Workers and working class folks should re-examine everything critically

Dear Editor,

There is this brother in Linden who keeps track of every 11th December, a date indelibly etched on his mind; a date to remember and a grim reminder that on that date in 1976 he and forty-one other bauxite workers were locked up in a cell in the police lock-ups and tear-gassed. The reason? The bauxite workers came out on strike and staged a demonstration against a government offer of a 6% wage increase.  And I know that there are other brothers who were also victims on that day and harbour this sad memory.

Indeed it’s been a long time gone – some 37 years – recalling an event, which is dead and buried, though not quite forgotten.  Time and events have changed and so do we, but when we cling steadfastly to principle as a virtue, not vacillating, it sure defends us in the end.

Also recalling and highlighting this event is not intended in any way to castigate anyone afresh by apportioning guilt, neither am I being apologetic – no way!  But rather I seek an objective examination alongside the present status quo – searching, questioning, guiding and learning from our history and most of all from positive actions and not narrow, petty, political hustle.

The government’s recent 5% increase allotted to public servants as we approach the festive season brought to the fore the value of adhering to principle. It also exposed the fickle-mindedness of workers and feckless union leaders, as well as a mellow trade union movement.

Everything is relative, but I’m willing to bet without any sort of economic analysis, from a practical layman’s point of view that the 6% increase in 1976 stood taller and did much more for the workers then, than this 5% hand-out now  – the technical analysts, the experts at numbers can correct me.

It has also shown clearly that after all these years – almost four decades – we have not gone past partisan and racial political camps. We still foster and cling to the manipulations and shenanigans of disingenuous types in relation to the welfare and preservation of our families.  While there have always been ethnic/racial political preferences in communities across the land, in my opinion Linden/Region 10 stands out when it comes to bread and butter issues and the things that affect them directly, independent of party or government.  Though predominantly a stronghold of the former PNC, the residents stand on matters of principle, as a matter of right and wrong; they demand bread and justice in opposition to and in defiance of party and its leadership, except for a handful of irrational diehards, who themselves at times would be forced to grudgingly acquiesce.

Once the issue at hand seems detrimental to the interest of self and family, it stands to reason that people will always be on the losing end when they indulge in hypocrisy, selfishness and double dealing.

Thus in the light of this 5% increase which was referred to in fun fashion by Cabinet Secretary Dr Roger Luncheon and which according to AA Fenty “Should heighten citizens’ disdain for arrogance and mockery,” workers and all working class folks should take stock and re-examine critically everything ‒ I mean everything: their allegiance to party, organization and their faith in the people they depend on to take care of their affairs, no matter who holds the reins of government. They should remain forever vigilant, always remembering that the interest of community and the livelihood of family must always be well guarded, and they should never be easily gulled or taken for a ride. Take none for granted; remember, “Distrust for authority should be your first civic duty at all times” – I read this somewhere.  At all times protect yourself.

Yours faithfully,

Frank Fyffe

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