP regime. My challenge is that they give full access to the Organization of American States (OAS) or any other independent international agency, to conduct an investigation in Guyana on the killings that have washed this nation in blood and bodies between 1992 and the present. I challenge them to allow international investigators to identify and interview witnesses, to use polygraph technology to ferret out truth from lies, and to make themselves available to be interviewed under the same conditions. They have used this technology to fire the small worker, but like Orwell’s porcine revolutionaries, refuse to subject themselves to the same set of rules they impose on others. Let the international community come and investigate what has been going on in this country, the larceny and

embezzlement that occurs in the halls of power, the high crimes and misdemeanours that are covered up as long as the offenders are associated with the regime in power. The Government of this nation will learn that while it is entitled to its own opinion, it is not entitled to its own facts. The facts of Guyana will reveal an administrative trail of this regime that is written in blood, in torture, in anguish, in false arrests and imprisonment, and in corruption on a magnitude never before witnessed since this nation was settled. And these facts will be unearthed by any independent international agency who cannot be bribed or cajoled into denying justice to the innocent for a few dollars more. Martin Luther King Jr, the late American Civil Rights martyr charged that, “...On some positions cowardice asks the question, is it expedient? And then expedience comes along and asks the question, is it politic? Vanity asks the question, is it popular? Conscience asks the question, is it right? There

comes a time when one must take the position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he or she must do it because conscience tells him it is right....”. And the conscience of many of us will not allow fear, expediency, cowardice or any other impediment to deter us from positions that are right, that are moral, that are ethical, and that are principled. Because the current regime has been privileged by virtue of electoral fortune to exercise ungodly power over this nation for the past two decades, they have come to the erroneous conclusion that this privilege is theirs by divine fiat. Not true. I challenge them to park their hypocritical caterwauling and invite the OAS or the UN to send an investigative team into Guyana, to allow them free access to conduct investigations, and to pledge to abide by whatever findings emerge. Let them walk the walk of transparency, and abandon the propaganda and hypocrisy they peddle like cheap wine. Mark A. Benschop Former Political Prisoner

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